In 2015 I started my tradition of writing a review of my past year on the first of January. I also pick a theme for the new year and conclude, whether or not I want to keep my last one in the repertoire.
I must admit, I took really long today to finally sit down and start writing. Technically I’m already 2 hours into the 2nd of January. Watching the New Year’s Concert by the Vienna Philharmonics with my boyfriend, was simply more appealing.
So I will do my best to write a summary of 2016 now. If you want to know what happened before that, in order to make clearer connections, you can find last year’s conclusion here.
On the first day of 2016 I decided to theme the year with ‘magic over drabness’. I like to think of myself as a rational thinking person, but I felt like I wanted more magic in my life. Sometimes, not explaining a miracle simply sounds more appealing.
At the time I was still waiting for Augusto, my boyfriend to come back from Venezuela, where he had to go back to for a couple of months since his visa for Europe has run out before we could get all the papers translated for a new one.
I’m happy to report, that Augusto did come back to Austria in the end of February and that we managed to get him a visa by May. This took an incredible burden from my shoulders, it’s hard to put it into words. Not only was it horrible to always worry about the well-being of my relationship – legally and mentally – but also I’m a hater for bureaucracy. Going through this year-long process of getting everything we needed, was pure torture for me and I am still amazed we made it through this tough time without breaking up. Thanks for risking my relationship, by the way, Austria & Venezuela!
Simultaneously, I had started a crowdfunding campaign to co-finance our new van-home. While last year I was convinced, I had to raise 30k€ for a completely new van, we did end up finding a 1991 Fiat Ducato camper van , which is anything but new for 5,300€. However, The van is technically in great condition, considering it’s age and the setup is simply perfect for our needs. He has all the amenities, a big camping mobile would offer, but all in a more compact space. I named it Mercury.
When I bought that van and fitted it with solar electricity, I financed it with my savings, 700€ from the crowdfunding campaign (thank you!) and 2,500€ debt with my mum. The first serious debt I made in my life.
While business was looking up by the end of 2015, despite every expectation, the beginning of 2016 was the exact opposite. Generally, when it comes to finances, 2016 was an evil struggle. Like many years before.
In June Augusto and I started travelling again. the plan was, to go up to Scandinavia. But after an amazing time in Czech Republic we arrived in Berlin and started realising that we’d run out of time and money. We needed to be back in Austria by Winter.
And so our one week stay in Berlin turned into a two month stay. We met a lot of amazing people. A lot of them worked in the same field as myself. It was an outstanding feeling to finally talk to other bloggers, entrepreneurs. I never had that experience before.
Also we made a great friend, who’s in the web and graphic design business too and who taught me about something that would change my freelance business as designer forever. He taught me about copyright agreements and that there is actually a German standard to calculate how much your client should pay you for it.
In Austria copyright agreements are usually not common for design work by smaller companies. And if they use them, they usually charge very little.
The competition is rough in design jobs these days. And I had to watch the entire business price dump each other into oblivion. Last year I already realised that you get the nicer clients if you charge more. This year I learned, that it’s down to everybody in the business to keep the business alive. I am now focussing on clients who are willing to pay the German standard for their copyright agreement. They also get a big benefit out of it, because legally, they don’t own my creative work, just because they paid me to make it. They don’t own any of it. Therefore, a copyright agreement protects their rights. If, for example, somebody uses the design they paid for, they’d be completely dependent on me to help them out legally. This is not the case with such an agreement. Anyway.
Berlin taught me a lot. Also, the wish for more sexuality in my life has truly started to become a reality in Berlin. I fell in love with the city for it’s open-mindedness, it’s quirkiness and it’s entrepreneurs. I started to wonder why Austrian people had such a big problem, getting into this open-mindedness as well. I am not going to give you the full explanation here.
But my time in Berlin gave me the wish to make Vienna more open-minded too. And this in turn – in combination with a new way of organising your friends, which I learned in Valencia two years ago – sparked a new idea in my head. The idea for Team Fox. More about that later.
After we left Berlin with a heavy heart, we moved on to Hamburg, Amsterdam, Cologne, near Stuttgart, Neuschwanstein castle and finally back in Austria to Innsbruck and Vienna in early September. If you want to know more about the journey, you can find some documentation on my travel blog aboutwings.com and it’s Youtube channel.
It was a great trip and I don’t want to miss any of it’s craziness. In Vienna we stayed with my mum for some time and were lucky enough to get to talk to a distant relative of mine at my grandmother’s birthday. He’d be working in a hotel on the other side of Austria over the Winter and therefore offered us to look after his flat for more than fair rent. Out of the same evening we also managed to find a job for Augusto, which would be necessary in order to prolong his visa in May. He’s now working as a kindergarden assistant. I keep joking that we got far more presents at my grandmother’s birthday, than my grandmother.
Also in the time when we arrived back, I started Team Fox. Originally a newsletter for gay friends of mine, who wanted to do cool stuff in Vienna every now and then. We’ve by now grown into a group of approximately ten regulars and some of the members frequently approach me, telling me how happy they are, that I founded the group. One core reason for it’s creation was also that I wanted to create an environment, where people could safely talk about taboo topics and what moved them. And while we’ve mainly been going to concerts, Xmas markets or home-organised dinners, it should also be a way to let people safely explore new things like gay saunas. It’s simply easier to go to a place like this with a group of people you trust, even if you’ve been thinking about doing it for a long time.
There are much bigger plans for Team Fox in 2017 and one member and I are currently working on it’s website. Turns out, people are sick of meeting their acquaintances by chance in the bar they go to every week. They want to do cool new things and meet with familiar and new people on purpose. Just like me. That was one of the main reasons why I founded the group.
And so, I have decided to give this to more people, but at the same time keeping it easy to overlook for every single member.
Furthermore there might even be a way to earn some money with it, without having to charge or ad-annoy the lovely Foxters. More on all of that, probably next year, though 😉
By the end of September I got approached by a former client who offered me the big job of creating the entire corporate identity and online presence of his job platform. And despite a few delays, this job will probably finance my next year and potentially more. Feels amazing. But it’s also a lot of work, which I’ll just have to push though now.
In October I learned, that I am a Multipotentialite and that I could actually make my life better by not trying to focus on niches in business and life anymore. Embrace who you are. This was the main reason why I finally bought the domain robin.is and made it into my central playground where I can now write about anything, my heart desires.
The entire thinking about finding my over-arching theme – the thing all of my interests have in common (Create to move the World) – also led me to realise, that I had abandoned my goal to make the world a better place. I was so focussed on making a living, that I had started to overlook the things that really matter to me. Naturally, we need to eat and survive somehow, and naturally I would prefer to have a lot of money than little. But I had stopped living what I preach, when it comes to being active in protecting our planet and human rights. This was a big one.
And so, in the end of 2016, Augusto and I decided to try to join the Zero Waste movement and stop producing plastic waste.
Also it was getting obvious that robin.is was getting a lot of political texts, all of a sudden. Not party-political, but political topics like racism, the group dynamics of discrimination or environmental protection. Things, for which I never had a platform to write it on.
As the year reached it’s end, I was starting to wonder how Augusto and I would continue in Spring. We will have to move this flat then. And I know that Augusto loves his new job and flourishes in it. I don’t want to take it from him. And yet I don’t feel ready to settle yet. I still want to travel.
2016 was not more magical than other years. Sure, I downloaded an astrology app and a tarot app and I got the idea of creating my own tarot deck over the next years. Even though I mainly see tarot as help for decision making. Just like a coin, that you flip.
But at the end of the day, I had trouble letting myself go deeper down the rabbit hole. Simply because I was quite far in to begin with.
I think, due to my lifestyle and my never ending thirst for creating there will always be a magical sparkle. But I don’t think I have to have a core believe in place to make myself fall into magical rituals.
Therefore, I will not keep “Magic over Drabness” in my core believes. My live is anything but lacking colour and there’s magic anywhere, if you only know where to look.
The last paragraphs I had to write after going to bed. So it’s officially the 2nd of January now. I’m a little upset with myself, that I didn’t have the motivation yesterday. But I got the job done, that’s the important thing.
And here’s the same problem as last year. I don’t know my new motto yet. I haven’t really thought about it so far.
I have noticed, that the realisation of having lost a lot of the purpose in my work was a milestone and a revelation. And for the past few days I had a feeling that this should be part of the 2017 motto.
So let this be true. For 2017 I will focus my live around:
(edited on 2017-11-01)
This does not mean, that I won’t try to make money anymore. After all, in order to make a difference in the world you need to eat first. Also it’s simply easier to make a difference, when you have a financial background.
Also I couldn’t say I let my life run by money at any time of my life. But I did act upon the fear of the lack of it in the last year for several reasons. At New Year’s Eve I had a very long conversation with a good friend, which made me realise yet again, that money isn’t everything and that too many people hold on to a job that destroys their mental well-being because they can’t let go of the pay.
In 2017, every time there’s a decision to be made, I will first ask myself: Does this choice reflect my purposes in life or my fear (of not having enough money)? Furthermore I will ask the ultimate question: Is there a solution to this problem, which will serve both purpose AND monetisation?
I am curious where this approach will lead me and if I manage to make enough (or preferably more than enough) money in the process.
I will grow Team Fox to something bigger, that I already have plenty of ideas for. And I will do it in a way, that will and can not destroy the group and the dynamic it has built so far.
I think 2017 is a big experiment that might define my life by it’s result. And I’m super curious where it will lead me.
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