How To Establish Creativity in Your Life & Brand Yourself on Social Media | Monika Kanokova | Skillshare

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How To Establish Creativity in Your Life & Brand Yourself on Social Media

teacher avatar Monika Kanokova, Community & Content Strategist

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Developing a Creator’s Mindset


    • 4.

      Finding Time to Create & Building Habits


    • 5.

      Overcoming the Fear of Creating


    • 6.

      The Magic of Trial and Error


    • 7.

      Get Comfortable Sharing Your Progress


    • 8.

      Why You Should Have a Creative Project


    • 9.

      Framing Your Side Project


    • 10.

      Have a Measurable Goal


    • 11.

      Set a Specific Theme


    • 12.

      Choose a Specific Technique


    • 13.

      Set a Deadline


    • 14.

      Documenting Your Side Project


    • 15.

      Turning Your Side Project into a Product


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About This Class

Have you ever asked yourself how to use social media effectively?

Do you sometimes feel like everyone’s doing something fun while you’re just scrolling through Instagram without an intention that would make you feel good about how you use the social web?

This class is for you..

  • if you’d like to learn how to make the most out of social media
  • if you’d like to know how to brand your business as a freelancer
  • if you’d like to know how to create a side income
  • ... or if you want to build your reputation to eventually find a more suitable job.

In this class, I’ll deconstruct what it means to create. I’ll explain

  • how to frame creative projects
  • gain the self-confidence to create and publish
  • ... and will also talk about how to use social media in a meaningful way.

I’ve decided to create this class to help you utilize social media and unlock its full potential. You don’t need to be a creative to benefit from this class. 

If you’re already a maker and a creator and use social media to share your progress, then this class is probably not for you. If, on the other hand, you’re someone who’d like to get some help with framing projects and think about how to share something you enjoy doing, then I’m looking forward us getting to spend more time together. I’m very much looking forward to seeing your class project and learning more about you and your work.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Monika Kanokova

Community & Content Strategist


I work as a freelance community and content strategist with clients such as Kickstarter, Virgin Money via Hanzo Studio, Veganz and many more. Learn more about my work on You can also find my insightful guides for creative freelancers on Amazon, or get to know what I do every day on Instagram.


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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: In this class, I want us to cover a lot because have you ever asked yourself how to use social media effectively. Do you sometimes feel like everyone's doing something fun? While your just scrolling through Instagram you thought an intention that would make you feel good about how you use the social vet. This class is for you, if you would like to learn how to make the most out of social media. If you would like to know how to brand your business as a freelancer, if you would like to know how to create a side income, or if you want to build your reputation to eventually find a more suitable job. Social media has helped me build my entire career. In 2010, I had a blog that got me my first job. Having been actively sharing what I was working on, social media helped me successfully fund six quixotic campaigns to publish free books for creative freelancers and two city guides about Vietnam and Berlin. Free city guides about Vietnam and Berlin. It's thanks to social media that I was also asked to speak at Creative Minds and TEDx, and it's also my transparency about the things that I do and how I do them that got me the majority of my clients. Personally, I have always found social media extremely valuable. It's an incredible tool to help everyone find that tribe. Hashtags, for example, make it very easy to find the sort of people you admire and would love to become friends with. The best thing is that once you start creating publicly, whatever creating means to you, the people you think are great, might want to become friends with you too. That this class, I want to invite you to make something, not something on social media. I want you to create something in real life. In this class, I'll deconstruct what it means to create. I'll explain how to frame creative projects, gain the self-confidence to create and publish, and I'll also talk about how to use social media in a meaningful way. In my opinion, it's never been easier to monetize creative work. Social media has been a great gift to creatives and makers. It definitely helped many more people than ever before to turn their passions into their main source of income. I have decided to create this class to help you utilize social media and unlock its full potential. You don't need to be a creative to benefit from this class. We often discuss that this stake is that only one percent of people who use social media, use it to share what they create. That also means that only one percent fully benefit from what the internet could help them achieve whether they are creative or not, as long as they are creators. If you're already a maker and a creator, and use social media to share your progress, then this class is probably not for you. If on the other hand you are someone who would like to get some help with framing projects and think about how to share something you enjoy doing, then I'm looking forward us getting to spend more time together. I'm very much looking forward to seeing your class project and learning more about you and your work. 2. Class Project: To me, social media is a great tool for people who share your interests to find you. I would compare the pictures that fits and the comments you leave behind online through virtual breadcrumbs that allow people to come across your name for various channels to then follow you if they're interested in your work for the longer term. The project in this class is one breadcrumb. I would like you to leave behind. Use this space to create a project here on Skillshare and simply share a link to your Instagram, your Twitter or whatever channel you choose to focus on. Then tell us what subjects you're curios about and would like to learn more about. This won't a class about following your passion. This will be a class about following your curiosity and turning it into a side project for you to work on and help you connect with people you should meet. 3. Developing a Creator’s Mindset: I would like to pick up this class by making you aware of how different platforms make money. There are platforms that capitalize on you being a creator, such as Epsi Patreon or Mid App. Then their platforms that earn money with your attention capitalizing on your consuming content. You might have heard the famous quote by the CEO of Netflix who set the biggest competitor is sleep. There is much to say about how social media platform is one key to behave. If you're friends wouldn't create content that make you want to scroll for your fee like on Instagram, then I'm sure companies with great contents to make you use their product, which is something that Netflix does. What I'm meaning to say is that, if you want to use social media effectively, you'll have to start to create things. If you wants to succeed with social media, you need to become a creator and a maker. Something that's obviously far easier said than done. I personally struggle switching between actively creating and passively consuming. Actually, I only allow myself to really consume on the weekends, and then during the week, I really focus on create things. Because I just know myself and I know that if I start watching it serious, I'll most likely binge watched the whole thing. Often after a few weeks, I'll feel like I've visited way too much time and unless I find the serious beneficial and I'm learning something new, then I might not feel that great about myself. At least, that's what's true for me. Knowing how consuming makes me feel, I'm very aware and intentional about how I'm spending my time. If I want to consume something, anything, it could be a game, a movie, a serious social media, or even a book, I'm very aware of why I'm doing it. I've realized that once I'm used to creating, it's much easier to create. Yet, I have also developed some tricks that I'll share in this class that helped me maintain the practice of creating. For the beginning of this class, I want you to create an awareness of how you consume content created by others, and when you do so. For example, do you always scroll for Instagram and you're waiting for the bus? Or do you always watch Netflix first thing when you come home? What are the habits you have created for yourself when you consume? You should note that I'm not saying consuming content is the head. It's great for inspiration and also just relaxing. Its just more debt with making you think about a venue consume. I want you to create an advantage of when might be a good time for you to create. We'll get to that in the next video. 4. Finding Time to Create & Building Habits : Sometime ago, I read Gretchen Rubin's book, Better Than Before, which is a detailed exploration of building and maintaining good habits. My main takeaway from the book is that it's easier to build new habits when you attach them to habits that you already have. For example, if you really dislike loading and unloading your dishwasher, you could do it every time you feed your dog or brush your teeth. I assume you brush your teeth every day and if you have a dog, you also probably do it twice a day. That means that you can train yourself to load and unload your dishwasher every time you do those tasks. It's easier to add habits to existing ones than establishing habits loosely and without connecting them to what you already do. It's not just house chores that you can learn to maintain, the same goes for creative projects. Now, did you have hopefully aware of the different situations for up the day when you consume because of the last video? Choose one of these activities that you've identified to combine it with creating. I would recommend choosing one of your consumption habits and replace or enhance them with working on a creative project. For example, if you like to scroll through e-commerce sites, you could use a service such as shop looks to create fashion collages. Many don't create because they say they don't have time to do so. I think it's because we mostly associate working on creative projects with having a lot of time on our hands. There's this romanticized idea of going off to a quiet house for a few weeks to finally have time to work on this one book you've always dreamed of gray thing or painting these beautiful paintings you've always dreamed of painting. Well. The problem with this approach is that once you finally find the time which might never actually happen, being good at pursuing that creative venture, might build up so much pressure. You wouldn't be able to create anything to start with. Which if you just do something as one of many things that you do, it's just like another task. It's not this intimidating thing. One of the most valuable books I've read that helped me rationalized creative projects was Chris Baty's, No Plot No Problem. I recommend this book even if you're not trying to become a writer, because Chris is the founder of the literally Marathon National Novel Writing Month where you're supposed to write 50,000 words in 30 days. But he really really talks about productivity. My greatest takeaway from Chris book is that if you want to work on something creative, it needs to be just one of many things you do. Even if you need to accomplish something really big at the end, you need to be comfortable to split this big bold something into tiny tasks for you to be able to implement it in your daily life. That means if your long term dream is to eventually write a book, you need to write 100, 200, or 1,667 words as it is the daily goal for people who participate in a National Novel Writing Month. Whatever you would like to pursue creatively, it's important for you to think about the process and what it actually means to be doing that thing in all its practicalities. You shouldn't think about what you eventually want to create, be it a book or that you want to run a fashion label. You need to start small and pursue things in a way by your daily tasks and actually doing it become your goal and not the big final outcome you envision you'll create at the end. You don't need to make two hours of your time free to do creative work. You can take 10 minutes a day and still accomplish something incredible. You can turn your waiting time for a bus into creative time too. You can give yourself 10 or 20 minutes a day, maybe even before you get up in the morning to do something self initiated and creative. Take jonburgerman's project, where he attached ice, the mundane objects and turn them into art. It can really be that simple. It's really just about how you frame your creative project, which I'll explain later in this class. For now, let's talk about how to overcome your potential fear of creative thinking. 5. Overcoming the Fear of Creating : One of the main things that distinguish creative people from those who would like to be creative, is that creative people practice. They are comfortable with not being perfect, they are comfortable creating and doing so in public without being scared of being judged by others or having to realize they are not as good as they had imagined. From my personal exploration and reflection, I've realized that being creative is much easier when you don't try to follow your passions, especially when you don't know what you're passionate about. I think it's so much more about following your curiosity. I want you to think about what topic you would like to learn more about, which can be a country or a city, it can be a certain culture, it can be a certain decade, it can be animals, it can be plants, it can be any topic or activity you would like to learn more about. Whatever you decide on, look for a topic you're curious about. You should be curious enough to be able to stick with that subject for at least a month, if not longer. Don't forget to let us all know, in your class project here on Skillshare, what it is you're curious about. I don't want you to choose a topic you're in a way supposed to be interested in, I don't want you to choose a topic that everyone seems to be interested in, I want you to choose something you would be willing to spend at least a month with. This topic can be absolutely unrelated to what you do for a living or what you study. It doesn't have to be a rational decision, there just needs to be a team. If you want to have inspiration, you can look into the projects and then see mine of what I've done. One of my students, for example, and as I teach, one of my students decided the focus on the grand ships of the 20th century. Another of my students wanted to research facts about Indonesia, and another student wanted to explore, notice and reflect on the small things that made her happy. It can be anything from Penguins to fun facts about empires. Anything you think is fun enough to be curious about it for at least a month. 6. The Magic of Trial and Error: People who know of me, probably know me because I've published three books. The outside perspective is that I'm someone who's written several books and got featured in outlets such as goBoost, 99U, creative boom and Simar. Obviously, it wasn't like one day I woke up, turned in a circle three times and suddenly was able to publish a whole book. And then the next they journalists noticed my work. There are many invisible steps for the outside world. I needed to make for me to build up the self-confidence to be able to publish a book. First of all, I started publishing short articles on a blog I didn't tell anyone about. Even my ex-boyfriend only found out about six months after I had started publishing posts about three times a week. Just for your reference, this was in 2010. Back then, I wasn't sure if anyone would be interested in what I had to say, yet it was this blog that got me my first job because of some of my readers happened to work at an agency that was hiring someone with a passion for the topics I was writing about. Imagine they were offering me a job for my hobby. Having had that experience, I moved between different roles and eventually started working at a startup where I was responsible for the entire communication. They also had a blog, and so I started writing short features about interesting people in our community. This long. Then at the end of 2014, I felt like I wanted to challenge myself in the new year, and so I signed up for a writer's club. At the beginning of 2014, so four years later, I joined 10 sessions with fellow want to be writers. For each session, I needed to submit a text that I wrote, and in this group we would give feedback for one another's work and like Yeah. Having these regular meetups with the group make me feel accountable. That's the most important thing. I started writing and then I got feedback from my writing as well. Back then, none of my writing was professionally edited, it was raw. My exploration of how it felt to write begun behind closed doors and in a safe group together with eight other women. Then I decided to leave the job I loved because of a number of difficult circumstances. I knew I needed to process the entire thing, and so I sat down and wrote 70,000 words within 30 days. I basically followed the mission over writing month scheme outside of mission normal writing month. I've wrote a reflect on everything that happened in this one year that I spent in Berlin and for that, I was getting up every day at 6 AM to write for an hour and a half. On one hand, it helped me find closure but then I also learned that I was capable of writing such a vast amount of words within a short period of time. Only because of all this trial and error, I was convinced I was capable of writing a book, which I have done several times by now. What I want to say is that often we don't know much about the beginning of how people practice. Only recently I came across Felicia Ricci aesthetics talk where she discusses how starting to write a novel taught her what she needed to know about writing a novel. If you need another example, Nir Eyal who wrote the book Hooked, said he uses writing to explore and femoral lies with a subject. He doesn't expect to know much about what he set out to write about before he starts working on a book. I've showed both of these resources in the links, in the resources of this class. What I want to say that these stories is that you might see accomplished people you admire every time you open Instagram. It's effect, they started out just like you, just like me, and all of us are and they are at some point beginners who are just willing to practice. 7. Get Comfortable Sharing Your Progress: In my first book, this year will be different. I had a whole chapter on how you should leave your inner perfection is at the door. Sharing on social media isn't about sharing finished pieces because creating a finished piece takes a while. Social media is much more about sharing one's process and progress and so to use social media effectively, it's essential to share regularly, which is something you'll only manage to do if you don't aspire to only share your work whenever you're 100 percent convinced it's finished. It might also help you if you get into the habit of sharing your progress because then you might be much less attempted to never finish a piece of work. It's very likely people, friends, and at some point strangers, they only react to what you are doing. One day and that day off, come first chance, one of your friends will want to talk to you about what these so you've shared online and tell you they think it's cool. In short, things don't have to be finished or perfect to be shared online and to be noticed by other people. Just the fact that you are actually making something yourself go and press enough people for you to feel motivated enough to keep going. It's just important that you do share what you're working on. 8. Why You Should Have a Creative Project : Up until now, I've talked a lot about what's stopping people from creating. Because I've heard many buts and I spend much time talking about the buts in this class. Because while some people might struggle coming up with a project, even more people will say, "Why it's not possible for them to create it." They might even say they aren't creative, which is something I believe must have to do with something someone told them when they were a child. Which might have completely killed their confidence. The reason why I think having a personal side for project is beneficial, is because you'll learn to own your own time. You'll most likely feel better about what you've accomplished. Most of all, people around you will notice what you're working on overtime as well. Such projects are a great way to bring your business. Once you consistently work on something over a period of time, people will start noticing. I promise you that. Additionally, people who create and work on their own ideas usually get the opportunities others only dream and bought. One of my guiding sentences in life has been something Dan Harmon once said at a conference. He said, "Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops and keep doing so until the people who are looking for you find you." From experience, I can say that people who have side projects, people who create. They are the ones who get job offers, book deals as speaking engagements and fun event invitations. People who consistently create, get the opportunities that are up there early. Simply because others know what to approach him about. Even if you create the important part is you also have to share that. One of the other benefits of side projects is that you can work on them whenever you need to fill your time doing something constructive. I remember early on I had a dry month early on in my freelancing and I didn't receive a single client requests and wasn't earning any money. I didn't use this time to work on a side project that I would be able to monetize later on. Working on a side projects always meant full ownership of my time. It's why I think, it's a must for every freelancer to work on some. 9. Framing Your Side Project: I really hope you've reflected on your habits, your rituals, and now I would like to talk about how to best frame a project. You can either set a goal that you wanted to work towards, and then sit down to plan out what the necessary steps are to accomplish what you've set out to accomplish. Or the option is you can focus on the process and essentially turn your project into a product or even more products. But let's start at the beginning. Let's start with analyzing the elements of a project, and how to best set a framework that they'll make it easier for you to create. It might be that you are someone who can easily think of a project and just push through until it's done. Then again, this might not be the case for you. If you're someone who wants to learn how to come up with projects and how to finish them, the next few videos, they'll help you with the framing. 10. Have a Measurable Goal: It's much easier to follow through with a project if you know what you're working towards. Clearly, and as you progress with your self-discipline, you'll be able to work on projects before even knowing what the end goal is. Yet, for a start you should always be able to have a number you can work towards. Let's say you aspire to write, then set yourself a goal of how many words or characters you'll write every day, just like with the National Novel Writing Month, or if you are an illustrator, you could decide on how many illustrations you want to create to have a whole series. It could also be that your project isn't creative, you might be working on research on knowledge based projects. Even then, you should determine the number of elements you need to create or how you can split your project into smaller tasks for them to be comfortable, and only take up time that you have in your wake time. 11. Set a Specific Theme: I have already touched upon you creating a project around something you are curious about. It's much easier to follow through with something if you're curious, you're learning, and you're able to notice your own progress. It's much more joyful to follow through with a project if it feels tangible, and most of all, whenever you sit down you actually know what you're supposed to be doing. I would recommend that you sit down at the beginning of your project, which might be now, to do a little more planning and decide on what you want to focus on for every element of the project. Let's say you want to create a series of drawings. Then it makes sense to think through what the drawings are going to be about and what you'll be doing every day to finish before your set deadline. The goal is that each specific day you sit down to work on this project, you know exactly what you should be doing just because you've already thought about it. Every time you sit down, you should have the necessary instructions for you to just execute on. What you'll be doing every day should be clear from the beginning, so clear that you won't have to think about what you should be doing anymore, you'll just know. If your project is about writing, then just like with drawings, you should just know what you'll be writing about that very day. You might have come across the 30 day challenge or the 100 day project, and as you might notice, they both have a number in their name, which is the measurable goal. Once you decide what your 30 day challenge or your 100 day project is about, you'll also have the theme for your project, and so you'll know what you're going to be thinking, and writing, and doing, and creating, and drawing about. If you want some inspiration on what others have done for their 30 day challenge or a 100 day project, then just go on Instagram and look for the hashtags to get some inspiration about what your theme should be. Just remember that your theme should be something you're curious about and want to learn more about. It can be as quirky as 30 facts about puffins, for which you create simple infographics about puffins, or something like the project 100 days of rejection where you are prompted to write about what you've done expecting to be rejected. It's something such as asking a stranger to borrow $100 or delivering pizza to pizza restaurant, which is by the ways, something that someone's actually done and then wrote a book about it. You might also just research historic facts about the streets in your neighborhood or buy someone a coffee for 30 days and give them a small letter of encouragement, as one of my students has done in my class. 12. Choose a Specific Technique: If you are creative and you want for people to notice that, then do something that would show them what you enjoy and are good at. If you aspire to become an illustrator, then draw. But determine how you'll draw upfront. It could be that you always use one and the same technique, it could be that you decide that you will, for example, draw a tree every day. But you'll make it a thing to always use different materials. One of my students used flowers to create the countdown to summer. She started with the number 100 and finished with an announcement of summer. She always used flowers and leaves and what she found in nature to craft the numbers which she then photographed. If you don't consider yourself a creative, yet you still wants to have a project that would help you position yourself online, you could make a research project. One of my students who studied in event planning, shared facts about it, that she wrote in a notebook and then photographed them. In 100 consecutive days, she demonstrated to people who found her online, that she was knowledgeable about the subject matter. Determining the technique for your project and doing so upfront, will help you eliminate insecurities. I should say at this point that, while I found it crucial to set a certain style and have a predetermined technique, I also think it's essential for you to get eventually bored with your project. Once you get bored, you'll have to push yourself to find ways to make the project more interesting again. Instead of thinking, "Oh, I've had enough", you'll have to proactively think about new ways and alternative perspectives to achieve the goal you have set out to achieve. That's when your creative juices usually kick in. When you think about the technique, you also need to consider how much time you can invest every single day. Be realistic about it. It might be that you have to simplify your project to only take 10 or 20 minutes every day, to be able to continuously work on it. You should think about your availability and how much time is reasonable for you to invest. Think about this even before you start working on your project. Because considering the time element when planning your project, will help you avoid future frustrations. 13. Set a Deadline : You might have already set yourself a deadline when you first set out to work on this project. A deadline, even if it's a personal one, they'll help you see the end of your project. My personal trait has always been to involve other people. I would request their availability and also know that I would have to pay them which put me on a schedule. For full transparency and if you would like to know more about how I publish books, I have another a special class on that subject here on Skillshare. I have also one where I explained how I use Kickstarter to turn ideas into actual products and monetize them and I have one about how I find clients which all tie into this class as well. It's funny because when you talk to people and learn more about how they create, many projects only happen because they had a deadline from the start. If you manage to take your deadline seriously, it will be much more likely that you'll actually accomplish your project. 14. Documenting Your Side Project: While I have mentioned that you can start a side project anonymously, if you feel like you don't have the guts to talk about your project with anyone just yet. I would also like to remind you the document thing, progress of your project is crucial. On one hand, you should be able to visually reflect what you've accomplished. On another hand, showing what you're working on will help you connect this to people who care about the same thing as you. Which in my opinion, is what makes the social web so magical. To me, it doesn't matter so much where you decide to share your progress. You should choose a platform that you feel most comfortable using. If you would like to use Instagram, yet are insecure about the quality of your pictures, I have another class here on Skillshare in which I explain how I edit pictures I'd take with my smartphone. What I consider important is for you to use the social web to share what you make and create instead of what you do and how much fun you're having unless of course you're documenting how much fun you're having making something. It might be that you'll want to start a new channel to document your creations. If you decide to start from scratch and even before you use the channel to follow people, I would recommend to post at least 15 to 20 pictures, update your buyer and create a space for yourself that every visitor who checks your App knows what to expect from your channel and what you're all about: what you're interested in and what they'll get to see. Only once you've shown what you do and what you are about, use the channel to follow the people you would like to connect with. Personally I've found it extremely rewarding to be able to reach out to people I admire. Most of them have been very open and interested in talking to me, being in my books, or having coffee with me because they could see immediately what I'm about, and what I value, and what I create. You might not be able to see the benefit yet, however, once you start documenting your journey as a creator, you'll be able to unlock the door to the communities you personally care to participate in. A good tool to connect with others online is by using hashtags that are already used by the communities you would like to become a part of. I don't know what that is In your case. You'll have to do some research. Just search for the terms you find exciting or edit comments to your project here on Skillshare for me to be able to help you figure that off. 15. Turning Your Side Project into a Product: Whenever people ask me why I work on my side projects, my first reply, will always be that I'm curious and want to learn more about the subject matter. However, and over time, I've also found a way to turn on my side projects into scalable side incomes. They are different platforms such as spoon flower for patterns, creative market for design assets and essence KDP for e-books and paper bags and at4 crafted goods and similar. Personally, I recommend focusing on the process and what you want to learn. Be open to vary your journey via Leakey, you might end up using your illustrations as prince for carts or t-shirts. Or you might use your baked goods to lighten up the days of friends and strangers. Someone might find you and invite you to collaborate, the possibilities are endless. One of my all-time favorite movies is Julie and Julia, which portraits the story of a woman who decided to cook all of Julia Child's recipes in a year and document her project on a block. Many of the projects that were very process-driven at the start that turned into things such as books or exhibitions later on. I can recommend My Creative Side Business, my second book, because it's filled with stories of starting small and turning ideas into products. Personally, that book has given me so much inspiration I've been drawing from for all these years. I've wrote the book to share the how's with everyone who also want to turn ideas into projects that might help build a more creative life. If you are not much of a reader or are just dying to create now, then I think it's time for me to let you close your laptop and follow your curiosity to make wonderful, wonderful things. I hope I'll see them somewhere online.