The pandemic has been hard on everyone – some have been retrenched, lost clients and closed down businesses. For others it’s been a rebirth, a change in habits and even a new business that’s kicked off. For Johanna Voll, it has been exactly that.
Full time freelancing
October 2020 is a month that will stick in Johanna’s mind for life as she embarks on her full time freelancing career of starting not only one but two ventures. She’s had a stable job, one that she recently gave up – as a researcher at the European University Viadrina. But freelancing and coworking is something she’s no stranger to.
She had made the decision to go full time freelancing, and shortly after Johanna left her seven year role at the university, Covid hit. She was officially unemployed and stuck in a lull while the world waited for the pandemic to pass. But Johanna didn’t panic in the face of this hiccup, instead she became a sponge, absorbing every piece of content she could find. She sat in a number of support calls, webinars and even attended a two month class preparing her for the freelancer life and learning some valuable business management skills. Living in Germany, she’s fortunate that there has been an endless amount of support for the thousands, if not millions in her position. She took advantage of funding opportunities and the assistance of a business plan to round her new journey off.
Freelancing and coworking lifestyle
Johanna has been freelancing for the past 10 years already. She is part of the German Coworking Federation and co-founder of the Coworking Library, an online resource for all coworking research material, it’s plain to see that Johanna has a passion for coworking.
Venture number one has seen Johanna take her skill set and knowledge to become a project developer – not in the IT or programming sense, but rather broader umbrella for all the tasks she runs with in coworking industry and new working environments.
She’s currently working on a project along with a group of others, resorting a 300 year old brew house. While this building is getting the much needed renovations, certain other parts will be used as coworking space, available for renting and a micro-brewery. She spends a lot of time curating events and exhibitions.
Johanna is passionate about the coworking world and that serendipity factor where amazing things spring to life in this environment. She finds inspiration from coworking spaces and the connection that is formed as a result.
Although Covid has stumped her plans for a pop up coworking space at the brewery, she is also interested to see how the use of technology can positively influence the community that is built post Covid. It is now normal for people to meet online, and the power of this reaches further than we can image. She calls her laptop a window to the world, connecting with people around the globe. Her thought is how to best make use of a hybrid eventing model, where people meet in person and online and how to best bridge that socialising gap.
A hobby became a business idea
During their lockdown Johanna took to some hobbies to relax her mind at the end of the day. Her father is an artist, so this runs in the family and as a result her second venture – the Punkterei has been born. Johanna makes jewellery and creates tiny dotting masterpieces on the resin creations. These carefully crafted accessories are going to be sold on Etsy, and of course for Johanna part of the fun is setting up her own store and managing this online profile.
Why freelancing full time
Johanna made the choice to become a full time freelancer because she loves the opportunity to be self-employed, to have the flexibility of time and to set a good example for her 12 year old daughter. One of the greatest advantages she took was to make use of the networks and support available to her, and in this she sees the value of a community, the sense of belonging and how we can achieve more if we work together.
Photo credits: Sarah Rüger