Our horse lover and travelling nomad… Introducing our Senior Content Manager, Jane

Name: Jane Lundin

Role: Senior Content Manager

Location: Malta, Florida, Spain … wherever the world takes me!

Jane, you are one of our senior content managers at Topcontent. How did you end up here?

Well I started freelancing at Topcontent, back when it was still known as Sidekick Content, when I was living on the sunny island of Malta. I started out  writing casino texts and stuff (I guess many of our freelancers will relate to that) and then I moved on to proofreading. At the time being, I was the manager at this Swedish shop in Malta called Little Sweden (still exists today!) and I already had plans to move to the USA, so when a position as a content manager in the Swedish team was announced, I applied. Luckily the company was game with me working from across the Atlantic.

You have been with us for many years now, can you tell us a bit about the biggest changes you have experienced from when you started to now?

Oh it is a totally different company. When I started, we still used the old system and sent out the tasks manually. We did all the proofreading in house, with a few exceptions. In the beginning, we weren’t that many remote working content managers and the company was much stricter with working hours and that we all had to be online at the same time throughout the day. Once the new system was implemented, it opened up to new ways of working. As a team, we still overlap during certain hours of the day, but now we have a lot more flexibility.

It wasn’t just the flexibility and remote working that changed; the role of a content manager also changed. We are still doing proofreading and quality controls on the text, but as a former teacher, I see myself falling into that role more and more. Our roles are to guide and give tools instead of just fixing everything ourselves. We guide our freelancers by giving very detailed instructions to tasks and also through the guides we write, also in the way we give feedback. We use our chat as a way to connect and support our freelancers and of course, we connect by email too. It is actually fascinating. Topcontent is not the same today as it was last month. It is always developing and Topcontent has an amazing group of people working in the development team who make our wishes become reality. They are always improving things for us and for the company!

Jane, you’re Swedish, you’ve lived in Malta, moved to the states, and now you’re moving to Spain! How do you cope with this job whilst moving around so much?

That is the glory of this job, and working with people who look after everyone’s best interests. I am a restless soul and I actually love moving. Just during my years in Malta, I moved apartments six times. And I love exploring new countries and new cultures. It is actually this job that makes it possible.

But it takes discipline and you have to create and manage your working schedule. Especially since I have been working in a different time zone (6-9 hours behind the office in Malta) during the past 3 years. I am very picky when it comes to my working space,it has to be inviting and cosy. It has to be a place where I can walk into my cave and relax and focus. I can’t go to a café and work, or sit at the beach, although I have made a corner in the garden into an outside office where I sit and work when it is not too hot outside.

So is routine important for you?

Extremely! For me, it is important to have a routine and I start every morning the same way. I start by reading all messages in Slack, our communication channel, and then all my emails. Once I know if there are new projects or if something has changed, I then look at the projects and how the numbers look in the dashboard. Once I have  all the info I need, I plan my day. And since this routine is so established, I have been able to work when moving from Europe to US and when I am travelling.

Is it true that you have a passion for horses and actually worked with horses in Malta?

Hahaha yes, it is. I had this really good horse in Sweden and a Maltese guy was interested in buying him. I said no, so instead he offered me a job as a horse trainer in Malta as long as I brought my horse with me. So, I gave away all my furniture, stored the rest, packed one bag for me, one for the horse, brought my bike and my saddle and off we went to Malta, all the way from Sweden. And I loved every minute of it. My horse was a success, I even won with him myself. It gave me an opportunity to live and work with the Maltese people. Believe me, I really had to prove at the race track that I knew what I was doing. It was me and the guys. There were many raised eyebrows when I said my horse never did training at the track. I swam with him and took him out for hacks, and he was a winner.

So not only are you a travelling nomad, but even at Topcontent you also manage projects in a lot of different languages. How does that work?

Oh it is so much fun, but it takes a lot of communication with the freelancers, and that is mostly by email, so I don’t always have an answer from them when needed. But you get to know the freelancers, and you know who can do what, who is quick to answer and who will be able to take on the tasks, or who is quick to write to be able to deliver on time. But this is exactly what I mentioned before; there are always new challenges and you have to think outside the box all the time. You can’t sit down and get too comfortable.

We know that there are a lot of freelancers who are loyal to you and whom you can rely on a lot. Why is that do you think?

I always try to build some kind of relationship with them and it makes my day when I get emails from them. I try to get to know what they are really good at, what their strengths are, what they love writing about, and although I do push a lot, I always ask if they have time. I know that if I assign or ask them to do something, knowing they might not have time or not liking the subject, the text will not be of their usual quality.

I also think that it’s always better to be honest with them about what is good and what can be better. It gives me comfort knowing that they will get the right feedback and with explanation why. For me, it is a matter of being personal but not private. It gives a foundation of mutual respect for our different roles and the different demands we face.

We all like to receive recognition or praise when we do something good. We like to feel that we are appreciated. I really try and show this as much as I can, which is why  I have writers that have been around from when I first joined the company, over three years ago, and they stick around.

With all of that said, what is the most important thing/most valuable lesson you have learnt in your time with Topcontent so far?

You can do it! Be open minded, be positive, and take feedback for what it is; a chance to be better and be grateful for the person taking the time giving you the feedback because that person wants you on the journey to become even better. At the end of the day, we all make mistakes, what matters is that you see them as a chance to learn how not to do them again.

I can honestly say that our CEO Tore Friskopp was the one who really changed my mind on feedback. Don’t be scared of changes, all changes take work and time, but they usually bring something even better. For me it is not just a job. I get to work with what I love to do; guide, teach, read texts, interact with other people all around the world. what can be better than that?

Do you have anything you want to say to our freelancers?

Read the instructions!! Just by doing that you have half the job done. Through the instructions, you get the structure, you get the tone, the subject and then sit down and reflect on it. Let it get rooted before you start writing. Some writers want to structure their text, some like to write in a flow; no matter how your writing style is, the foundation is in the instructions.

And as I mentioned above, don’t take feedback in a negative way. Be grateful that someone wants to help you improve, for you to be an even better writer so that you are able to take on even tougher texts in the future. You have to love to write, it should be a passion, because if it is only done for money the quality will never be as good when compared to a writer that really wants to take the reader on a journey.

 

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About the author

Michelle Blackmore
Head of HR
Michelle joined Topcontent as Head of HR. Her background is centred around people leadership and operational management.