Dance at Work

Dance at Work by Helen Baxter. Photo by Designgel.
Helen Baxter returns to her MsBehaviour files on The Big Idea with the first of a series of excerpts from her new book Dance at Work.


Work can be fun and enjoyable with the right tools and attitude. Helen Baxter returns to her MsBehaviour files on The Big Idea with the first of a series of excerpts from her new book Dance at Work providing tools for the creative community, and the lessons she learnt on the way to publishing her ebook.

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I launched my first start-up back in 1994 to avoid suits, stilettos and early morning starts. Twenty years on I’m living the dream, working from home in shorts and a t-shirt. I love the fact that technology saves me from clocks, commuting and cubicles, and allows me to run a free-range business.

Dance at Work: the creative business toolkit started out as a remix of the workshops I ran for People in Your Neighbourhood, mashed up with the professional practice course I taught at the School of Design at Victoria University. I added tips and tricks learned from running my own creative company, and slowly turned them into an ebook.

I expected the process to be reasonably easy, as l had already published more than 50 columns in the MsBehaviour Files at The Big Idea. I laugh now at my naivety, as writing a book is one of the hardest things I have ever done. Trello was an essential tool for staying focused, along with a shared Google document for comments from beta-readers.

It was painful showing people unfinished work, but having their input was invaluable. To add to the challenge I had to learn about the e-publishing process, from formatting an ebook to setting up a publishing company. There were times when I wanted to forget the whole idea, but thanks to support from my husband, friends and editor, I’m now an independent author and publisher.

The digital landscape has changed dramatically in the three years since I started the first draft, and I had to re-examine every tool for mobile and tablet use. The tools had to be affordable and accessible to creative professionals at every stage, from freelancers/solo-preneurs to growing creative companies. The title Dance at Work came at the end, as I wanted to spread the message that work can be fun and enjoyable with the right tools and attitude. I discovered that I’m not the only one grooving through the day, with people worldwide posting pics and playlists to #danceatwork.

The book is divided into seven chapters with more than three hundred links for designers, writers, musicians, makers, creative and social entrepreneurs. Learn why no more jobs is a golden opportunity for freelance contractors, how to manage projects on the cloud and work with international teams. Understand why freelancers need to think like start–up enterprises, and how strategy is essential.

You can read the book on your computer, tablet or smartphone with the Kindle reading apps from Amazon. Download a free sample of the first chapter ‘No More Jobs’, or follow tweets and infographics on Twitter and Pinterest.

Top Ten ‘Dance at Work’ Takeaways

  1. No more jobs means more contracts.

  2. Strategy plus action drives success.

  3. We have time, we need focus.

  4. It’s the best time ever to be indie.

  5. Stand up more, commute less.

  6. Automate, delegate or outsource.

  7. Set inbox opening times.

  8. Collaborate, co-create, be social.

  9. Research and learn to grow.

10. I’m happy because I dance at work. 

Written by


10 Dec 2014


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