Career Change & Money

Tip jar with notes and coins in it

I think sorting out your finances is one of the best ways to mentally prepare yourself for a career change. One of the biggest fears around career change is money; we probably all have the same fear that we’ll end up out of work, with no money coming in, and a mortgage or rent to pay and perhaps a family to support.

A few habits I started way before my period of career transition, and others I started in the months leading to it, helped me deal with this fear and made it easier for me to go for it and change career.


Let’s start with the basics. Around 15 years ago I lived in Paris, and with my first job there I realised I needed to start getting a handle on my finances. Renting a flat with a friend, paying bills, it was time to get responsible. I started a simple excel spreadsheet where I noted how much money I received in my bank account each month – deducted all regular expenses such as rent, bills, food, and then any ad hoc expenses I expected such as new trainers or nights out with friends. This allowed me to budget, to see in which months I’d need to be a bit careful and those where I could save a little. I loved feeling in control of my finances. I’ve stuck to this method ever since.


Some time ago I’d had instilled in me the idea that you should have 3 months’ living costs in savings – I suppose I read about it in context of losing your job or quitting your job. So I always had that at the back of my mind. It might be an extremely hard slog starting from scratch, but knowing that it could help cushion a transition period makes it a positive goal to aim for. Also, it’s not only saving that can help you achieve this goal, a money-making project on the side can massively help with this, we’ll come to it in a bit.


At some point I developed an obsession with a more minimalist way of living. This may well have been inspired by Tim Ferris and The 4-Hour Work Week (read the chapter called Mini-Retirements: Embracing the Mobile Lifestyle).

I’m pretty sure I was subconsciously trying to rid myself of extra ‘things’ so that if I ever wanted to take off and travel it wouldn’t be too difficult. I also think my mind was so cluttered with worries and doubts that physically decluttering helped me try to find some peace. If my surroundings were simple and uncluttered then maybe my mind could be also…

The bonus is that when you really get into decluttering and start seeing some of your belongings for what they are (we hold onto so many things just because we ‘own’ them, not necessarily because we like them anymore or they are doing anything for us) there is often a lot of stuff to chuck out – be it recycling, donating or selling. I made a fair bit of cash selling decent odds and ends that I no longer wanted or needed on ebay.


Here are some of the websites that satisfied my minimalist urges: Particularly the ‘Inspiring Simplicity. Weekend Reads’ posts, where the author collates interesting articles about minimalism and living simply.


Speaking of money making side-projects, Airbnb gave me amazing freedom. Again, I got the idea from a blogpost, this time from Live Your Legend where the author talks about making your first $1000 dollars on the side. Read it here. If renting out a room or your whole home is an option, it’s definitely something to seriously consider.

I did a few other things to make some money on the side, I’ll cover these in another post!


Hopefully this post will inspire you to start taking control of your finances if you’re not already doing so. It is so easy to worry and procrastinate and dwell on the worst case scenario…starting to deal with the fear is the only way to get past it. If worrying about money is stopping you from progressing in your career change – it’s something to face. The more you do, the more in control you will feel.

Maybe find one thing to sell on ebay and start from there!

If you’d like to contact me to do some life coaching sessions together, send me a message here.

You can read the full interview I did with on financing my career change here:



Photo by Sam Truong Dan on Unsplash

Read this the next time you’re ready to give up on the idea of finding a job you actually like.

When I first spoke to Sarah, a year ago, she felt stuck, lost, and as though everything in her life was rubbish. She’d left a job in London she didn’t enjoy, visited Australia and decided that it wasn’t the place for her, and was back living with her parents in the North of England.

She didn’t have a job, she had no money, and she wasn’t happy with her home life. It felt as though she’d taken 20 steps back.

She was unhappy with her relationships, and unsure what to do or where to live. Should she return to London? Or move to Paris (her dream)?

She didn’t have any money for the fun things she likes to do, such as travel or visit galleries or the cinema, or do courses.

She was feeling negative and unmotivated.

Here’s what Sarah’s achieved in the past year:

She started working with young people, volunteering for an alternative education provision near her parent’s house.

This was a totally new field of work for her (she’d previously worked in the media industry) and she found that she loved it. She realised she was good at it. It led to paid part-time employment.

Sarah found job satisfaction – something she’d been lacking for a long time. She learned new skills. She felt fulfilled.

Then, a new role came up, working for an NGO with a social mission, engaging children and young people. Sarah moved to London.

And now, she’s started travelling with work. Some days she can work from home, meaning she has more of a work-life balance, something that is really important to her.

Sarah is planning on doing more volunteering/mentoring with disadvantaged young people, and doing a youth work qualification.

And she’s travelling again, and spending time in Paris as often as she can, speaking lots of French. She still has an eye on moving to Paris…

Sarah is turning her life around.

She has shifted from a place of despair to a place of possibility, of opportunity. She is suddenly seeing the things she had wished for coming true.

How did she do this?

By taking baby steps…

She started contacting people, amongst others –

  • an ex-colleague who had started up his own design business
  • an ex-boss who had been kind and might offer advice
  • people working at companies she was interested in, via LinkedIn, to ask for a 10 minute conversation
  • a friend of a friend who was an interior designer (and realised that world probably wasn’t for her)
  • recruitment companies specialising in roles in charities

She wrote out a list of charities and social enterprises that appealed to her and sent in her CV.

Doing a CELTA teaching qualification (teaching English) was an appealing option – she asked people who had done it for advice.

She bought books about mindset and read them voraciously.

There were all sorts of local places where volunteering was an option, working with art, charities or children. Sarah created a list.

An internship at a social enterprise looked interesting – she applied.

A part-time role working for a charity on their marketing team came up, something she considered.

She learned lots about communicating, and about what she wanted and didn’t want.

It was really, really hard. She worked on it every day, making contact, applying for roles.

Sarah spoke to a coach (me!) because she knew that she needed help with focussing and taking action.

Importantly – she got over the idea that her next role would have to be forever, and therefore eased some of the pressure.

She considered ALL options.

She started to feel more positive as she started making progress.

It’s a step-by-step process. One that you can follow. It’s straightforward. Do one thing today to move yourself forward in your mission.

Send a message, an email, start an application.

Start reading a book that seems inspirational.

Talk to someone.

Listen to a podcast.

Write yourself a list.

Set a reminder.

Talk to someone else.

Send another message.

You get the picture.

It’s only when you start taking action that you start getting results. It might take a while, but you’ll be moving in the right direction.

If you’d like to try coaching with me, contact me here.

Photo by Valentina Conde on Unsplash