Start Your Side Gig

I wrote in a previous post about a few ways in which I started to manage my money, save money and make a little extra money in preparation for a career change.

Here I’ll talk more about side gigs – some of things I did to make some extra money on the side of my full time job.

This is important for two main reasons. One, as I learned from a post on the Life Your Legend blog  Earn an extra 1000 dollars a month, earning money on the side gives you a certain confidence. Knowing that you can earn money outside of your day job helps with the fear and uncertainty of what to do next. It’s proof that there are other options out there beyond your current role.

Even if you start small with something on the side, this can be a massive breakthrough when you feel stuck in your job and certain there’s nothing else out there for you, with your skills and experience. It’s the start of something new. And perhaps your side project will lead to something bigger.

The second reason is that there can be a huge amount of fear around money when it comes to career change. The fear of losing that monthly pay, of everything going wrong, of having to take a pay cut if you want to retrain or study. Starting to earn money on the side gives you an element of control, you can start a pot of savings. Psychologically this can be really impactful.

Here’s what I did. A while before I decided to leave my job, I met up with a good friend of mine from uni. She was working for a translating company as a freelance translator, checking final translations from Spanish to English. She could work anytime, anywhere, and was earning enough to survive. I was so impressed – she had freedom! She told me that with my qualifications (I have a language degree and a 1-year translation course under my belt) and experience (I’ve lived in France and worked for French companies) I’d be able to work for them too.

I applied, did some tests, passed and was taken on. I didn’t get started immediately but it was amazing knowing that I had a back-up plan should I need it. The job requests were coming in. If I worked enough hours, this could be a viable source of income for as long as I needed it. Even just going through the motions, making the application and passing the tests, gave me a confidence boost.

Another thing I turned to in order to earn money on the side was private tuition. A friend of my Mum’s has her own tutoring company and didn’t have space to teach a child touch-typing. She asked if I wanted to give it a go. I’d been taught to touch-type as a child, and I’d tutored English as a foreign language whilst living in France and working as a language assistant. I decided to give it a go! And it was so gratifying.

From then I found new clients either by word of mouth, or from a tutoring website, Tutorhunt.com.  I really enjoyed working one to one with students, seeing their confidence grow as they learned and improved. And tutoring can be well paid, from around £20-35 per hour, or more.

I ended up having a 6-month break between jobs where I did all sorts of things (read here) including working, studying and travelling. Having these two side gigs, amongst other temporary jobs, helped me through. It meant that I could keep busy, keep learning and earn some money, whilst exploring options for a new career.

Your turn

I hope this post inspires you to start your first side gig to earn extra income. Whether it’s signing up and creating a profile for a freelancing website, applying for part-time work locally, or offering a paid service to friends and family (dog sitting, helping with taxes, teaching an instrument, whatever). There’s no doubt you will have some expertise that you think everyone else has, but in fact, other people would pay you for.

If you’d like to work with me and receive some coaching in moving forward in changing your life, send me an email at joaopoku@gmail.com.

You can read my interview with Careershifters on financing your career change here: How to finance your career change

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Here are some of the websites that satisfied my minimalist urges:

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/ Particularly the ‘Inspiring Simplicity. Weekend Reads’ posts, where the author collates interesting articles about minimalism and living simply.

https://www.theminimalists.com/archives/#popular

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/category/mmm-classics/

https://zenhabits.net/archives/

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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!

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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 Careershifters.com on financing my career change here: https://www.careershifters.org/expert-advice/how-to-finance-your-career-change

 

 

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.

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

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

She is 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.

She researched doing a CELTA teaching qualification (teaching English) – and asked people who had done it for advice.

She looked into local places where she might want to volunteer, working with art, charities or children.

She applied for an internship at a social enterprise.

She considered a part-time role working for a charity on their marketing team.

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

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

She bought books about mindset and read them voraciously.

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

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.

When you start taking action, 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

 

One thing I’ve learned this year so far (about fear)

Person high up on building, facing fear

Things you thought were really scary aren’t so scary once you’ve done them…

I thought that writing a blog post and putting it out there would be really scary. I thought that tweeting said blogpost would be even scarier.

I’m not a massive social media person.

The only tweets I’d previously sent had been for my work Twitter account, and they were few. But I realised that if I want to reach people, and if I want to help someone by writing something that might resonate with them, I have to get the writing out there into the world. Twitter seemed like a good way of doing that.

Once I’d written my first blogspost – I was pretty proud. I felt as though someone reading it might feel inspired. So that helped, I actually wanted to get it out there.

I spent a while looking at how people I admired structured their tweets when they were publishing blogposts, wrote several draft versions of my own tweet until I was happy, and pressed ‘Tweet’.

That was it. Easy. Done. Out there.

I soon realised that the scariest thing about sending out a tweet, especially one where you want people to click a link and read on, is the possibility that no one will see it, or take any notice. You’ve spent time rewriting and editing, finding a decent image for your post, drafting a tweet which will be captivating…and then you look at the stats and realise the tweet has passed the eyes of very few people. No one has clicked the link.

Oh.

So the fear of tweeting disappears. The fear of putting your work out there disappears. The fear of not being seen appears. Isn’t that interesting? How one big fear can disappear just like that, as soon as you do the scary thing?

And then the next big fear appears?

What’s the big scary thing you’re going to do today? Only to realise it’s not that scary after all?

You can share this post here.

If you’d like to contact me for a coaching session, do so here. I can help if you’re feeling stuck, scared, stressed, and you’re not taking action.

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang on Unsplash

Silver lining

Golden circles pattern

I’ve realised that every time a relationship has ended, I’ve been able to turn it around into a positive situation and somehow improve my life.

With a break-up, of course I always have moments of wretchedness. Everything is terrible, suddenly it seems to shine a light on everything that’s wrong with my life, my social life, my home, my job, my fitness, my looks, have I travelled enough, am I doing everything I want to do with my life? This always seems to happen. In terms of romantic relationships – is it ever going to happen, why does it always go wrong? These same questions – always.

But, after a while, this is always followed by a feeling of lifting. Suddenly I have a massive desire to do something to improve my life. Almost as an act of rebellion, this has happened, everything feels like crap, but I’m now going to make my life even better.

And this seems to happen consistently. I had an ex who had told me that he’d learned Spanish for free at a local community college. I was jealous. When the relationship ended I thought, “I’m going to learn Spanish, if he can, so can I!” And I did. I did a GCSE in Spanish and now here I am living in Spain speaking Spanish every day. He inspired me.

I’ve taken trips, I’ve moved house, I’ve started courses, all inspired by stopping and re-evaluating where I am in my life.

I reflect on different areas of my life, look at things slightly differently, and consider what I need to work on. And I feel inspired to make some changes.

It’s interesting how the end of a relationship can seem like the worst thing in the world, but actually it can shift you forward in other ways.

It was the same when I had my career ‘breakdown’ moment. It felt like the worst thing in the world – I was really stressed, I didn’t know what to do; but it ended up being the best possible thing for me. Because I got out of a career I wasn’t enjoying and hadn’t been for years, it forced me to really think about what kind of life I wanted, what kind of lifestyle.

Did I want the London lifestyle I had, which I found stressful, and busy, and expensive, or did I want to lead a simpler, more flexible life, doing work I valued more. I realised I wanted to be able to work where I want. I eventually made the decision to live in another country, something I’d held back on for a long time.

So this breakdown gave me a chance to re-evaluate everything. I had the freedom to make some decisions. And once I’d made the decision to quit my job, which felt huge at the time, it made making further brave decisions that much easier to do. I know I can focus on what I want, and do it.

When something bad happens, it’s not always quite so bad. It can be a silver lining, and can set you off on a path which is way better than you’ve even imagined. Something better could be round the corner.

Get in touch with me here if you’re ready to improve your life and you’d like me to help you with getting unstuck, or with a career transition.

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Photo by Daniel Páscoa on Unsplash