One of the hardest things about my current lifestyle is feeling out of sync with a lot of people. My life as a digital nomad, blogging and running Love Her Wild, couldn’t be more different from most of my friends’. And often this is most obvious when I want to ask someone for advice. In August I was struggling with what to reply to a press offer and declared to Gil…..’I think I need more blogger friends!’

2 weeks later at the foot of Stok Kangri in India I bumped into Emma Rosen. We immediately hit it off and had a lot to talk about – blogging, public speaking, sponsorship, press, writing books, the digital nomad lifestyle. It was good to get it out of the system!

If you haven’t heard of Emma before she runs a blog called 25before25. Frustrated in her job she decided to take a 1-year sabbatical to try 25 different work experience jobs in the hope of discovering what was right for her. What resulted was Emma creating a portfolio career for herself and landing a career focused book deal (you can order it here).

Building a portfolio career

I sometimes use the term ‘adventurer’ to describe my career (usually if I am trying to bag a talk or sponsorship….it’s a bit cringe!). Really though this is just the industry that I work in. It’s the platform I use to make money in other ways.

I’d never actually heard of the term ‘portfolio career’ before but I realised that is exactly what I have created for myself (by complete accident). I use my various skills and experience to juggle different part-time jobs. From expedition leading and organising events, giving talks, marketing, making films to writing.

As someone who gets bored easily and is very project driven, this career is perfect for me. I love that it gives me the complete flexibility to work where and when I want and doesn’t have a cap in terms of success or potential.

You’re making a serious mistake

Work used to be a real struggle for me as I just couldn’t find anything stimulating. I kept switching jobs and careers and with that came criticism that I was making a mistake. That it would look bad on my CV and make me unemployable. That I just had to learn to stick a job out. These pressures kept me in jobs where I was absolutely miserable. Doing so achieves nothing more than sucking the energy and life out of you!

Looking back now I realise that switching around and trying different things was the best thing I could’ve done. And I wish I’d done it more. While looking for jobs that excite you (and resisting the urge to settle for second best) you have the best chance of discovering passions and what you are really good at.

The view from my office at the school I worked at!

How to have a portfolio career

You take a bit from everything

Switching jobs also left me with a huge amount of skills and experience which has been invaluable for what I am doing now….

…..Organising fundraising events gave me the skills needed to put together logistics for an expedition
…..Being a teacher gave me the confidence to stand up and deliver a talk in public
…..Fundraising left me with the skills needed to approach someone with an ask
…..Being a PA taught me…..hmmmm not much. But I did learn that I hated dressing smart and that being in a stuffy management consulting firm is my idea of hell!

I was also really proactive outside of work by trying new things. I signed up to all sorts of different classes and courses that took my interest – from drawing to counselling to learning about meditation. On evenings and weekends, I would volunteer my time. I volunteered at Great Ormond Street Hospital on a radio station for the kids and at challenge events supporting runners. I tried my hand at fundraising organising a big quiz. This made it easy to tailor my applications when I was looking for a new job.

My messy zig-zagged colourful CV

So here’s what my messy career looked like before I finally made my way to adventurer (I mean, portfolio careerer…..might leave that one off the bio!)

And in case you are wondering, I studied Media and Film at University. Chosen on the basis that I was obsessed with the Titanic and Jurrasic Park films, ‘director’ sounded like a cool job title and didn’t know what else to do.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The question you get asked at every school talk! The answer I give every time…..

Find a way to try everything that you absolutely love doing or have dreamed of doing. Either in work or outside in the form of signing up for courses or volunteering. And never stay in a job you hate. If you hate it now you are going to hate it, even more, a year down the line!

Do you love writing? I’m teaming up with Emma next year on a week-long writers retreat in the heart of the Pyrenees. Find out more on the event page……hope to see you there!  

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