How I got a portfolio career

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Last year when I was exploring what I wanted to do next in my career I met with a careers advisor who suggested a ‘portfolio career’ might be the direction to go.

I wasn’t entirely sure what a portfolio career was and how you approached getting one but looking back over the past 12 months of self-employment I now know.

It’s happened by stealth rather than design, people asking me if I can take on certain work.

My ‘portfolio’ of work to date covers a lot that is obvious but also many areas I hadn’t initially considered as a freelance:

• Content writing

• Copywriting

• Ideas generation/content strategy

Continue reading “How I got a portfolio career”

The accidental freelancer: Thoughts on my first year of self-employment

MIPIM 2019 - CONFERENCES - UK: REGENERATION & WATERFRONT DEVELOPMENTSIt’s coming up to a year since I started out as a freelance and what a career change it has been.

I say started out, I’m more of an accidental freelancer as when I left property magazine Estates Gazette after 20 years, my plan was to take my time exploring different options and ideas before deciding which direction to go, but I’ll come onto that.

My time as a property journalist and features editor taught me lots of things not least that the best time to catch people in the industry is either before 8.30am or after 5.30pm.

Starting out

When I started out we didn’t have laptops and there was one brick-like mobile phone to share on the features desk. If you were lucky enough to get use of the mobile you soon learnt that it never actually worked.

It was the days of long, often boozy lunches and Friday afternoons in the pub (remember those?).

The lack of technology made working life less agile and less productive but in some small way, I do miss those days of being able to get on a train to go somewhere for work and just read the paper.

Fundamental changes to journalism

Mobile phones, digital and social media fundamentally changed ‘storytelling’ and the dissemination of information. It also changed the way journalists interact with their readers.

My skill set broadened considerably. I went from writing and editing for a print publication to a canvas which included digital editions, web content, infographics, podcasts, video, Twitter and Instagram.

The evolution was exciting and exhilarating.

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New Year’s resolutions

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I’ve never been one for setting New Year resolutions which limit or restrict, instead, I’d rather draw up a list of things I want to do more of – spending time with friends, for example.

This is my first New Year in business so the temptation is to come up with a huge list of goals but one thing I’ve learned in the past seven months is that it is something that needs to be reviewed regularly.

I started using a Trello board for keeping tabs on ideas and leads which I’m constantly updating and adding to.

In those moments when things feel like they aren’t moving the way I want, I’ll scan through to see where I’ve come from, what I’ve already achieved and take inspiration from the ideas and leads.

So this (short) list is part resolution, part well-being reminder and part motivator, all of which will no doubt have wider benefits.

1. Blog regularly on my website

This isn’t purely because it’s good for profile and SEO but because I really enjoy writing, which is why it is a big part of my work. Continue reading “New Year’s resolutions”

Fledgeling freelancer – reflections on the first months of self-employment

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When I left my journalism job of 20 years in March all I had was a bunch of ideas and a financial cushion which meant I didn’t need to worry about the mortgage for a while.

I didn’t know whether I wanted another full-time job or to freelance – and freelance as what?

What I did know is that I wanted new challenges.

Friends told me to take my time, try stuff out and see where it led.

What does ‘exploring options’ mean?

You hear people saying they spent time ‘exploring options’ but I never really understood what that meant in practice.

However, I found that my days quickly filled up meeting contacts and former colleagues, researching, reading and going on courses to enhance my existing skills and learn some new ones.

Continue reading “Fledgeling freelancer – reflections on the first months of self-employment”