Doing the above, led me to my freelancing career. They helped me create and test a successful career-change process that’s at the heart of how I now work with my clients.
There’s a balance of heart and head in this process and a good measure of gut feel. Here’s what I did to switch trajectories.
I listed what most mattered to me at work. My must-haves included designing, what I was passionate about. In addition to this, working in-depth with a small number of people who are easy to work around and have a laugh with appeared. I love branding, I knew to cross over to the digital side while the print world was being taken over with the digital boom occurring and I wanted to continually learn new things and be challenged. These things matched my personality type; - ENFJs, and (amongst other things) lead me to meeting the perfect clients.
I asked myself, “why this and not that?” Analysing my list revealed my five hottest interest areas – fashion, fitness, travel, food and music. I needed a career that matched my must-haves and satisfied my insatiable curiosity about what makes us tick.
I needed to explore my options for a freelance career and the clients in my key interest areas. I knew this meant emerging from the virtual rabbit hole I’d dug by “asking Google”. So I shelved my fear of looking foolish and got out there! I drank coffee with all kinds of open, generous and supportive people. They led me to brilliant personal insights. I gained broad, current knowledge on sectors, organisations and roles. I made new contacts, grew my networks and landed myself some great opportunities.
I kept listening to how I felt about things. Some conversations left me lost, while others made me buzz with energy. Based on gut reaction, I reflected on what did or didn’t resonate with me. What made me want to run a mile from one client or design agency, or run home to hunt my next contact with another?
Getting emotional support early made a world of difference. I chose a good friend who is also a really positive upbeat person. We don’t live in the same city but we talked every few weeks. We celebrated wins of all sizes and she encouraged me to keep going when I got confused and frustrated.
I spent a lot of my early career change journey feeling totally at sea with my head awash with ideas. My mentor had been there and done it, so kindly helped me to figure things out. She helped me structure the process and work out what came next. She was a great sounding board and an expert guide during my many ups and downs.