Inspiring stories: The power of pivoting job roles Part II
Written by India Johnson
For Part I in our series on pivoting job roles, head here.
It’s clear that a shift in attitude towards our working lives has been well under way for some time now. There’s been more than a murmur of desire for a more flexible, more fulfilling kind of career among professionals for the past few years at least.
It’s undeniable that the pandemic has catalysed a dramatic change in this respect, for both employers and employees. One study shows that the freelancing industry is likely to experience a serious growth-spurt as a knock-on effect of the pandemic. And this isn’t only to do with people pivoting their skill sets in a time of redundancies, reflection and soul-searching, either. It’s also to do with businesses needing to get efficient with how they pay for top talent.
All of this makes for a really interesting time to be living in – a pivotal moment in time, you might even say. It’s a topic that’s close to our hearts at Finmo – our platform helps people running all kinds of side jobs, freelance gigs and businesses handle their taxes with confidence.
In this series, we’ve worked with our partner Underpinned to interview four professionals who’ve recently reassessed their wants, needs and skills in order to pivot towards a career that feels more right for them.
The two we speak to in this piece have something in common, in that they’ve both made a move towards coaching others. This can’t help but feel like a sign of the times, with the freelancer community pulling together now more than ever.
Hearing from the professionals who’ve successfully pivoted
In Part II of this series, we chat to Maxine and Kelly. Here are their stories:
Seeking flexibility and fulfilment: Maxine’s story
Maxine was working an internship in a role that saw her performing a range of media-related tasks before she made the move into freelancing.
It was the relatively undefined nature of that internship role that left Maxine feeling unfulfilled. Having to flit between social media tasks and copywriting, for example, led her to realise that it was the writing she really loved – but wasn’t getting enough of.
She also – like so many others – had the desire for a more flexible way of life; for a freer, more fulfilling approach to work in general. But it wasn’t as clear-cut as just jumping ship overnight into the world of being self-employed.
“My journey as a freelancer began quite progressively,” Maxine explains. “It wasn’t something I intended to do initially. I came across a freelance client through a Facebook group, and this then became a contracted retainer client for a year. Through this, I was able to look for other freelance work. Thankfully I was able to find more retainer clients to create a freelance business and lifestyle.”
And it’s this sought-after ‘freelance lifestyle’ that’s proving so appealing as we collectively move away from more traditional styles of working. One recent study shows that 92% of millennials identify flexibility as a key factor in job hunting. And another indicated that a third of all UK employees would rather have more flexible working than a pay rise.
“Becoming a freelancer has definitely been a benefit for me personally,” Maxine tells us. “I love the flexibility it offers!”
The flexibility Maxine has found is about more than just working hours, too. Through leaving her full-time internship, she was able to discover what really mattered to her from a career-fulfilment point of view. She now had the time and freedom needed to focus her skills on the areas she felt most passionate about.
“I think I’ve definitely found my niche in black hair and culture,” She tells us. “I also have a blog dedicated to helping freelance creatives build their business and lifestyle. I look forward to growing this platform, too, alongside my freelancing.”
Maxine talks about how, in those early ‘pivoting days’ it was the minority freelance community that really gave her the support and confidence she needed to make the change.
After that, it was all about being self-motivated, and being committed to making a better work-life balance for herself. When offering advice to others who are thinking about pivoting job roles, Maxine says it’s these two things that really count.
Finding a path as a changemaker: Kelly’s story
Kelly is a self-confessed tenacious and career-driven marketer, who’s been developing and executing marketing strategies for over seven years. She currently works as a marketing manager overseeing the European market for a global SaaS company full-time, but two years ago had a life-changing moment, and was given the opportunity to re-write her story and make an impact outside of her corporate role.
It was then that she decided to make a change. And so she set about researching how to start her own business as a career success coach to under-represented groups – in particular, professional Latinas living in Europe. This decision didn’t come out of the blue, but was more of a natural progression from the kind of work and world Kelly was already deeply passionate about.
“As an advocate for women and underrepresented groups empowerment, I have been involved in different organisations as a board member and also do some pro bono work as marketer and business consultant,” she tells us.
“Living 100% my mantra, “Be the change you want to see in the world”, when the pandemic hit I decided to go further in my life purpose as a changemaker and invested my commuting time to get my own business up and running,” Kelly tells us. It’s an inspiring story and one that reflects one of the more positive knock-on effects to come out of the pandemic.
“Now more than ever, I see the need in the market to empower our core selves to face this new reality and go for new opportunities,” Kelly goes on to explain. “I have been able to pivot my passion project into a business that has a social purpose and ties into my [core values] to empower women and under-represented groups to take their careers to the next level.”
Now, as a career success coach, mentor, and facilitator, Kelly works with young and mid-career professionals in “helping them to reach personal goals and avoid burnout by innovation, empowerment and development of skills”. She wants to help people who are in the situation she was in her twenties.
It’s impressive work to be doing on the side of a full-time job.
“It has been an intensive journey but worthwhile,” Kelly says. She goes on to describe how it’s priceless to get positive feedback from people who she’s genuinely helped to “live their life in a meaningful and fulfilling way.”
Of course, there have been challenges too.
“It’s been hard to find a balance from day one,” Kelly tells us about the struggle of making her business sustainable. “However, you get better at organisation – you have to manage your schedule to make the most out of your evenings and weekends to work with clients.”
Finally, Kelly advises, making a change like this is all about trusting your gut feeling. And about being open-minded too – she herself talks about having to expand her view to “see the world in a more holistic way”.
Our chat with Kelly finishes on a powerful note, who confirms with flair that:
“As a changemaker you have to be open to pivoting in your life. The more flexible you can be, the better.” We couldn’t agree more.
We’d like to say a huge thanks to all four professionals who were involved in this series. Thanks to them, we were able to gain a real insight into what drives people to pivot their careers. A few common themes have definitely arisen throughout this process – among them the desire for a more flexible way of working, a drive to help others, and an inspiring determination to get enjoyment out of work.
If others watch and learn from people like Dom, Lucy, Maxine and Kelly, it seems the future of work is bright.
A big thanks to UnderPinned for supporting us in writing this piece:
UnderPinned is an online platform that gives you everything you need to stay productive and keep your freelance business thriving, from the pitching stage right through to payments. Their aim is simply to make life easier and better for freelancers, while championing creatives doing amazing work.
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