- Build up a portfolio. I signed up to Pathbrite and linked my various portfolios to the positions on my LinkedIn profile. Saying you have done something is one thing, but providing evidence – especially visual – is another. (And if anything provides some fond memories such as when I used to put hashtags on the end of words).
- Start a website or a blog, and keep it maintained. Everyone will tell you that blogging is a saturated market blah blah but in a world where personal brands are everything, you need to find a way to not only represent yourself on a reliable platform (MySpace who?), but to also learn to build a basic website. An invaluable skill these days.
- Take on voluntary roles and keep practicing. Use any opportunity until you know you have the portfolio to start being paid. We all *think* we know what social media marketing is but until you’ve practiced with a real life community/project/business you will not know that it is a whole other ball game from simply updating my facebook status and sending the odd tweet about your holiday.
So, I have a little secret.
In June 2016, I was finishing off my first job out of university, and was thinking about my next steps. Six months beforehand, my team had had training on thinking of our five year plan. I was headed straight into an internship after that job. I wasn’t panicking.
Had I hoped to know what I wanted to do by then? Well, duh. Growing up in a society that is asking you from the age of six to pick what you want to do. To know your path inch by inch by the time you leave school. Or growing up with my Gramps. Who would freak out if I couldn’t give him a solid answer at 14 or 23. There used to be a couple of occasions where I would make things up just to ease his mind.
I half wish I hadn’t been so hasty to throw away my five year plan map. Because I remember putting that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and the owner of my own company. To travel and work. To be a girl boss. (But I can’t remember the dots that connected them! Gah!).
Either way, I was sat in one of the university cafes in July 2016, doing some work. Thinking about what I was going to do next. And all I could think about was this idea of becoming an entrepreneur. But I also wanted to write. I’ve always wanted to write. I filled up so many notebooks as a child.
I did some research on “the next steps” to becoming an entrepreneur. But there was nothing to read. It was all people who had ‘made it’ or were at least twenty years older than me. Not so relatable.
In that moment I decided – and to quote Emma Watson – “if not me, then who?” I will write about my path to entrepreneurship. I don’t know what it looks like. But does anyone when they begin?
With that one thought, began other thoughts. Like, how did I wish my life looked?
I live in London with access, connections and resources to make a business happen. I have complete financial and mental freedom to fully create a business and a legacy. To contribute to society and add value. To inspire others to live their dreams. If I can do it, you can too.
January 2018: I did it.
February 2018: I am sat in Hoxton Hotel, Shoreditch. A favourite haunt of mine to write and create. It has one of those vibes. It’s just slightly off-beat from the rest of London.
I went out for dinner this week in Soho and didn’t worry about it. I got a manicure at work and a haircut in the same week. Just because I can. I booked flights to go to Spain and Paris.
After a year and a half of hustle, tenacity and belief, I have made the dream happen.
I live in central London, a city of major access and connections. I work in a job I not only enjoy but also gives me financial freedom and the resources to pursue the creative value I want to give. I am at total mental and physical ease.
I used to wake up in the morning with so many limiting beliefs. I don’t have time. I don’t have money. I’m not fabulous enough. I can’t get stuck in now when I have x, y and z to do.
This morning I eased myself into the day with beautiful, inspiring books. A cup of coffee in one hand. Looking around my room, I realised I was sat in the true dream I had wanted for myself all along.
So now what?
We’re very driven by end goals are we not?
Once I have x, I will be happy. Once I’ve done y, I’ll rest and see friends again.
A couple of people have told me to stop and just simply enjoy what I have for a little bit before I dive into the next goal. To enjoy the journey.
And that’s when I got ill. As my body relaxed into the realisation of security again, I ended up sick. Obvs. Because I needed some actual sleep. There’s only so long you can go on adrenaline.
The first couple of weeks of my new job, I learned, and I went home to rest. For once I kept my routine simple. Human.
I don’t know about you though, but after two days solid of flu-y sleep and looking at the same four walls. Unable to move. I got bored and genuinely missed being creative.
It was confusing. Going from working 8am-9pm Monday-Friday to being able to leave work at work after 5:30pm. Going home and being able to do whatever I actually wanted to do with my own time. I no longer have to spend it looking for more work/doing extra work.
I can watch Netflix. Go for fancy dinners. Sleep.
The thing is though, once you know what you are truly capable of however. The idea of doing nothing with your spare time feels simply farfetched. When you know how effectively you can spend your time. It seems silly to waste it. Life is too short and all that. Why not make it count!?
So basically, where my goal was work towards the job of my dreams in the industry of my dreams. Tick! Live in London. Tick! I am now working towards entrepreneurship. Real entrepreneurship. The I am creating a business and giving back kind of entrepreneurship. Not just calling myself a founder of a one-off movement – even though it provided me with an idea of what I wanted to offer people.
I will still be living in London, but I want to look wider. South America to be specific. You may have noticed I have a small obsession.
I want to see what I am really capable of when it comes to pushing boundaries. How far can a human really go.
Picture this, running from London spot to London spot. Meetings, lunches, after-work drinks. Life stops for no one. You need to have your basics down.
*I’m writing this during the one lunch time I have to myself this week while wolfing down an Itsu pot. I love this life! But it doesn’t just, happen.
1. “Work” lipstick. This is the one lipstick you only ever wear at, you guessed it, work. It never leaves the pocket of your bag because topping up during the work week is necessary. Whether it’s for an important cross-department meeting or a basic after-lunch top up. My go-to at the moment is “Mulberry” from the No7 Boots range.
2. Spare shoes. You were not meant to live your life literally on your toes. Always have a spare pair of flats/tennis shoes for when you aren’t in the office. I know my knees are happier for it. Personally I’m in love with my black Nike Lifestyles at the moment.
3. Hand cream. I don’t know about you, but I forsake gloves a lot during the week so that I can check my phone when out and about. Or think about the harsh soaps that usually haunt office bathrooms. Your hands have to put up with a lot in this cold. They need to be looked after! I am loving the Urban Veda Sandalwood at the moment.
Bonus: a decent-sized tote bag for your daily stuff. The lunch box, the tube book, the make up, the shoes, the cute top for Thursday Drinks. You have a lot to carry in a day but that doesn’t mean you have to look like a cart horse carrying it. Invest in a decent sized tote bag or satchel so you can feel great carrying your load. If you want to go a step further, think consciously and go for a leather alternative. I am in love with my new vegan leather red tote from Matt & Natt.
And there you have it, simple steps that keep you looking and feeling profesh while juggling your busy life.
Is there anything you would add?
A couple of weeks ago I asked what content you would like to see more of, and one thing that came up was confidence at work. Which got me to thinking, because confidence is like a muscle. There is no magic trick or pill that you can take. Confidence is something you have to build on. And trust me it also doesn’t just “stick” one day either. You will have to remind yourself to be confident.
Whether it’s the confidence to speak up in meetings, the confidence to ask for a promotion or the confidence to quit and/or pursue your dreams. It won’t ever not be at least a little bit scary. However take on your fear once, and then twice and it gets easier. How? Here are a couple of ways:
1. Know what you want and why. Confidence comes from being sound and sure in your mind of your outcome and your cause. Or as I’ve previously mentioned, your mission. Be strong in what you are going for and do not back down.
2. Do not (I repeat, absolutely do not!) wait until “you are ready”. In fact take action before “you are ready.” We are still wired like our cavemen selves to be fearful of stepping into the unknown outside the cave for fear of being eaten by a mountain lion. But we don’t have to deal with that anymore! We are hard wired to be cautious of the unknown. Wait until you are ready and it may not happen. Or, someone else will do it in your place. The classic example used in self-help and business books is the person who has a great idea in a board meeting but is too scared to put their hand up for fear of being laughed at. Person to their left says it instead and they get a promotion. “Being ready” (in a work sense) is your mind’s way of keeping you safe in the cave. Don’t wait! Don’t hesitate: go for it!
3. Fake it ’til you make it. Well if you can’t wait until you’re ready, then you have to fake it to an extent right? Stand tall, shoulders back. Smile widely. Shake hands firmly. Reach that hand high. Put on that suit that makes you feel like a billionaire or the red lipstick that makes you feel powerful. 80% is in the “can-do” attitude.
Bonus: if you’re having an “off-day”, keep putting one foot in front of the other anyway! Send that email, finish that content draft, fill out that form. You are human at the end of the day, and you are allowed a low day. But don’t stop. Sending that one email will feel enough to get you back on track again.
And if you’re ever really stuck, talk to someone about it. I message my family, knock on my housemate’s door or pick up the little journal I bought as part of a 28 day business challenge and write everything into there – but I don’t ever read it back! No time for dwelling!
No one you think you can talk to? You know where to find me! Let’s chat!
What other advice would you give?
One thing I see constantly on Twitter and I am asked about a fair bit is: how I manage a blog and a full time job.
I see tweets from bloggers who have gone from having lots of time as a student to finding a balance in full time work or full time workers who are astounded that people with ‘office jobs’ have the time. Several colleagues in my previous roles have been astounded I have time or energy to go home and work on my blog. But I do, and it’s not as difficult as we like to make these things in our heads. It is actually fairly easy by following these simple steps:
- Planning. Planning your blog into your week is as essential as planning for dinners out and the gym. Plan a regular time you are going to post your blogs and plan the time to write said posts. Yes, it is really that simple.
- Remember your why. Why was your blog so important that you began it in the first place? If it is enough of a passion of yours, you will consciously make time for it. If it was simply a way for you to pass the time as a student or during a time when you thought you had more time, then that is totally ok! But stop beating yourself up because it doesn’t work in your life anymore.
- Drill the first two points into your head and remember that it is ok if you occasionally slip up/miss a post.
The key thing to takeaway from this post is that we make time for the things that matter to us. You can either make a song and dance out of ‘having no time’ or you can simply get on with it – again, if it matters that much to you.
I know I have pushed boundaries when I have wanted to. Whether this is writing a post in lunch breaks or staying up later to edit a video and answer comments because it mattered to me enough.
And if I can do it, then you most certainly can too.
Ready to take on something big this year?
“You can choose your dream or you can choose your fear. It’s up to you!”
You don’t need me to tell you that the blogging industry has changed dramatically. YouTubers are higher regarded than celebrities. Marketeers will be turning to influencers even more in 2018.
The issue I have with this however, is that there is no authenticity in this. And, it overshadows from those who create personal brands for their creative passion and/or to make a difference to others.
Which is why I stopped referring to my content by a niche. I am not a travel blogger, although I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love it. I am not a lifestyle blogger, but I of course have a lifestyle.
After four and a half years in and out of the game. A game I just couldn’t leave. I’ve got it. I write because I want to contribute. I blog because I want to find some meaningful. I create because I want to explore.
This is where my mission comes in.
I mention it a fair bit. My mission. I mention it often because it is what keeps me going. Gets me up in the morning. It is my outcome from blogging and content creating. And I honestly do not believe that a content creator/influencer can survive anymore without one.
My mission is to inspire people to live their dreams.
This is how you can figure out your mission (you may want something to note these things down):
- What matters to you most in life? Think about your hobbies, your loves, your people in your life.
Key things for me are: writing, living well and travel. Friends, family and community.
- Think about your legacy. How do you want to make a difference in the world? When I say “world” this can be simply within your community, because that is your world.
Personally, I want to be an example of what is possible despite circumstances and past experiences, and I always wanted to create an impact further afield than my hometown. We are all different, and it is all just as effective!
- What can you offer to others? Do you have any talents or skills that you could add value to others?
I thought about my personality strengths as well as qualifications and skills I have built up.
- Think of the emotional impression you want to leave the other person with. The feeling you want to leave them with.
This is a key part of a mission that a niche does not quite offer. We are beings that run on emotion, and as such it is a fantastic thing to work with! Personally my key word was to inspire.
- Construct this into one sentence. A declaration. It must light you up so that when you are having an off day, it will set you back on track. Keep it simple.
Mine needed a couple of revisions from the likes of “to inspire men and women to fulfil their dreams and wishes”.
Now I highly recommend using this next time you network or someone asks about your personal brand.
My introduction has gone from “My name is Han Talbot and I am a lifestyle blogger” to “My name is Han Talbot and I am a London lifestyle blogger” to finally sit at “My name is Han Talbot and I am a London lifestyle blogger inspiring others to live their dreams.”
You resonated strongest with the final one, right? It explains more or less exactly what I am about. And this line creates questions for the other person to ask about you.
So give it a go! And let me know how you got on!
Note: your mission cannot be to find your mission. As all you will be doing your entire life is searching, which sounds painful. You know what your mission is, and it is perfectly ok if it evolves or changes at any given point as you figure out what drives you.
Also, a mission to figure out what the purpose of life is, is not allowed. The purpose of life is whatever you choose it to be.
Have fun, and keep growing!
Educational sums up 2017 for me.
I can very safely say that I am not the person I was on the first of January 2017.
From sleeping on my friends’ sofa beds to living back at my mum’s to finding a house in London. From no direction to take job-wise, to offers spilling in. From hopeless singleton to comfortable in myself.
Educational is the only way I can describe this year. I have learned so much about what I am capable of and what I can achieve when put to the test. Built on my skills and created even more experiences than I could have dreamed of at this point in my life.
I learned from my mistakes, from feedback, from throwing my nose in a book every spare second I could grasp. I completed a seven month leadership course and took on every exercise, to learn just how much I really can do in 24 hours, seven days a week. I went to panels, I networked, I connected.
And that is one of the biggest things I have taken from 2017. That as soon as my life feels too comfortable and safe, to take a sledgehammer to it and take on learning something new. A new experience. A new adventure.
I have lived by: “without challenge, there is no adventure” since I was fourteen and this will continue to be how I live in 2018.
The one word I will be taking into 2018 with me will be: belief. Belief that anything I want to do, I can. There is no right answer, there is only what I believe to be the best adventure for me at the time.
Which word sums up 2017 for you?
January has become a month of misery for people. Guilty from the so called overindulgence, for some reason many dread the first month of the calendar year.
As if human beings didn’t like to torture or sabotage themselves enough, January has now been dubbed a boring month as society punishes itself by not doing fun things ‘to save money’ or eat less/stop drinking/go to the gym to ‘get healthier’. When actually, January is a very big opportunity.
Rather than going into the new year with a grey cloud over your head, why not take on a couple of these things to begin 2018 fresh and clear-headed?
Here are five ways for you to prepare for the new year in an empowering way:
- Sort your life out.
*Clear out your wardrobe of clothes that don’t fit or you haven’t touched in a year. Take the clothes to a charity shop or sell them. It is never a nice feeling to look at things you can no longer wear or wish you could. Holding on to things ‘for sentimental value’ or ‘the memories’ won’t work either: get rid of it!
*Clear out your house. I’m talking bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room, attic and even the garden. Create your space as welcoming, peaceful and comfortable. A space of inspiration.
- Digital declutter. Complete or delete.
*Emails: leave nothing in your inbox unless it’s an Eventbrite ticket for an event or travel ticket. Read all of the ‘I’ll read that laters’. Answer all unresponded correspondence and confirm those appointments. If you want to be efficient, then put out those enquiry emails about PT sessions/creative classes/events.
*Social media declutter. Pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t use the account, delete it. Even those digital projects you created separate handles for: delete them unless you seriously need them for your portfolio. The less unnecessary notifications you have coming in the better. Similarly, those people from school or university that you haven’t spoken to since graduation: unfriend or unfollow because you do not need that comparisonitis feeling. They are on their path, you are on yours. Likewise, if there are accounts you follow for inspiration that no longer inspire you, then unfollow them and find new inspiration.
*Finish those projects or bury them. Similar to the last point, either edit those videos or blog posts and publish them, or delete them and be done with them. You do not need past projects left undone and weighing over you, stopping you moving forward. Personally, I have turned my old videos into a ‘Han Meets World Rewind’ that I will be releasing each day this week.
- Take action.
*Buy a notepad/diary, write down the things you want to achieve, and begin. Break them down where necessary and write them into specific days so you feel less overwhelmed. Schedule that content. Send that reply. Keep moving. If you need it, keep your favourite motivational affirmations close or remember your mission.
Complete all of this by January 31st, and you can begin your 2018 with a clear head!
Clear and ready to take on something big.
How did you get on?
While in theory Christmas is “a swell time to go riding in a one horse slay”, emotionally it feels tough.
We need a little push, a friendly nudge to keep our spirits up. And while not particularly Christmas themed – and mentioned a couple of times in my Instagram and Twitter posts, these three books are my heroes that helped to get through the season.
1. “She Means Business” by Carrie Green. There are a lot of jargony books about business, but this is fortunately not one of them. Like talking to a gal pal over coffee, Green lays out everything you need to know in a clear and unintimidating manner. Reading this solely on tube journeys, I finished this book within two weeks and then completed her 28 day challenge at the end of it.
2. “#GirlBoss” by Sophia Amuroso. By now a staple of any boss lady’s book shelf. Personally I don’t agree with everything Amuroso writes about, but it’s a useful foundational read for anyone just breaking into business or starting their career.
3. “Becoming” by Laura Jane Williams. Having read “Ice Cream For Breakfast” In the summer, I couldn’t wait to read “Becoming”. A shocker and a tickler, I love Williams’ no nonsense, tell it like it is attitude. A positive reinforcement that no anecdote is too daring or shocking and everyone’s journeys are different.
So which one will you pick first?
This whole blog, website, personal brand, was born from the mission to inspire others to live their dreams. To demonstrate that whatever you choose to put your mind to is possible with a little action and tenacity.
While the desire to deliver this to you, dear readers, has been the fuel to the tank of this winding journey, there is one – or several really – things I have never made very abundantly clear to you.
That one or several things are: my dream/s.
Yes, I can lead by the example of making my own dreams happen, but surely I need some sort of dream of my own to work toward too?! And for that, I apologise for never really sharing that with you. So here it is:
June 2016: when I purchased the URL for this blog, my dream was to pursue an entrepreneurial career that I could feel empowered by. Become my own #GirlBoss living in London and be financially free. In the process I wanted to document each step to demonstrate that their dream was just as much in reach as mine.
December 2016: my dream for 2017 was to be living and paying rent in London where I was able to pursue blogging properly and have adventures every weekend.
I had hoped to have published a book by the end of 2017 and been a speaker at Stylist Live 2017 as well. Neither of these happened, but there is a book draft and there is a little thing called email…
To be honest, last year I didn’t really ask for much because what I had written seemed pretty huge to me at the time.
One year later, I’m honestly laughing. I was not thinking big enough, of what I am actually capable of!
It has been one heck of year, and somehow another one is almost at a close. The London Life became a reality. Something many can only dream of. So what next?
I am declaring that I will make the following dreams come true:
- I will publish the book draft – and throw an awesome launch party.
- I will be asked to speak on five panels.
- I will travel to Bali and Argentina.
- I will purchase my first (ethical and cruelty-free) designer piece.
Setting the bar high – and declaring it to you guys – makes me nervously excited and actually likely to make it happen. Bring it on!
How high will you set the bar for yourself?