I recently had the pleasure to be interviewed by Dominika Miernik, for her The Expat Career and Lifestyle section on http://dmcoaching.eu. Dominika is Polish and currently lives in Italy, after a decade of wandering in Europe. She is a Career and Business strategist, psychologist and coach. I hope this interview will motivate you to visit her website, read her interesting posts, and listen to her podcasts, especially to the one with me :-).
When did you find out that it was possible to create a career that you could take with you anywhere you go?
I was working in Manchester, UK at that time. I moved there with my partner for a job opportunity. The company I was working for was sold to a bigger one and I started to think about a career change. I didn’t want to end up in another 9 to 5 job but I wanted to combine my skills, my professional background in psychology, marketing and customer service and create something around my international life.
I wasn’t thinking about creating a portable career at that time; I wanted more flexibility, satisfaction and fulfilment. An email about a 2-day coaching induction course ended up in my inbox and I decided to go and attended the training. After the event I took some time to reflect on what I wanted to do, I was still the full-time employee. I took my decision and I signed up for a Diploma in Personal Performance Coaching. I decided to focus on career and expat coaching and help other expats to create a fulfilling career around their international life.
After 6 months I started my coaching journey. I quitted my job and looked for part-time and temporary assignments so I could pay my bills while building my business. I realised that I was building something portable and I was excited about that. I am so glad that we have access to all those opportunities now and we can work from wherever we want.
What did you do to develop it?
While still in Manchester, I started to attend business development courses. I had never imagined myself being self-employed and running a business but I think that living in the UK helped me to uncover this part of myself. I attended networking events. I knew that I had to develop contacts with the local and international community. I got clear about with whom I wanted to work, what could I offer to my potential clients. I did my market research, interviewed people about their challenges and problems. I set up my website and enrolled in a one-year business mentorship program. I was focused and determined to make my business work. I had and have a lot of enthusiasm about what I am doing. I invested in my personal and professional development and I took actions, every day. And then two years after I started my business we moved back to Rome (my partner is Italian) and I relocated my business here.
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of building a portable career?
The most challenging part is to understand how you can serve people using your skills, gifts and talents. I recommend to take some time to reflect on your skills and make your research before launching your idea. I was quite clear about what I wanted to do but most of my clients are not.
Making the leap can also be scary, you can ask yourself “Is this going to work”?
Developing the mindset of an entrepreneur was the most challenging part for me. As a portable career owner, you are the entrepreneur. To do so I decided to join support groups for entrepreneurs to see how they think and read many books on mindset or success stories.
How is your stay in Italy? How has this country favoured your work or inspired you as a person and a professional?
I can say that Italy will always be my second home. I’ve spent 12 years here. Ten in Rome where I attended my university and met my partner, two years in Milan where I followed my partner as he was working there at the time. I was always somehow attracted to this beautiful country and its culture. Thanks to Italy I became less strict with myself, more flexible and gentle. I am from Poland and grew up following rules. Here I found more creativity. I also love that Italian people are great communicators, even if they do not speak your language they make an effort to help you. They are naturally curious and ask you questions about your country.
In Poland I learnt how to be self-disciplined and independent, in the UK I discovered my entrepreneurial soul and in Italy, my creativity is blooming. Who knows what I will discover next? This is the beauty of living in different countries!