Career Opportunities

How To Get A Job In Your Dream City

In the words of Alicia Keys, New York City is the place dreams are made of. And for so aspiring professionals, myself included, we are willing to go anywhere to chase down a dream. Whether your ambition is to move into a swanky flat in the city or venture to the land Down Under, finding a job in your dream city is never easy. But when faced with those (seemingly) vast, job applications, you can see equally vast opportunities – and adventures. The hardest part about planning a big move is actually landing the job to make moving a reality. Here’s some tips on how to land a gig in your dream city:

Bucket list #1: Live in (insert dream city here)

Type “dream city” into Google, and you’ll be bombarded with thousands of search results. Forget everything you’ve seen on Pinterest: the sunsets, model poses with delectable eats, and creeper crowds of random people having fun in the streets. You might be down for any adventure, but it’s crucial to narrow it down to one or two of your dream cities to keep from breaking the bank.

Don’t get us wrong, we’d love to frolic along the beaches of Fiji or hit up sun, sand, and surf in Hawaii, but you need to find a winning combination. Hone in on looking for jobs in a couple cities that have both summer excursions and career advancement opportunities. If you find yourself not feeling the love, take time to regroup and come up with a new strategy. Coming up with a long-term plan with your dream city as the end goal is a good stepping stone for opening up your options.

Look into companies that have multiple offices with one being in your dream city. It may not be exactly how you want to kick off your wanderlust escape, but you’ll have the opportunity to transfer down the road.

Hunter-gatherer mindset

Upon grazing the potential job landscape, one has to use their primal instincts and connect with the herd. No, we’re not asking you to run wild into the Outback with the dingoes. One of the first steps you should take when searching for jobs in your dream city is reaching out to everyone (we mean everyone) you know who is living in the location you’re looking to move to. Sort through your LinkedIn connections to see if you know anyone who lives in the area or sign up for Google Voice phone number with the local area code. You can also hit up your college alumni association, this is a great way to remain plugged in.

Knowing someone who can connect you with a company contact, or provide you with a local address to borrow for your resume can be what you need to get to the next tier before getting an interview.

Book a ticket and just leave

At the very beginning of the job-hunting process, start saving for a travel nest egg, this chunk of change is what’s going to help you get to the last checkpoint. Schedule a trip a few months before your ideal move date and request an interview from all your job leads during the window of time you’ll be in town. By reaching out to request an interview on a specific date you might be more likely to get a response in a timely manner. Also, use your trip to scout out places to live and find new companies you may not have found through your online search. You can use MeetUp to search for events going on in the area. Getting your feet on the ground can greatly increase your chances of getting a new job title.

Don’t forget the nitty gritty details

If you’re moving within your own country, you can skip this pesky part but if you’re looking for work in an international company – you’ll need to understand their rules. In Australia it’s pretty common to ask to be hosted but not every company offers this option. This is the time to fully understand your own skills and what you can offer this company that their own citizens can’t. Go ahead and brag, this is the time when the spotlights all on you – let your inner narcissist shine. If you’re not in a rush, get those extra certifications you’ve always said you’d take, take a leadership course and brush up on your negotiation skills – you’re going to need them.

Keep moving forward

If all things go according to plan and you’ve followed some of the previous tips, we can only hope you’re packing up your life along with some snazzy new desk accessories for your new digs in a matter of a couple months. If location has been a huge barrier in your search the next step might be to bite the bullet and make the move anyway. You can always keep your items in storage if needed. This is definitely the most costly option, but you’ll be in your dream city 24/7 making it that much easier to get that job.

Throughout the process of moving also make sure to be tracking your expenses and hold on to receipts. Your employer might offer to reimburse you or you could be eligible to deduct the move as a job-related expense on your taxes, which would be the cherry on top after landing a job in your dream city!

The journey to your dream city can at times have some nightmarish obstacles, but as long as you do proper planning and stay fiercely focused you’ll be well prepared for buying that one-way ticket.

By Leah Rise, an accomplished world traveller and wolfdog charmer. She lives and breathes the balance of Search + Social every day in her dream city of Sydney, Australia. After touring over 20 countries, Leah has established her home base with seoWorks leading and developing strategies for several global clients. 

On Ya Bike: 5 Minutes With LEKKER’s Meindert Wolfraad

Meindert Wolfraad moved from Holland to Australia in 2008, travelled for four months, then grabbed some Dutch bikes and took them up and down the east coast to try and sell them, alongside the Dutch way of life where you cycle everywhere. He changed the bikes to adapt to the customer and soon he started LEKKER with one type of bike before it grew to the size it is now. He’s still a one-man band, despite views to expand to Europe and America this year. We spent 5 minutes getting to know what makes him tick and where this quirky business idea came from…

How do you come up with the idea for your business?

I was riding a Dutch bike when I arrived in Australia to study English at the University of NSW and was surprised no one else was riding these European-style bikes here. It was more casual than the BMX-type bikes I saw the Aussie uni students riding around (if at all, most caught the bus) and I saw an opportunity to bring the Dutch riding culture to Australia. It’s different, seated upright, casual and a way of transport rather than an activity, which is how Australian’s seemed to see bike riding.

Why is cycling such a great way to travel?

Oh, the list is so long! It’s healthier for you, it’s great for the environment, you can travel whenever you want – no need to wait for a bus or sit in traffic in a car, it’s more affordable because you don’t need to pay for fuel or even maintenance (and when you do need a quick bike fix, it’s cheaper. But most of all, I love the freedom. Cycling makes you happy – you have the sun on your face, the wind in your hair and you get endorphins from doing a bit of exercise. What’s not to love?

What is the best cycling trip you’ve ever done?

LEKKER Bikes are designed in the European style so that you use them for daily use. They’re meant for every day rather than long trips, and that’s the way I like to travel. However, if I had to say one trip, it would be one I did with school when I was around 13 years old. In Amsterdam we do something where we cycle for 40 kilometres with a group of 25 people – your school mates, teachers, friends – and you’re singing and screaming and yelling and just having a really fun time riding your bike; it’s the coolest. That was from Lochem to Deventer in the Netherlands.

What’s next for LEKKER?

We’re working with LOOP Cycles at Burning Man from August 25 in Nevada to hire out glow-in-the-dark bikes that are then going to be taken to Africa for use as transport for students and medical staff. LEKKER is just now opening their first store in Amsterdam and we’re so excited. It’s a bit of a boomerang – the bikes from Down Under going back to Europe with their European style of riding. Every big city in Europe having a retailer for LEKKER Bikes is our goal for the rest of the year, and the same goes for the US, where the first bikes arrive next month.

We’ve also got LEKKER Boats in Australia, which are suitable for 15 passengers and go around the Sydney harbour collecting people and giving them a fun day out on the water, as we do in the Amsterdam canals, for example.

Top Tips For Mumpreneurs Starting a Business

Starting a new business, especially as a mum, can be extremely tough. But it can also very rewarding – just ask Caroline Monet who celebrated 10 years in business this September with her company Caroline’s Skincare.

Caroline’s business came about by desperation. She had developed eczema on her hands so severe that when her daughter was born she couldn’t bathe her without excruciating pain.

“Nothing I used worked so out of necessity I developed my own cream to help ease the symptoms,” says Caroline.

Armed with aromatherapy knowledge, along and extensive research Caroline created a healing moisturiser and after months of trial and error and many experimental batches, she found a workable formula that was filled with soothing, natural ingredients.

“I was ecstatic when in 2003 my first batch of six bottles was taken by a local pharmacy,” says Caroline. She now has two manufacturers and a distributor, has won several prestigious awards, is esteemed as an expert in the industry, has broken sales records and built offices to accommodate her growth.

“I left school at 15 and modelled internationally for 20 years so to begin with I had very few business skills. I was completely computer illiterate – I honestly didn’t even know how to turn a computer on! I had no experience at all in running a business. But once again, out of necessity I learned, especially as the business grew.”

Caroline started with no working capital (she had $5,000 on a credit card and initially offered product on consignment for nearly six months) and it was at least six years before she drew earnings from the business. As demand increased it was necessary to continually pour the income back into it.

In the past 18 months her business has grown by 2000%. New outlets come on board daily, with her range now available in over 3,000 outlets Australia wide, as well as being sent overseas on a regular basis.

Caroline’s motto is “don’t let challenges stand in your way. Use setbacks to find strength, and… always believe in yourself.”

Caroline’s top tips to other mums starting a business:

1. Have a product you believe in, one that has a viable marketplace.

2. Develop good relations with suppliers and individual customers – be proactive and accountable.

3. Listen to the needs of those to whom you supply your product, be they distributors, retailers or customers – value their opinions and take their input into consideration where viable.

4. Don’t try to be too big too soon. Take the steps you can afford without going in over your head. Assess the risks when taking steps to expand your marketplace – be realistic.

5. Ask questions and be prepared to listen and learn. Network and seek out like-minded business people – don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know can you tell me” as most people are only too happy to share their knowledge and advice.

6. Building strong foundations is the key to anything lasting the distance – ‘take your time’ and focus on the micro as well as the macro.

7. Lessons learnt along the way can be difficult at the time, but it is how you respond to a crisis that can make or break you or your business – don’t make spur of the moment decisions and face setbacks strategically.

Caroline’s top marketing tips:

1. Create demand through promotional activity. If you have a story find ways to tell it – a good place to start is local publications like community newspapers that love to run local stories.

2. Be actively involved in PR – hiring a PR Consultant is one of the best things I did for my business.

3. Offer incentives to customers via your website/Facebook page. 4. Always respond to customers who contact you – one nicely written reply could lead to hundreds of new customers. 5. Enter business awards as winning awards can also be used as a powerful tool to market your brand and your business.

Do you own your own business? Tell us about it in the comments!

How to Sell on Etsy (From a Successful Etsy Seller!)

We’ve been huge fans of Etsy from the beginning, whether it be for finding unique gift ideas, or for supporting local, handmade products that you won’t find in the shops.

If you’ve ever thought of becoming an Etsy seller and sharing your crafty items with the world, read on. We chat with one of Australia’s most successful Etsy sellers, Amy Ta of Seventh Tree Soaps, to find out how she started her Etsy store, her tips on how to succeed on Etsy and her other favourite Australian Etsy stores.

When did you start Seventh Tree Soaps, and what were you doing before?
I had been floating in and out of various administration jobs over the last 15 years. Jumping from one to another, I was always unsatisfied, full of confusion and despair about what I wanted for myself and my career. In the Spring of 2012 I had become tired and weary and I hit a crossroad. It was either do nothing and go on a downward spiral or take a leap of faith and follow my dreams of running my own business and be the author of my own fate.

Opening an online soap store was an incredibly risky move. I used every waking moment to develop my idea into something that would hopefully turn into a success. I decided to open my business on New Year’s Day, a small but significant reminder for me of the possibility of chance and new beginnings.

What made you decide to start a vegan beauty business on Etsy?
I had been making vegan soaps for myself and family for a while before I opened the Etsy store. Bathing in a sea of chemicals and animal fat seems abhorrent to me.

Why are vegan products important to you?
Over the years, I have become more conscious about the cascading effects of my day to day actions on the environment. Recycling, reducing waste, consuming less animal products and greening my environment had been incorporated into my daily routine. Making the change to a more vegetable-based lifestyle was a simple and sensible choice.

What are your 3 top tips for someone thinking about selling on Etsy?
1. Think about your products as a brand and not merely individual items. Create a store that is filled with products that you love and bring together as one whole experience.

2. Photography is key. Take the time to know your camera and learn the settings. If you are dealing with smaller items, it helps to use macro settings. Your backdrop and props should also compliment but not overwhelm the hero item. Flash can be harsh and wash out colours, try to use filtered daylight as much as possible. It also helps to think about how your products fit into a prospective buyer’s life and photograph the item with these core elements in mind.

3. One of the things that I love about Etsy is that it connects people from all corners of the world. There are an abundance of people who have loved ones living across the country or world from them. Shopping for gifts online is an easy and less expensive way to send gifts of gratitude. Create an environment in your store to enable people to do this easily. i.e. offer gift wrapping options and gift sets.

Where do you get your inspiration for new products from?
I am inspired by Mother Nature. My soaps reflect the rich colours and shapes of flora and fauna. The serums and balms have been developed with family and friends in mind.  

What are your other favourite Australian Etsy stores?
Ena and Albert – gorgeous, eclectic and colourful clay jewellery.

Whimsy Milieu – whimsical, quirky and unique jewellery, homewares and prints.

Epoch Co – hard to find, unique vintage wares.

Emma Leonard Art – beautiful, feminine, evocative water colour prints and sketches.

What’s coming up next for Seventh Tree Soaps?
I am currently developing a fragrance-free and baby-friendly range of products.

Do you have an Etsy store? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Odd Jobs – Underwear Designer

Marion Turner.

Marion Turner was so sick of protruding g-strings and the proverbial ‘wedgie’ that she designed her own range of perfect hipster knickers – and all with out giving up her day job! SheSaid asks her how.

How did you come up with the idea for hipster knickers?

The idea started in Melbourne on a shopping trip with friends. While we were sitting in a cafe we noticed a girl sitting at the table across from us, a bright purple g-string protruding from her jeans. After chuckling about it and worrying that we had the same dilemma we decided that we could design and create the ultimate in comfortable, sexy and ‘hidden’ underwear ourselves.

We listed the things we hate about underwear, for example: the riding up above hipster pants, the “cut-in” from tight elastic, the infamous wedgie effect, and lacking in sexy/attractiveness verses comfort and price!

How did you turn your idea into a real product?

After a few trials, (failures included) and many friends as willing guinea pigs, I created what I think is the perfect design. I had some stretch lace in my fabric box, played around with some cuts, seams and folds, and eliminated a seam or 2 to minimise bulk.

What inspired you to take the plunge and actually do it?

I knew I could do it!

Have you had any experience in the fashion/clothing production industry? If not, how did you know what to do?

No, only what mum taught me as a kid. She encouraged me to make my own clothes and accessories, I learnt to knit and sew at an early age. I also learnt how to make a garment from a pattern and adjust the pattern to incorporate my own ideas.

What is your day job?

I work as a website builder at a new media company in Sydney and have been in the Web industry for 4 years. I am hoping to get the knickers into some boutiques and market stores next.

How did you go about marketing your product? Where can you buy your knickers?

I found word of mouth worked best. You can purchase them directly from the web site: http://www.madebymarion.com. I’m also looking at some boutiques in Newton and Paddington (NSW) to take on the range.

What’s the best part about designing, marketing and selling your product?

Coming up with the creation in the first place and all the amazing, positive comments I received about it so far.

What’s the worst?

Asking for money for something that I enjoy doing so much.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Smiling and enjoying myself.

“I’m Free … Freelancing”

Freelancing sounds like a breeze. You’re your own boss, you decide your hours and you don’t get involved in office politics? Well, sort of. Undoubtedly, more and more of us are building careers that are based on freelance or contract employment, but it isn’t all plain sailing, explains freelance writer Liz Caxton.

Not all of us are cut out to struggle up the corporate ladder. Some of us are incapable and some are perfectly capable but simply don’t want to. Years ago, my grandfather told me that nobody actually liked their job: they had to work to pay the bills. Yes, a scary fact of life, but one that I’ve never really wholly subscribed to. Working in a well-paid, but dreadful job to live is a desperate way to spend your life, as far as I’m concerned! I would much rather earn less, but feel as if I had some control over my own life. Still, that’s just me. Hence, there’s no Rolex on my wrist and Merc in my garage.

Successful Freelancer = Successful Networker

While freelancing is by no means perfect, it can offer a career unparalleled in the non-freelancing workforce. Within reason you can decide the hours you work, you are very nearly your own boss and can easily body-swerve any office politics. There is, however, one very important factor in successful freelancing: you must be able to sell yourself and what you do and you must be able to network your pants off.

Freelancing can be on a short or long term basis. Some industries, most commonly the IT industry, tend to refer to this type of arrangement as ‘contracting’. Skilled technicians are employed for a set period to obtain a specific goal. From an employer’s point of view it works well: no sick pay, no holiday pay and no skills training to fork out for.

Who Freelances?

In an ideal world we could all sashay in and out of assignments on a freelance basis, but unfortunately this isn’t an ideal world. Whilst the areas of freelance possibility are increasing, some professions are more suited to freelance work than others.


Designers, (graphic, textile, product, etc)

Editorial types (writers, journalists, editors, proof-readers, etc)

Nurses and most health care workers

IT specialists (particularly those with skills in networking, e-commerce, programmers, help-desk)

Hospitality/Tourism workers (tour guides, waiting staff, customer service, bar staff, etc)

Teachers, both school and TAFE teachers

Musicians and singers (session and teaching)

Artists (cartoonists, illustrators, graphic, etc)

Fitness/gym instructors and sports coaches

Counting the Dollars

For the past three years Claire Webster has worked as a freelance graphic designer. “As a freelancer you can usually demand a higher hourly rate than your full-time counterpart, but with your higher rate goes the assumption that you will require minimal ‘settling in’ time. You must be able to slot in and get on with the job within the minimum of disruption to the team around you,” warns Webster. “To remain employable you must keep your skills up-to-date and relevant.”

If you have ‘incorporated’ your own company through which you are paid, then your employer/client will settle your fees as a gross amount. You will then be responsible for making all the legally-required deductions. However, as many freelancers don’t run their own incorporated businesses, employers will deduct tax from a freelancer’s gross and make the legal superannuation contributions on their behalf.

The main benefit of running your own incorporated company versus freelancing as ‘yourself’ basically comes down to the level of tax you pay. Corporation tax being currently below the highest rate of personal tax. However, with shift towards freelance and contract work, the Treasury has recently released guidelines that state that if more than 80% of your total income is derived from one organisation you may have to pay tax at the highest personal rate. Speak to your accountant to determine which business model suits your situation best.

Legally Speaking …

Most freelancers work outside the award system and so are not covered by current employment legislation. “To ensure that you get what you originally discussed, insist upon a signed contract with your client,” advises freelance copywriter Jill Carpenter. “To save on precious funds, I got a basic ‘template’ contract drawn up with a lawyer when I started freelancing, which I adapt for each assignment I undertake.”

This document should clearly define what is expected of you and of your client, and should include your payment terms. Getting paid can be one of the toughest aspects of freelancing! Some freelancers have even been known to employ debt collectors on their behalf to collect what’s owed, but don’t let that put you off – it’s only money after all!

Manage Your Money

Financial management is an important part of freelancing. As soon as you quit your full-time job you also quit your regular pay cheque. In the initial period of freelancing, you must be able to survive financially assuming you have very little work on – or that you haven’t been paid yet for work you have done. Carpenter has been freelancing now for a little over three years: “Initially I wasn’t prepared for the enormous swings in my bank balance,” recalls Carpenter. “But after eight months or so, it began to level out – thankfully!”

In addition to giving up a regular pay cheque you have also given up your sick pay entitlement. Now, nobody ever thinks they’re going to get sick, but there are times when it happens. Prepare in advance for the eventuality by regularly putting some money away to cover your lost income.

Income protection is another aspect of financial management you should seriously consider when freelancing, talk to a financial adviser about how best to protect yourself financially.

It’s not all news bad on the finance front though; freelancing often enables you to claim expenses you can’t as a full-time employee. You may be able to claim part of your rent, your phone and power bills and travel if your office is at home. Unfortunately, the Tax Office will require detailed logs of your expenses before they will allow a claim.

“Meet with an accountant before you start freelancing to find out exactly what records you should keep,” Webster advises. “In my first year of freelancing I left it until ‘tax time’ and was told I couldn’t claim for certain things because I hadn’t kept sufficient records. I put it down to experience, but now I make sure it can never happen again!”

So, freelancing is not exactly a breeze, but it can offer a very satisfying career. Sure, you have little job security, your workload is unpredictable and you have to be vigilant with your record keeping. But on the bright side you get to ‘walk in and walk out’ without the inherent stress that goes with many full-time positions. You have a greater control over how you spend your days – which to us corporate ‘opted-outers’ is the biggest bonus! You don’t have to get weighted down with office politics. And finally, if you’re really good at what you do and make sure everyone knows it, you could earn significantly more than your full-time counterparts.