Career-change

How I Became A Phone Sex Worker (And Why I Love What I Do)

I wanted a career change, and a career change was what I got.

September 22, 2016

How Self-Belief Can Help You Achieve Your Career Goals

Are you stuck in a rut in a job you despise and/or suffering under a moronic, lazy boss who is literally sucking the life out of you? Are you half expecting to wake up with a grey patch in your hair from all the stress?

If you answered yes, you might need to find your self-belief fast, sister, in order to take a leap of faith and achieve your full careers potential.

RELATED: “My best Ever Career Advice!”

When *Sally, 35, (not her real name) was retrenched from a major media company, she felt sick to her stomach, shocked and utterly lost. What’s more, her former bosses were anything but enthusiastic about her unique skills set, so her self-esteem also took a giant hit.

But as the weeks ticked by and Sally regained her inner strength, composure and sense of humour, she realised being made redundant was actually the best thing to have happened to her in ages. She was bitterly unhappy in her job anyway, detested her misogynistic, bullying middle-manager bosses and felt she’d never really reached her full potential. Redundancy was just the push she needed to achieve her goals.

So, never doubting her abilities, she realised she could now look forward to the future with hope and bag that exciting, new career. She started applying for jobs, and mere weeks later, Sally landed a dream marketing position at a major property firm, thereby doubling her annual salary.

This is a true story, with only the person’s name changed to protect their privacy.

career advice, career goals, self-belief

Psychologists say self-belief is vital in achieving our career goals in 2015 and living our best life, with passion and gusto.

Why? Because if you truly believe in yourself and that you can achieve what you set out to do – ala Sally – you will have the motivation to move forward to achieve your goals and the determination to overcome whatever obstacles stand in your way. Conversely, if you don’t believe in your ability to achieve, you’ll give up when the first hurdle arises or worse – you won’t get started at all.

What’s more, calculated risks can really pay off, just like Sally’s, and really help you achieve your goals.

But, of course, with great change comes unease. It can take a lot of courage to embrace change because it’s often challenging to move out of our comfort zone, but for many, it has proven to be well worth the effort.

Before embarking on a new career, job experts say to carefully research your options and think about what you really love doing – find a job that excites you. And, if like Sally, you’ve encountered some “haters” along the way – bosses who undermine and underestimate you – you gotta rise above, the experts say.

After all, most of us at some stage have come across someone who, for their own reasons, wants to put us down. Maybe your bosses feel threatened by your potential success or just don’t want you to succeed?

Self-belief will also get you through this. If you believe that you can achieve something you will be able to ignore the nay-sayers and achieve your goals in spite of them.

And one final bit of advice from careers experts: do all you can to avoid these people as much as possible and instead seek out positive mentors and friends who will inspire you and encourage you to achieve your full potential.

Go get em’, tiger!

career advice, career goals, self-belief

Main image via www.cseba.eu; secondary image via www.renewable-health-site.com and final image via www.thegrindstone.com

September 18, 2015

How to Leave Your Job and Start Your Own Business

Sharon Zeev Poole, director of Agent99 Public Relations, explains what not to fear when leaving a corporate role to start your own company.

About seven years ago, I was working for a mid-sized public relations firm in Sydney and was ready for a change.  In fact, I wanted my boss’ job…which wasn’t going to happen given that she owned the business!  Although I had brilliant clients who I had a fantastic relationship with, amazing colleagues who are still my friends today, and great work life balance, I knew I had more to give.

I had many years’ of experience under my belt in the PR industry and the choice was either to go to a large firm and manage a team as an Account Director, or start a business where I could really take all I had learned and shape a company according to my values.  Despite serious nerves, I opted for the latter and started Agent99 Public Relations. I haven’t looked back since.

What I did learn on this journey was that the fears were much greater before I embarked on my mission then when I actually took the plunge and opened the doors for business.  So, if you’re in a similar situation, you have a marvellous idea and want to take that leap, here are my top five tips on the fears you shouldn’t have:

1. I’m too scared to give up my secure job and that steady income

Regret the things you don’t do, not the things you do. That was one of the first things that my husband told me when I met him.  I think it would be such a shame to be left wondering in life “where would I be if I had done this”…

At the same time, if you’re the type of person who loses sleep at night if you can’t pay the bills (like me), and you want to enjoy the journey, save up enough cash or work towards seed funding. That way, you will feel secure enough to take the plunge for a set (and realistic) period of time.  Once you have that, go for it!

2. What if I fail?

Most successful multi millionaire entrepreneurs have failed a number of times before ‘making it big’.  You need to think as positively as possible and back yourself 100%.  That conviction will also get you through the toughest times, and believe me, there are plenty of them, so be prepared to feel uncomfortable.  But to me, that’s part of the journey.  If you see yourself as a resourceful and determined person, failure just won’t be an option.

3. If I fail, what will my friends and family think of me?

Just by taking the plunge, you are doing more than what 99% of the population will ever dream of doing.  Your friends and family will think you’re courageous for doing it in the first place.  It will also become apparent very quickly as to whom the most positive of your supporters are.  Get very close to them as they will see you through the challenges, and be there to celebrate the good times with you too.

4. What if I don’t know enough about business?

Learn.  There are tons of inexpensive short business courses that are run by the government.  To that end, there are also lots of grants to tap into.  Do some research and you’ll be amazed at what you find.  While you’re saving for your venture or writing proposals for funding, spend that time investing in your knowledge in the spaces that you feel a little unsure about.  Once you’ve started your business, keep educating yourself.  It’s the most worthwhile investment you’ll make.  Also, get a business coach.  The right one will push you to the next level and are worth their weight in gold.

5. What if I lose a whole heap of money?

That’s what your savings are for.  Set a timeline that you feel comfortable with, so you don’t go into serious debt if this is a real fear for you.  For me, it was to replace my salary within six months, or get out.  Everyone is different, so write a plan for your business and a personal one that aligns to that.  And stick to it.  The worst thing that can happen is that you burn through those savings and the business doesn’t go according to plan.  Pat yourself on the back for having tried, dust yourself off and look to the next thing as Donald Trump would!

Clearly, it’s much easier in hindsight but those principles are still very relevant to me now, even seven years down the line.

Whilst we have an incredible team and a gorgeous office in Surry Hills, and we get to work on some amazing corporate and consumer brands such as Evian, the Hunter Valley Region, and MTV, there are fears to face daily.

The challenging economy and changing landscape in our industry means there are always threats to guard against.  So, we need to check in and see if we’re on track in terms of our goals, and apply the same rules to overcome any fears.

Business is like a Luna Park ride. Some highs can lift you to the sky, and some lows can turn your belly inside out.  But no matter what the outcome, you’re always going to have a smile on your face when you’ve done it!

Are you thinking of starting your own business?

Having worked all over the world on high profile brands such as Warner Bros. Pictures and Starbucks Coffee for over 13 years, Sharon founded Agent99 Public Relations in January 2007.  An agency built on strong strategic and creative credentials, Agent99 is in constant pursuit of the unconventional, routinely implementing bold brand campaigns that capture national attention in unexpected ways. Committed to achieving unbeatable results, Sharon is always innovating to keep the agency one step ahead of the competition. Today, Agent99 represents an enviable list of lifestyle, consumer and business-to-business clients across the food and wine, travel, health, beauty, online and non-for-profit spaces.

September 27, 2013

Best Career Tips Ever!

Whether you’re just thinking about a career change or are in the middle of a major job hunt, tips from the experts are always useful. The SheSaid career guru is here to help. Brush up on your interview techniques, write a better resume, be prepared with some intelligent questions at your interview.

Company research

Interview preparation

Dos and don’ts at the interview

Questions you may be asked

How to answer questions professionally

Questions you should ask

At the end of the interview

Company research

Research the company that you are interviewing with. With the amount of information readily available over the web, you should be able to find out all you need to know. Alternatively, if the company is a listed company, call their head office and request the latest copy of their annual report (they are obliged to send it to you). If you need information on stock market performance, the world’s stock exchanges have extensive reference information available.

Useful sites:

http://www.comsec.com.au (Australian Equities)

http://www.nasdaq.com.au (US Innovative stocks)

http://www.wallstreet.com (US mainboard listing)

http://www.lse.co.uk (UK mainboard stocks)

http://www.ofxdev.co.uk (UK innovative stocks)

If you are using the services of a recruitment company, make sure that they supply you with information on the company, or at least direct you to where you can find the relevant information.

Interview preparation

This is your big chance to make a lasting impression. You have no excuse for not being fully prepared and organised. Chances are, if you’re not, the next person will be!

Make sure you know what you have written on your CV. Interviewers will ask you about it.

Have the correct time, location and pronunciation of the person’s name that will be interviewing you. Allow yourself plenty of time to get there do not be late!

Prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask, and don’t hesitate to take it out from your bag to read from the list. We all get nervous in interviews, and it is horrible to remember when you’ve left that you forgot to ask something critical. Asking questions shows the interviewer that you have prepared for the meeting.

Wear your most businesslike and appropriate outfit. Make sure your shoes are clean and well heeled, and that your jewellery is appropriate. Remember: it is easy to be quirky once you actually have the job.

Dos and don’ts at the interview

Always remember that you are being interviewed because the interviewer wants to fill a vacancy.

Do fill it out any application forms neatly and completely

Do greet the interviewer by name

Do shake hands firmly. (This is so important. A weak handshake can take the whole interview to overcome.)

Do wait until you are offered a chair before sitting. Sit upright in your chair, look alert and interested at all times. Be a good listener as well as a good talker. Smile!

Do be enthusiastic – nothing is more attractive.

Do look a prospective employer in the eye when you speak – very important!

Do follow the interviewer’s lead, but try to obtain a full description of the position and duties expected early on so that you can relay your appropriate background and skills.

Do keep in mind that only you can sell yourself and make the interviewer aware of the potential benefit you could be to the organisation. Think like the interviewer: what would you want to hear?

Do keep in mind that there may be more than one role on offer in the organisation. Remain positive throughout the interview.

Don’t smoke, even if the interviewer smokes and offers you a cigarette.

Don’t answer questions with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Always give an example as it helps to reinforce what you are saying.

Don’t lie. Answer questions truthfully, frankly and as much to the point as possible.

Don’t make derogatory remarks about your present or former employers.

Don’t ask about salary, holidays, bonuses, etc. at the initial interview unless you are positive the interviewer is interested in hiring you.

Questions you may be asked

There are some questions that invariably come up at interviews. You look professional and polished if you can answer them intelligently instead of trying to think on your feet (or more likely your backside!)

Why did you choose a career in this particular industry?

What do you know about our company?

What do you know about this particular job?

Why would you like to work for our company?

What interests you about our product/services?

What style of management gets the best results from you?

What have you learned from some of the jobs you have held?

Which did you enjoy the most, and why?

What have you done that shows initiative in your career?

What are your major weaknesses and what are your strengths?

What do you think determines a person’s progress in a good company?

Are you willing to relocate?

What are your hobbies?

What does “teamwork” mean to you?

What do you want to be doing in your career five years from now?

How to answer questions professionally

On a general note, keep the answers to these questions short and professional. Nobody likes to interview someone who rambles on. Where possible, give an example, as it helps to anchor what you have just said in the interviewer’s mind.

What style of management gets the best results from you?

“I like a participative style of management. In my current role, my boss and I have a meeting every Monday morning, and together, we determine the priorities of the week. Each afternoon at 5pm, I update her as to the events of the day, and what goals have been achieved. As such, we find that we work as a very productive team more than achieve the targets we set on Monday.”

Alternatively, “I like a fairly hands-off style of management. In my current role, I am given a task and when it is completed I let my boss know. Using this approach together we have successfully delivered four projects on time …”

Be careful of strengths and weaknesses questions, and again give an example. ‘Weaknesses’ is one area where if you don’t prepare beforehand you may tell your interviewer what they really are! Instead, the trick to this question is to think about a weakness that could just as easily be considered a strength.

“As I like everything to be correct, when under situations of extreme pressure I tend to not delegate as effectively as usual. However, I am aware of this situation, and am consciously trying to overcome this situation.”

Which, in reality, probably means you become a control freak when stressed! However, what the interviewer hears is that you ‘like everything to be correct’, and that only in times of extreme pressure do you operate less effectively. But who does? The interviewer will also appreciate it that you know of this perceived ‘weakness’ and are trying to improve on it.

Remember: don’t lie! Just be smart, but not a smart-arse!

Questions you should ask

Looking and sounding prepared is important. Don’t be afraid to refer to a notebook during the meeting.

Is there a detailed position description available?

Why is the position available?

How would you describe the culture of the company?

In you opinion, what are the company’s best-selling products or services?

Why do you think that is?

What kind of training will I receive?

What kinds of people have done well within the organisation? Why?

What is the company’s strategy for the next year? Where are they trying to position themselves in the market?

What value are you expecting me to add to the team?

What do you see the career progression for this role being?

At the end of the interview

Ask what the next step is from here. Let the interviewer know you are interested in pursuing the opportunity further, without being overbearing. If you are offered the position and you are comfortable and happy with everything discussed, including salary, accept the position on the spot, subject to receiving the offer in writing. If you wish time to think it over, be tactful in asking for that time. Agree on a definite time when you will come back with your answer. NEVER resign from a permanent role without a written offer from your ‘future’ employer.

Most interviewers will not make an offer in the interview. Don’t let this discourage you. It is all part of the process. The general line is: “I am interviewing other candidates…”

Always remember to thank the interviewer for their time and consideration. Let them know that you hope to hear from them soon. Remember to shake the interviewer’s hand and smile. Walk away knowing you have done all you can do.

August 1, 2000