HOW I GOT TO WHERE I AM TODAY - AN INTERVIEW WITH LIZZIE FROM WANDERFUL WORLD
Lizzie is a professional business and lifestyle writer who creates epic content for start-ups and marketing companies. She also runs Wanderful World, a blog for creative freelancers, where she creates courses, runs workshops, and writes actionable posts for budding freelancers.
DID YOU ALWAYS WANT TO GO INTO YOUR CHOSEN CAREER?
At the back of my mind I always wanted to be a writer, but I was too embarrassed to admit it. Writing was the thing I loved doing the most, but I figured that I’d never be able to make a viable career out of it.
WHEN DID YOU START TO DEVELOP A PASSION FOR WHAT YOU CURRENTLY DO?
I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. My mum has little stories I wrote when I could first put pen to paper, and throughout school I started and scrapped about a hundred novels!
I’d always had writing as a kind of hobby, but it wasn’t until I started my blog in 2012 that I realised it could actually be a viable career choice. I had my eyes opened to a whole new online world and I absolutely loved reading about people who had gone freelance or had leveraged their blogs so they could make money. It was inspiring and I wanted some of that action!
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AT SCHOOL? DID YOU ENJOY IT? WHAT WERE YOUR FAVOURITE SUBJECTS?
I was a complete goodie-goodie at school – seriously. The one time I got a detention (in year 3 for putting a pen inside one of those maths robots), I cried the entire time.
Yes, I enjoyed school. If you’d have asked me at the time, I might have had a different answer (because the woes of being a teenager!), but for the most part it was a positive experience for me. I particularly enjoyed English, Music and Media Studies.
WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? DID YOU GO TO UNIVERSITY OR STRAIGHT INTO WORK?
I started my post-college education by doing an Art Foundation course, where I spent a year messing around with paints, fabrics, computers, wood, and cameras. It was probably the best year of my academic life, and at the time I was convinced I wanted to become an illustrator or a graphic designer.
So, after that I applied to do Graphic Design and got accepted onto one of the best courses in the country for it. But after a year, I realised it was way more technical that I expected (basically, there was a lot less freedom than I had in my foundation year).
In my second year I changed courses to study Visual Culture, which was the best decision I made. I absolutely loved the course – yes, I’m one of those people who really enjoys museums! I got to write about art and culture, which were – and still are - two of my favourite things.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE WITHIN YOUR CHOSEN FIELD?
So I got offered a job the week of my final exams at university. It was with a local travel company who were looking for a writer and marketing assistant. They’d seen my blog (which I’d started at the beginning of the year) and wanted me for the role.
Excited was an understatement! I was ecstatic I managed to land a job in the industry I wanted to go into at the time (travel writing) before I’d even finished university. I’d heard so many stories about graduates taking years to find roles they love, so I was really pleased that I’d managed to do it so soon.
WHAT PATH DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I worked at the travel company for just over a year, but I felt pretty stagnant there so I started applying for other similar jobs in the area. I landed a Community Manager position at a video production company which was great. The team were lovely and the work was fun, but there was nowhere for me to progress to in the company.
It was around this time that me and my ex-boyfriend decided to move abroad, so it seemed like the perfect time to take my work freelance – and I’ve been doing that ever since!
WHEN DO YOU THINK YOU GOT A BREAKTHROUGH WITH YOUR CAREER?
Wow, that’s difficult. I think I’ve had lots of little breakthroughs rather than just one. I see my working life as a series of checkpoints that have helped me bounce from one step to another. There is no one thing that made me think, “yes, THIS is it!”
But if I had to pick a moment? Definitely choosing to go freelance. That was a really pivotal moment for me. It was either make or break.
WHAT'S BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
Probably being satisfied. I’m one of those people who always wants more (you can probably tell from my series of course changes at university). Even now I’m living the life I’ve always dreamt of, I’m always looking for ways I can improve and do more. So the biggest challenge for me is sitting back and enjoying the moment.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT?
Oh wow, there are so many now I sit down and think about it. I initially wanted to say running 10km back in April, because I never thought my body would be able to do that(!), but actually it was making the decision to go freelance and building a business I’m really proud of.
Every day I get to help budding freelancers start their careers and that feeling is second to none. Being a freelance writer was always a dream of mine (even if it was pushed to the back of my mind and I never said it out loud), but to have ticked that off my list at 25? Yeah, I’d say I’m pretty proud of that!
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AND YOUR CAREER GOING IN THE FUTURE?
Do you remember me saying I’m the kind of person who always wants more?! I have big plans for Wanderful World over the next couple of years, but I also want to continue writing for brands that I love.
I’d love this to be what I do for the rest of my life, so I’m going to work dang hard to make it happen!
Finally, IF YOU COULD SHARE THREE OF YOUR BIGGEST LIFE LESSONS WITH ABOH READERS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
- Nothing is ever as bad as it seems. Seriously. The sun will still set and it will still rise again the next day no matter what kind of pickle you think you’re in. As humans, we love to stress and worry about things that haven’t happened yet, but what’s the point in that?
- Secondly (and this is my absolute favourite phrase on the planet): the grass is greener where you water it. If you’re not happy with an area of your life, it’s down to you to change it until you are.
- Third: don’t forget to have fun. Yes, our careers define a huge portion of our lives, but they’re not all we have going for us. It’s really important to be in the moment, laugh, and just have fun.