A career pivot could be just what you need right now

Female entrepreneur in office
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Pivots are the new career norm. Entrepreneur Nicole Bremner is on career pivot No.4 and is well versed in how to change career. Here, she reveals how to do it successfully...

Words by Marina Gask

Gone are the days when we all had the same career for life - nowadays portfolio careers and pivots are the norm. In fact, now a career change at 30 is as common as a career change at 50. Entrepreneur Nicole Bremner, is a property developer with a side hustle in personal branding, and what she doesn't know about successful career pivoting isn't worth knowing.

Before hitting forty, Bremner had worked in investment banking, ran her own online fashion company, worked in the financial sector and then started a property development company. She's now branched out into the world of personal branding. Here she reveals the best ways to achieve a successful career pivot. 

How to achieve a successful career pivot

Start before you leave your current job

Add a side hustle to your career or business in order to future-proof your career. If you lose your job, as many of us are unfortunately likely to at some point, you will hopefully be ready to pivot over to your new venture full-time. Prior to lockdown, the Henley Business School estimated that 37% of 25-34-year olds run a sideline of some kind.

Fit it to your circumstances

Will working remotely be a necessity for you? Do you prefer to be networking and travelling for your work? Make sure your career pivot fits your circumstances and priorities. For me, becoming a mother changed me - I couldn’t go to fashion shows in Milan and work ridiculous hours with three young children at home, so I started my property company. Then when my marriage crumbled I thought, "What’s important for me now?" and that’s when I moved to the country, so I had to look at what I could do remotely - which is personal brand mentoring, still with a property focus.

Futureproof yourself with a solid online offering

Notice the types of companies that are really winning right now. The one thing powerful brands like Joe Wicks and Shaa Wasmund MBE have in common is solid online offerings that they’ve built up over years. We all need to offer an online service, no matter what we do. It’s not enough to have a profession - say, be an accountant - you also need a side business, such as an accountancy tuition online. What are you an expert in? Even TikTokers who teach people how to do a dance step for free charge them for the longer version.

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career pivot

Nicole Bremner

Maximise your transferable skills

What else could you be doing with the expertise you’ve built up? Knowing what you’re really good at will mean that if you do lose your job you’ll have something to move onto. As performance coach Jamil Qureshi said, "We must learn to dance on a shifting carpet, not see the rug as being pulled from under our feet."

So if you’re in retail fashion you’ve got relationship building skills and sales skills that are transferable across every industry. Look at new areas of interest and how you can use the skills you have and broaden them out so you have more. Seeing your potential in terms of skills not careers helps you to spot the opportunities open to you.

Face facts that some careers are dying out

The world is constantly changing in terms of in-demand careers and we have to be nimble and keep an eye on what the world needs and how to apply our skills to it. Popular pivots right now include subscription or sponsored podcasts, membership sites, public speaking in different areas of expertise and subscription services for niche insights and courses. All of these would take time to build up to the extent that they make an income, but they can ultimately be both rewarding and lucrative.

Build your personal brand

When you Google your name what pops up? Is the information you share about yourself across all platforms consistent and is it serving your overall goals? Do you know what you stand for and is it part of the DNA of your brand?

I started building my personal brand on social media in 2015. As I developed my property business, more and more people became interested in the personal branding side of it, through which I was able to attract investment.

While property is still my day job I'm now asked to do speaking engagements all over the world on the subject of personal branding. A strong and consistent personal brand will mean you will thrive professionally regardless of how many job and career pivots you go through.

Maria Coole

Maria Coole is a contributing editor on Marie Claire.

Hello Marie Claire readers – you have reached your daily destination. I really hope you’re enjoying our reads and I'm very interested to know what you shared, liked and didn’t like (gah, it happens) by emailing me at: maria.coole@freelance.ti-media.com

But if you fancy finding out who you’re venting to then let me tell you I’m the one on the team that remembers the Spice Girls the first time round. I confidently predicted they’d be a one-hit wonder in the pages of Bliss magazine where I was deputy editor through the second half of the 90s. Having soundly killed any career ambitions in music journalism I’ve managed to keep myself in glow-boosting moisturisers and theatre tickets with a centuries-spanning career in journalism.

Yes, predating t’internet, when 'I’ll fax you' was grunted down a phone with a cord attached to it; when Glastonbury was still accessible by casually going under or over a flimsy fence; when gatecrashing a Foo Fighters aftershow party was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy and tapping Dave Grohl on the shoulder was... oh sorry I like to ramble.

Originally born and bred in that there Welsh seaside town kindly given a new lease of life by Gavin & Stacey, I started out as a junior writer for the Girl Guides and eventually earned enough Brownie points to move on and have a blast as deputy editor of Bliss, New Woman and editor of People newspaper magazine. I was on the launch team of Look in 2007 - where I stuck around as deputy editor and acting editor for almost ten years - shaping a magazine and website at the forefront of body positivity, mental wellbeing and empowering features. More recently, I’ve been Closer executive editor, assistant editor at the Financial Times’s How To Spend It (yes thanks, no probs with that life skill) and now I’m making my inner fangirl’s dream come true by working on this agenda-setting brand, the one that inspired me to become a journalist when Marie Claire launched back in 1988.

I’m a theatre addict, lover of Marvel franchises, most hard cheeses, all types of trees, half-price Itsu, cats, Dr Who, cherry tomatoes, Curly-Wurly, cats, blueberries, cats, boiled eggs, cats, maxi dresses, cats, Adidas shelltops, cats and their kittens. I’ve never knowingly operated any household white goods and once served Ripples as a main course. And finally, always remember what the late great Nora Ephron said, ‘Everything is copy.’