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3 Concrete Ways To Make Money In Career Transition

with examples!




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I am going to try something new here.

Below I’ll post my thoughts on 3 concrete things to do to get cash flow and strengthen your position while you are in career transition. Ready?

This is for you if you are:

  • changing jobs or moving into consulting
  • facing an age barrier (either end). Or a different perceived barrier.
  • wanting to re-invent yourself and re-position yourself as an employee or independent professional
  • shifting from academia to industry, or PhD to consulting
  • in an insular or foreign environment and lack a relevant track record or network

 …and you need money to live while you establish yourself 

Additional effects of monetising your expertise:

  • obviously, you get more money and improve cash flow
  • you learn what others see in you that is valuable to them
  • you buffer yourself against gaps in your professional history
  • ‘Mylastname Consulting’ looks infinitely more compelling than “Looking for opportunities” on your LinkedIn profile headline
  • you learn how to get people to ‘buy’ you (whether or not self-promotion is anathema to you, you must get used to it. This ability is a common factor among people I consider highly successful.)

Ok, here we go. 3 concrete ideas to do this.

This is not theory. Either I have done this myself to a degree that I feel warrants being able to tell you how to do it, or I know a successful someone who will pick up the phone when I call.

1. Consulting

A. Subcontract for an agency as the go-to person for your expertise because they lack it in-house.

  • advertising (proof-read, expertise, fact-checking, jargon)
  • communication
  • law (example: transfer IP agreement from US university to EU company)
  • management consulting
  • translation/language

B. Interim management

For senior and experienced people. This is a concrete option for senior professionals facing a perceived age barrier to employment. Interim agencies need high-level experienced people who know what to do and are “plug and play”, without handholding. You also get wonderful insight to how they land deals and access to their networks, and you can use their established business name.

C. Consulting directly to build your own client base.

This is how I started during my PhD to bring in extra income, plus it bridged moving abroad. Try to get business that you can do online as it frees you from having to physically be there (great if you are bound to a house or corporate building by day).

  • Editing papers for trade journals is great. Google “[your trade] journal English”
  • Monetise your network: help organisations enter your market or your country through your connections (profit sharing or pay up front for a connection). Knowledge of local language, norms and people is GOLD.

2. Speaking


  • Chamber of Commerce events may not pay well, but they gather a wealthy, connected, accomplished audience who can. It also also transfers trust to you much faster, even if they’ve never heard of you Also an excellent place to observe what certain business people look like, group dynamics and norms. Their raison d’être is to promote business.
  • Trade commissioner at Embassies. Same as above


Your time is your most valuable asset, so my advice is that until you have a comfortable cashflow, only give 2 kinds of talks:

A. Paid talks, with decent pay.

Paid talks are a great way to share your experience, showcase yourself, and get paid for it. That said, be resilient to ridiculous responses like:

“What do you deliver in 1 hour that is worth $X?”

A one-hour speaking gig is not 1 hour. It is half a day. Your client gets your assembled experience, prep, mental time, discussions, travel there and back, be there early, deliver the talk, Q&A, follow up. Actually more than half a day. I have made BIG mistakes here because I didn’t know better. Learn from my mistakes. I elaborate much more on this in my premium course, Create Great LinkedIn Profiles.

B. Pro bono/cheap talks ONLY TO AUDIENCES THAT CAN PAY.

Here the goal is to hook the audience so their organisation will hire you to speak/work. If the audience is not in a position to do this, this is misplaced action right now, in my opinion.


3. Training


Hold a how-to workshop to demonstrate what you can do and build the relationship. Position yourself with rare expertise. The principles for speaking apply here. Package it so you hold the same basic thing again and again for new people.


Now, if you are sitting at home saying, I can’t get my foot through the door: use the opportunity of social media. Being behind a screen can give reach and courage that physically standing in front of others simply cannot. Social and international codes become far less relevant.

Use the halo effect: if you’ve been famous for something, that sticks. Position yourself around that.

Have pride in what you do. You get esteem from what you do. You must have pride.