The Gigster’s Guide to Lifelong Employability on The Wisepreneurs Project Podcast

The Gigster's Guide to Lifelong Employability The Wisepreneurs Project Podcast Nigel Rawlins and Sue Ellson

The Gigster’s Guide to Lifelong Employability on The Wisepreneurs Project Podcast

By Sue Ellson

Topic: The Gigster’s Guide to Lifelong Employability

Episode: 35

Date: 14 March 2024

Broadcaster / Interviewer: Nigel Rawlins

Producer or Podcast Name: The Wisepreneurs Project Podcast

Duration: 00:55:05

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Thriving in the Gig Economy: Lessons from a Lifelong LearnerLinkedIn Article by Nigel Rawlins

Nigel Rawlins and Sue Ellson on The Wisepreneurs Project Podcast

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Topics Discussed:

✅ Staying relevant in a changing landscape
✅ Using technology to attract aligned gigs
✅ Importance of continuous learning
✅ Building a strong network
✅ Completing a comprehensive LinkedIn Profile
✅ Embracing technology
✅ Future of work is work, not jobs
✅ Defining success
✅ Being your own kind of peculiar
✅ Using technology and iterating along the way
✅ Prioritising health and wellbeing
✅ It is never too late and no time is wasted
✅ Semi-retirement and including more fun

Mind Map Exercise to help you choose your next job or career

Summary (developed by

00:00:00 In this section of The Wisepreneurs Podcast, Nigel Rawlins interviews Sue Ellson, a self-proclaimed “gigster” who has mastered the art of staying employable and in demand as an independent professional. Sue shares her insights on building a strong network, leveraging technology, and adapting to new opportunities. After starting her full-time career at a young age, Sue was sacked when she became pregnant and realized the importance of being employable. Since then, she has committed to continuous learning and has not had a traditional job since 1994. For Sue, being employable means the ability to earn a living and the flexibility to work rather than having a job with a set schedule. She emphasizes the importance of being able to support oneself financially and the benefits of a flexible career.

00:05:00 In this section of the YouTube video titled “Sue Ellson: The Gigster’s Guide to Lifelong Employability,” Sue shares her experience of surviving on a low income after a separation and how she managed to stay engaged and employable through volunteering and networking. She recounts how she lived frugally and participated in low-cost activities, such as scout camps and local voluntary activities, to develop skills and save money. Sue also shares an example of how she leveraged her network to secure prepayments from clients when she needed to earn more money quickly. She emphasizes the importance of creating a network and building relationships of trust, which takes time but can lead to opportunities. Sue also discusses the importance of maintaining good health as she doesn’t receive sick leave, holiday pay, or superannuation, and believes that looking after her health is fundamental for her livelihood. She encourages staying engaged and active to keep learning and growing, rather than relying on savings or retirement funds.

00:10:00 In this section Sue shares her personal experiences on staying employable and engaged in various activities. She mentions the importance of learning new things and attending events, both online and in-person, to expand one’s network and skills. Sue also discusses her role as an independent LinkedIn specialist and how she helps individuals and organisations with their LinkedIn presence. She emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and problem-solving, using technological solutions when needed. Despite not having a virtual assistant, she remains active in her learning and work, focusing on her diverse interests and helping others.

00:15:00 Sue shares her personal journey of discovering the importance of aligning her skills and values with her career goals. She recalls her younger self, who aimed to have a stable income to live freely, and how she has managed to achieve that through freelance work. Sue then talks about her book “Gigster,” which she wrote during her 50th year to help others understand their values, strengths, and context to find productive and worthwhile career paths. The book also covers the concept of being a “gigster,” which is using technology to attract aligned projects or gigs. Sue emphasizes the importance of discipline, kindness to oneself, and building a network in the freelance lifestyle. She also highlights that society has not fully embraced this way of working yet and that it’s essential to have a strong identity and belief in oneself as a gigster or freelancer.

00:20:00 Sue Ellson discusses the importance of networking and using LinkedIn for freelancers or those considering a career shift. She emphasizes the significance of having a strong LinkedIn profile and connecting with as many people as possible. She suggests scanning QR codes to connect with individuals on the spot, even without business cards. She also advises looking for potential clients within a certain age range, as they may be interested in the freelancer’s services. Sue shares a story about a woman who purchased an expensive website but could have started a PhD editing business by connecting with people studying for their PhDs on LinkedIn. She concludes by mentioning that LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for finding clients and starting a business, as people can be found through search engines and by connecting with others.

00:25:00 Sue discusses the importance of utilising LinkedIn for professional growth and maintaining engagement on the platform. She encourages individuals to think about the value they can provide and consider asking past contacts if they need any services. Sue suggests being active on LinkedIn by liking others’ posts and optimizing one’s profile, including a clear headline and an engaging About section, to increase visibility and self-selection by potential clients. For those over 50, she emphasizes the importance of positioning oneself clearly on LinkedIn by highlighting skills, achievements, and tasks enjoyed in past roles.

00:30:00 Sue Ellson emphasizes the importance of creating a personal website to tell one’s professional story. She suggests using one’s own name for the website and focusing on key pages like “about,” “contact,” and “privacy policy.” She also advocates for using technology to save time and money, such as systemizing marketing strategies like monthly webinars and using social media platforms to share your message. She believes that by using technology to automate repetitive tasks, she can focus on producing quality content and providing value to her audience.

00:35:00 Sue Ellson discusses the importance of using one’s time effectively and building a digital presence for professional growth. She uses a paper diary to manage appointments and emphasizes that a digital presence can take up to six months to establish. She recommends reaching out to connections on LinkedIn to expand one’s network and build relationships. For those leaving a profession to join a new one, she advises joining the professional association and creating a verifiable online presence through a Google Business account and a fully completed LinkedIn profile. She also shares her concerns about the verification process on LinkedIn, suggesting an alternative method using a work email addresses instead of personal identification (like your passport).

00:40:00 Sue Ellson shares her concerns about protecting personal identity in today’s digital age. She recalls a scene from an old movie and reminds people to think about how to protect their identity. Sue advises creating unique passwords for every account and Nigel suggests being aware of one’s surroundings. She also shares her experience of appearing on television after being featured in The Daily Mail, discussing the average age of retirement and the need to keep working due to increasing pension ages and insufficient pension coverage.

00:45:00 Sue shares her observations on retirement age and the importance of finding enjoyment in life. She notes that the average retirement age in Australia is surprisingly low, with women retiring at 54 and men at 59.3. Sue then shares her personal experience of being in the retirement age bracket but feeling far from ready to retire, as she still enjoys working and finding new experiences. She emphasizes the importance of occupation as the basis of enjoyment and encourages listeners to consider semi-retirement as a way to incorporate more fun things into their working lives. Sue shares her own example of scheduling Fridays off to travel and meet locals, which she finds both relaxing and enjoyable. Overall, Sue encourages listeners to think about how they can enjoy their lives and continue learning and growing, even as they age.

00:50:00 Sue Ellson discusses the challenges of defining one’s career and identity, especially after the age of 35. She shares her experience of earning a living through marketing services and the confusion that comes with trying to define what she offers and how she earns a living. She also mentions the concept of being “peculiar” and encourages individuals to embrace their uniqueness. She emphasizes that it’s never too late and no time is wasted, using her own experiences of volunteering and managing finances during difficult periods as examples. She also shares the advice of not buying things until absolutely necessary and the importance of allowing others to help. Overall, she encourages listeners to look beyond the assumed ways of living and embrace the possibilities of lifelong employability.

00:55:00 Sue Ellson expresses her gratitude for being invited to speak. She then reflects on the importance of lifelong employability in the gig economy. She explains that with the rise of freelance and gig work, traditional employment models are becoming obsolete. She emphasizes the need for individuals to take responsibility for their own career development and to continually update their skills to remain competitive in the job market. She again touches on the importance of building a strong professional network and maintaining a positive online presence. Throughout the conversation, she offers practical tips and resources for listeners looking to thrive in the gig economy.

Further information:

Contact Nigel Rawlins at The Wisepreneurs Project

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