When it comes to your career, do you ever feel like you are on an endless journey to get somewhere?” If this statement from Emma Gannon’s latest book, The Multi-Hyphen Method, rings a bell, then ask yourself whether your job suits your lifestyle.
With smart technology at our fingertips, it has never been easier to work wherever and whenever. And this is the philosophy behind Emma’s book, which teaches it’s readers how it does not matter if you are a part-time PA with a blog or a physio who runs an online jewellery store, whatever your work combination, anyone can channel their entrepreneurial spirit.
Modern Work caught up with the 29-yearold, who now lives in Hackney, London, to find out about the multi-hyphen way of working.
Can you tell me about your career?
I started my career in PR and marketing, which in hindsight I think was such a great thing. Bill Gates famously said: “If I was down to my last dollar I would spend it on PR.” And I agree, it’s so important to any business or idea. I learned valuable skills within big agencies: how to work in teams, handle big budgets, write proposals, manage online crises, how large-scale brands are built and maintained behind the scenes.
I then realised that I wanted to be more creative in my work and writing. I started a blog on the side, and I eventually took a pay cut to work in journalism and magazines. Now, I have been able to merge my love of marketing and writing.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I just recorded a podcast episode from inside Buckingham Palace and met the Queen. That was pretty cool!
What were you doing when you set up your podcast Ctrl Alt Delete?
I had just quit my job at Glamour magazine. My book Ctrl Alt Delete was about to come out with Penguin, so I decided to set up a podcast to market and promote it. I thought I’d do a series of around eight episodes interviewing interesting guests and treat it as an experiment. It ended up growing a listenership at such a pace that I am now on episode #137… with no sign of it slowing down.
What inspired you to become self-employed?
The small successes of my side-hustles inspired me to quit my job in the end. I started earning bits here and there through opportunities that would arise through my blog. I suppose I had been ‘personal branding’ myself for years, without knowing that was even a phrase.
I realised that multiple income streams would mean I had limitless earning potential, instead of being boxed in with one salary and one job. I’d saved up money from my side-hustles for a few years, then quit, so it wasn’t as scary.
Can you tell me more about your book, The Multi-Hyphen Method?
The Multi-Hyphen Method is a book that brings a modern update to the ‘portfolio career’ with research, anecdotes and practical advice. It’s a best friend’s guide on how to future-proof yourself, as the world of work evolves and the days of the ‘job for life’ are fast becoming a thing of the past.
It’s not a ‘quit your job and follow your dreams’ book. It’s about how to take intelligent risks, starting side-hustles, and why you should refuse to be pigeonholed in your career. It’s about transitioning into self-employment if you want to. It’s about allowing tech to work for us, not against us. It’s about having multiple interests and identities at work. It’s about how to take practical steps in this changing world of work to diversify and have multiple career strands/income streams.
Where did the inspiration for the book come from?
The inspiration behind the book was my only personal feelings and insecurities around work. Whenever anyone asked me what I did for a living, I would clam up and feel awkward, unable to introduce myself without feeling like some failing and fledgling jack of all trades.
I started realising that doing multiple things made me happier, more fulfilled and even more financially secure than I was before, so decided to make it into a celebratory movement and own it. Being a multi-hyphenate has changed my life for the better, so I wanted to talk about it and give tips, advice and nuggets of wisdom from other experts.
Why is it important to have more than one string to your bow, when it comes to your career now?
I think it’s important to diversify your skillset, and keep on learning. Adam Smiley Poswolsky, author of The Quarter-Life Breakthrough, said: “Changes in technology mean that people can’t count on a position, or even a company, being around forever.”
This is something we should remember: that nothing is permanent and technology is constantly changing, so we should not be afraid to try new things. Continuing to future-proof ourselves is becoming increasingly important.