Personal Brand

5 Step Career Plan for all Expat Partners

You are all settled,

Found a house

Got the kids into schools

Finished unpacking

Registered for all 101 new services

Even got the TV up on the wall.

Now its time to work out what the heck you are going to do with all your time.

You may have a few ideas, maybe even a couple of objectives:

  • You don’t want a big gap on your CV.

  • You want to break out of the expat bubble and engage with local culture a bit more.

  • Use the skills you have on something meaningful, something significant.

One things for sure, you don’t want to be left behind. You see your old colleagues achieving so much….

Its hard not to look back.

Not to compare.

To wonder what if?

Do you try to repeat the job you had back home? Thats all you know.


Do you use this time to start something new?

Ideally you want something flexible, that you can do from home, that fits around the kids and your travel.

But thats just a pipe dream.

Something that makes me feel good again, thats rewarding, that introduces me to new people, and gets me learning new things again.

None of that was possible 5 years ago, but thats not the case in 2018.

Currently 42% of the US workforce is freelance with numbers rising year on year.

The average number of jobs a person will have throughout their career has risen from 3 in 2007, to 7 in 2010, and now US Buru of National Statistics predicts its between 12 - 15 per person.

expat partner career

The truth is, you are not alone in having these mind games, even if you had stayed at home, majority of us struggle to work out what will make us happy in our career, let alone what to do about it.

Whilst its tempting to look around, to go for coffee, to seek out opportunities that you COULD do.

Living abroad gives you the perfect opportunity to figure out what you WANT to do.

The reality is only you can work out what’s right for you. Whilst your partner, family, friends and ex colleagues can offer invaluable insights and even inspire you with ideas on things you can do. Only you have the answers to what will make you feel a sense of accomplishment, and ultimately use this time to help you branch out in your career path to embrace the new opportunities and build something much more exciting.

Want to know how to start? We have put together our 5 step career plan that all our clients at Translating Me will go through to restart their careers:

1. Personal Brand

How well do you know yourself? Do you know what gives you energy? What grabs your attention? What feels effortless and easy because you enjoy doing it? What activities stop you from looking checking in with your phone every 2 minutes?

Equally - what drains you? What frustrates you and holds you back from being your best?

Are you the person you steps up to organise events when others shrink into the background? Or are the peace maker who helps calm people down when things are stressful.

I call these things your sparkle, we all have many bits of sparkle we leave behind. Start to write them down and identify what your sparkle is.

2. Be Brave

The actual act of moving abroad is the easy bit. There are lots of people to help, many people have done it before you, and so whilst its stressful, you know you will get sorted eventually.

The hard part is integrating into local life. Learning new ways of schooling, shopping, getting around, excising, eating, and working.

This all takes courage.

Its easier if you have done step one, and identified what you really want. Give yourself permission to explore ALL opportunities rather than the safe option of repeating your old career.

I find it sad that as a child we are always asked what we want to be when we get older? This answer usually changes every other month depending on what we are enjoying or who inspired us. Take a moment to reflect back to your answers, to reflect back to the things you enjoyed when you thought anything was possible.

Step 3: Write down your ideal day or week

Get detailed, write out your average Tuesday, what time would it start, what would you be doing, who would you be seeing, write down all the must haves, and also must nots! Sometimes its easier to work out what you don’t want rather than what you want. Remember flexible work is growing more and more popular, so you have the opportunity to create a week that works for you. What type of office would you like to work from?

Or maybe you don’t ever want to work in an office again!

What type of people do you want to work with? How do you want to collaborate, or manage people?

How will you re energise throughout the day? What food will you be eating? Where? With who?

Step 4: Explore

The best way to continue your career abroad, whilst still having flexibility to work around children and travel is to work for yourself, either as a freelancer or starting your own business. This may not have ever been an option you have thought about before? But why not explore the opportunity?

Put simply all you need to do is develop skills that businesses need via the internet (i.e. digital skills). You then go back to your old professional network, or find a local businesses willing to pay you for that skill. Off you go! Its easier said than done but, ultimately, that's all it comes down to.

Step 5: Flexibility

Did I know what my ideal week would like at 35 years old? Absolutely not, I followed the traditional career advice of identify your passion, study it, volunteer, get a job, work hard = success and happiness!

Life got in the way, we had three children within 2.5yrs, we moved abroad, and my husband needed to travel with his work a lot.

I had to get creative, to think differently and to try new approaches.

Very few people know exactly what future they want to create, its hard for us to know what even exists?

Don’t get hung up on trying to work it all out, spend this time to learn more about yourself, to notice what do you do enjoy and don’t to practice designing different weeks, to rejig and redesign your perfect week after noticing different skills or things that make you smile.

The latest predictions is that we will all be living well over 100 years, so its never too late to get started either!

The key is to be willing to be open to new possibilities, new ways of working, and to give it a try!

Need a hand to actually make the transition? We believe that social media is one of the easiest and best ways to make the jump into the freelance world. Its simple to learn, there is a big skill shortage in it, its can be added to existing or new portfolio (photography, marketing, strategy, branding, training, HR & recruitment….) plus you can do it from anywhere!

Want to know more? Join our next intake of Global Intern programme, and lets get you trained up and ready to work from anywhere. Click the image below to learn more.

Expat Entrepreneurs - Karenna Wood

Source: Photo by  Olu Eletu

Source: Photo by Olu Eletu

What do you love about your current city, what makes it special?

I love the sunshine, the friendly people, the opportunities that weren't there for us in the UK but the main thing is the life and lifestyle here for our children. The rainy days are fewer and we're always outside and in nature.

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What things do you always ask your guests to bring out for you from home?

Hob nobs! Although I have now found them here. I also ask for a few things from Boots as I still have some favourite cosmetics and products that I love from the UK. Books are very expensive here so I buy a lot online and people bring me some. I also ask people for children's clothes from the UK as they are so lovely and a bit different to what you can get here!

In what ways have you changed personally or professionally since living abroad?

For my husband, the difference professionally was huge. He went from working in very small organisations to quickly being high up in large organisations. It massively expanded his opportunities and thinking. Personally, he was struck by Australia being a 'man's world!'. When we first arrived we took a big trip into the outback and he couldn't get over the size of the country, the size of the trucks and he's got really into 4WD and camping here which I don't think he would have as much in the UK. 

What are some of your personal highlights since living abroad?

Travelling around Australia, birthing and raising two little Aussies, having friends and family to stay with us and introducing them to Australia.

What was the trigger that made you start up your own business? How did you have the initial idea?

I've always been an entrepreneur at heart, making and selling jewellery and candles as a teen and always having a project on the go. When I moved here I embarked on a raft of new training and started my business really small. I'd say the trigger was actually starting my family as I wanted to continue to work but flexibly whilst I had young children

What areas of your business have you struggled with? Where and how have you got help for that?

Isolation is a big one so professional networks are important for that. Learning all the digital tools that are now necessary for business is also a challenge and it's a case of tapping into the right information online and avoiding the overwhelm!

What have been some of your business highlights / rewarding moments (why should others set up their own business).

My business is incredibly rewarding, I am very lucky. I help people when they are really struggling with fertility issues and also antenatally with information and planning for birth. Each client is a highlight. In terms of my business, being able to plan my work around my children and work from anywhere and at anytime is such a benefit. I can't imagine having to answer to an employer now!

What is the best bit of advice you can give for others wanting to set up on their own?

Just do it! It's easy to dream and and look at others and get 'compareitus' where you think you're not good enough but don't compare your beginning chapter to their middle. You are good enough, you have something great to offer and you will never know what will happen until you try. 

Have you adopted any new customs or traditions from various places you have lived?

Absolutely, you bring a little bit of all your life experiences and places into who you are and how you do things. Australians are very relaxed and open so I'm more like that now. 

What is different about your normal routine currently compared to what it would be back at home?

Just the sunshine mainly - it makes me want to be up and about whereas at home the grey and cold made me want to sit on the sofa and drink tea!

What is your:

Fav book: Conquering Infertility by Dr Alice Domar. She is such an inspiration to my work

Podcast: She means business - Carrie Green from the Female Entrepreneur Association. Listening to this at the gym fires me up!

Quote: Emotions are like waves, we can't stop them coming but we can choose which ones to surf!

Instagram account: I love that Instagram has become a place for women TTC (trying to conceive) to chat and support each other. So I can't pick a favourite but love all the ladies on there helping each other out!

If visiting your current city where are your favourite spots to go for:

Dinner: Sauma 

Drinks: Leederville

Day trip: Perth Hills 

Must see: Wineries, cideries and boutique farm-gate producers in the Perth Hills

Coolest Shop / Brand: Industrie - my husband's fave!

Best entertainment: City of Perth put on some great events in the city

Favourite way to stay fit: Gym and walking

If you could go back and give yourself advice what would it be?

Just try

For more information on Karenna and her business - check out her website:

Continuing your Career in South Africa

30 of us gathered to have great coffee without overlooking a car park, meet like minded people, and take the time to rethink our careers! It was a fantastic morning.  

I so wish that Hannah and Translating Me Abroad was up and running when I moved to Johannesburg 7 years ago. Hannah offers so many amazing resources to get settled in and enjoy this amazing city and country. I highly recommend getting involved!”
— Tessa Graham, Brand Strategist

“You have given me so much to go away and think about, thank you so much.”  

As people arrived at the brand new Milk Bar, just off Sandton Drive, they ordered their coffee, eat some delicious brunch and then had a fun quiz to introduce themselves to new people.  

With new friendships made, and tummies full, we sat down to be welcomed by Hannah Pirnie, founder of Translating Me and visionary behind the event. She challenged us all to widen our approach to our career paths, that there is a whole host of opportunities available that can meet our passions and talents.  

Expat Career

Tessa Graham, followed with her own personal story of how she has worked her way around the world reinventing her career, and applying for many visa’s.

Her tip - to work out your why, what it is that will motivate you and why you are doing it.

Catherine, originally from Ireland, shared how to refocus and humble yourself to re-qualify in order to practice professionally here, before Diana shared her story of starting up a blog.  

Nicola founder of the Facebook group Trailing Spouse, shared how she has managed to focus on personal development in every country managing to learn new skills through a variety of projects and passions. She encouraged everyone to get started in something.   

The panel were then joined by Hans a immigration expert to answer all the questions on the best type of visa to gain, and possible solutions forward.  

“The vision behind Translating Joburg is to encourage expats to leave Joburg in a better place than how you found it. By using your passions and skills to make an impact here. These monthly meetup events are just one of the many ways we aim to achieve this, through our Translating Joburg Membership Club.”  


Come join other passionate men and women who are creating their own side projects over in our Ubuntu Academy: 

We share training videos on: 

Creating your Website

How to Sell on Etsy

How to create $1000 a month by being a virtual assistant.   

For training videos and step by step tutorials on setting up your business - join us over in the Ubuntu Academy Now. 

Expat Entrepreneur: Veronika Nemeth

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Veronika Nemeth Founder & Creative Director at Style Coach . Veronika has recently set up her business in Milan. She shares her top styling tips with us, as well as what she loves about the Italian way of life. 

Veronika Nemeth.png

What do you love about your current city, what makes it special?

Milan has a very special atmosphere cause while it’s the economical and financial capital of Italy it’s also the most important city for fashion, food and design. It’s home to world renown fashion houses, furniture brands and exciting events so the city is always buzzing and never really gets boring. At the same time it’s a very liveable place with lot of green and lovely neighbourhoods that feel like little “towns”. It’s a great mix of cosmopolitan and classic Italian culture and therefore is easy for a foreigner to settle in.

In what ways have you changed personally or professionally since living abroad?

I lived in different countries all over Europe (UK, Germany, Luxembourg and now Italy) and worked with countless different nationalities along the way. This experience helped me in many ways. I became way more open minded and a lot more tolerant and it definitely made me a better person. Living abroad is a huge “comfort zone challenge” since you are put in a totally different culture and you have to “prove your worth” to be accepted. But it’s also a huge confidence boost cause if you manage to overcome the first difficulties you'll be much more prone to challenges. I always wanted to travel and live in different countries and work with different nationalities so I feel that it also helped me be more aligned with my true self.

What are some of your personal highlights since living abroad?

I think that wherever I went I managed to bring the best out of the actual circumstances but I feel that my experience in Italy was the most challenging. I arrived here with my Italian parter without speaking the language and having any personal connection. In 3 years I managed to learn Italian fluently, finished a post grad fashion course of my dreams (in Italian) and started my style coaching and image consulting business in one of the most important fashion cities in the world. Looking back it wasn't alway easy but I feel very proud of these accomplishments.

What was the trigger that made you start up your own business? How did you have the initial idea?

Actually, as soon as I relocated to Milan I instantly feel the urge to pursue my childhood dream and start a business in fashion. Few months before that I was with one of my girlfriends and we started clearing out her closet - something I often did in the past with friends and family. After hours of dress up we managed to ditch a large amount of clothes and created many new outfits. It was then when I realised that this passion for helping women look amazing could be taken to the next level.

What have been some of your business highlights / rewarding moments (why should others set up their own business).

For me business is about making and impact and helping women up level their lives. Therefore the best moments are when I see my clients come into their full power and shine. I’m still in the beginning, currently I’m working on refreshing my website and my packages in order to make it available to more women online. But recently I launched a free downloadable guide - Find Your Authentic Style that’s already impacting lives and also helped me to connect with more amazing women whom I can help to create a confident, authentic and stylish personal brand.

Can you share with us your top tips on how we can all look and feel great.

I believe that beauty in an inside job. You have to feel great on the inside to project happiness and confidence and it only comes when your appearance is truly aligned with your personality. When you feel good in your skin, your body language, your behaviour and even your facial expression changes! You don’t need to be a supermodel to have a great style. Simply learning what’s flattering to your body shape and what colors look best on you will help you to feel more confident about your appearance. Building a signature style also helps you in professional life cause it makes you more memorable and puts people at ease by knowing what they can expect.

What is the best bit of advice you can give for others wanting to set up on their own?

Be persistent and never let others influence your decisions. Listen to your “inner voice” and keep going till you see the light. The biggest lesson I learnt over the past years is that there isn't anything more powerful that being your authentic self. My business started to turning around when I gave up thinking that I had to please others (because it’s impossible to please everyone!) and just started focusing on the value I could give. Also, find your niche! You’re products or services and you in general in not for everyone and that’s OK. If you find your true self you will connect with the right people.

Expat life in South Africa

Have you adopted any new customs or traditions from various places you have lived?

It’s hard to say cause I spent entire summers in Germany already as a child so probably more than I think. But I might have picked up business culture in the UK (and later when working with Brits and Americans) and definitely the love and respect of food in Italy. Also, Italians know who to live a good life and that’s something that I’m learninig every day :)

What is different about your normal routine currently compared to what it would be back at home?

I think that my current routine is different mainly cause back home I worked in a stressful 9 to 5 while since I live in Italy I’m working on building my business so working from home. There’s one tradition that I really love here though! There’s a huge thing about the so called “apertitivo” that’s usually a “happy hours” between 6 - 8 pm, right after office hours but just before dinner. In Milan people are very social and they love to sit in a bar and have a drink and wind down before going home to dinner. The bars usually give you either finger food or buffet of various hot and cold dishes and they are filled with businessmen and women, youngsters and even seniors regardless of the season. In Italy people usually eat later than in the northern countries (around 8.30 - 9 pm) that’s also a little later than I used to eat.

When I feel homesick I ………

Call my mom :)

What is your:

expat life in South Africa

Fav book: There are so many! But most life changing - Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Podcast: Marie Forleo, Tony Robbins, Success Talks

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel - Maya Angelou

Instagram account: Dean Street Society - Hilary Rushford

If visiting Milan where are your favourite spots to go for:

DInner:  Casa Lucia (via Ravizza) 

Drinks: Roof top bar of Brian & Berry at San Babila

Day trip: Lago Maggiore

Must see: Top of Duomo (Cathedral of Milan)

Coolest Shop / Brand: Luxury - ANTONIA Boutique; Eataly - food & gadgets (+ for bargain hunters: D Trend - outlet of all Max Mara brand’s in the city)

Best entertainment: shopping, football (Stadio San Siro), opera (La Scala), museums (Triennale, Pinacoteca di Brera, etc.) + fashion and design events (Fashion week, Design week)

Favourite way to stay fit: walk + yoga

If you could go back and give yourself advice what would it be?

Don’t miss Milan on your trip to Italy. It might look less interesting than the classics (Venice, Rome, Florence) but you will be surprised how lovely city it is.

Also if you’re a business owner or and ambitious professional women, don't fail to invest in yourself. Determine your your style desires not only helps shop with ease & grace but it maven influence the direction of your business.  

To learn more about Veronika's business visit her website here:

Or on Instagram:


Come join other passionate men and women who are creating their own side projects over in our Ubuntu Academy: 

We share training videos on: 

Creating your Website

How to Sell on Etsy

How to create $1000 a month by being a virtual assistant.   

For training videos and step by step tutorials on setting up your business - join us over in the Ubuntu Academy Now. 

Meetup Wrap Up - Continuing your Career In Joburg

Wow - What a fantastic afternoon  

A sell out crowd gathered together in the beautiful space at Nice on 4th in Parkhurst to dream, plan and rethink our careers after moving to Joburg, and to learn more about how the global job market is changing.  A big thank you for capturing the heart of the event so perfectly - Caroline Miller

“What a wonderful afternoon, such a great event, I have taken so many notes, now I need some time to think it all through.” 
finding a job in Joburg as an expat
“It was lovely to meet so many new people, and to hear 2 great speakers, thank you for organising it all." 

“We haven’t been in Joburg long, so this has been a lifesaver, I can’t wait to come to more of your monthly events”. 

Each month throughout our social media channels we ask our readers to share their favourite place, item or experience. This month we asked:  

What is your favourite coffee shop ?  

(Click Here to share yours with us)

So we kicked the afternoon off around the same theme. Everyone was given either the name of a Jozi coffee shop, or a suburb, the task - to find your partner, and then learn about that particularly suburb or the coffee shop 😉. 

We all enjoyed the discussions that followed over a glass (or two of bubbles) and afternoon tea, scones, sandwiches, cup cakes, quiches and the most delicious mini pie’s.  

With new friendships made, and tummies full, we sat down to listen to inspirational speaker, business coach, and author Brent Spilkin who gave us background into the freelance market. How the world of work has moved away from the one dimensional single career with the same company for 30 years. To an average employment contract lasting just 2 years. He challenged us all to think through how we can use the professional knowledge we have gain in our previous careers and turn that into a freelance career. 

Brent recommended the following tools and platforms: 

Upwork -  
Freelancer -
We Roam  -
Paypal  -
Fiver  -
Payonear  -

For networking and collaboration - Slack find the best channels for freelancing.  

Accounting -  
Xero  -
Freshbooks  -

Set up your own website:  
Squarespace -   

Our second speaker - Heiko talked to us about the legalities of setting up a business here in SA as a foreigner and the tax and income rules and regulations.  

Throughout the afternoon the speakers were quizzed and mini discussions broke away around potential ways to move our careers forward.   

Our thanks to Munching Mongoose who sponsored the giveaways for us all.

To stay updated for future events and our top picks of things to experience in Joburg, come join our members club - here. 

“the vision behind Translating Joburg is to encourage expats to leave Joburg in a better place than how you found it. By using your passions and skills to make an impact here. These monthly meetup events are just one of the many ways we aim to achieve this, through our Translating Joburg Membership Club.”  
Hannah Pirnie 

Don’t Follow your Passion, Follow your Principles instead.

What do you call a person who relentlessly follows their passions and achieves all their goals?

A Sociopath

The internet is full of Guru’s telling us that when we are not achieving our goals and living our passion then all we need to do is refocus, set more attainable goals and remain committed to the end.  Whilst this may be true for some people it certainly cannot be true for all of us, all of the time.    

Sometimes life gets in the way.  

Things change.    

People change.

moving abroad, expat life

 I was thirteen years old when I first I dreamt of working in professional sport. I went to Durham University to do a sports related degree and when I graduated I took up a full time role at Saracens RFC. When a role with the architects of British Sporting success (Youth Sports Trust) came up I jumped at the chance to work on the London Olympic Legacy.   I was following my passion, my life was set out before me and I was very happy.  

Then my husband asked me to move to South Africa and my passion became my problem. 

 My sporting passion is about participation, experience and transition (life after Sport). In South Africa professional sport is about results, results and results- they believe(d) on field success to the only answer to increasing numbers both into the sport and through the gates. When I questioned professional sporting clubs and governmental bodies whether there could be another way, the answer was always the same: In South Africa things are different.
Maybe they are (they aren’t) and maybe they are not (they aren’t, but at least I am over it).

FREE BONUS - Download our quiz to identity your principles and personal values now.  


I knew my passion. I just needed a different approach. 

I started with a few small sporting projects, volunteering at sports organizations and consulting to government bodies.  Individually they were successful but it was hard work to convince people of the enduring need of such work. After a series of set-backs I started to suffer a loss in my own identity, which had been inextricably linked to my passion and my career.  I lost confidence, lost my voice and I became resentful.  

In the context where my life had dramatically changed and my passions where contradictory to national attitudes, the concept of pursuing the same passion or goals now seems frankly ridiculous.    

My passion was making me unhappy and stopping me from seeing the real joy around me.  It took me a few years to figure this out because we in the West are told from a very young age that we just have to follow our dreams/ goals/ passions to reach "success". 
The answer for me is quite simple most of the time. If following your passion is making you and the people around you happy then brilliant.  If you had a passion before moving abroad, or for whatever reason, following your passion isn't working out - or you actually have no idea what your passion is, then maybe its time to understand your principles, (or values). Trying to imagine the broader picture of the life you would like in 5 - 10 years time.  

Focus on your principles 
not solely on your passions.

My Principles: 

I want to enjoy and be challenged by my work, but still spend quality time with my family. I want to see more of my real friends and make new ones.   I would like to make a positive change to a few people’s lives but not necessarily change the world on my own.  I would like to be healthy and eat well.  I would like to travel and be comfortable.
They aren’t sexy or worthy of celebrity but they have helped me establish a broad platform for the decisions I make.  Furthermore my principles, and not fixed goals or targets, now shape my daily and weekly routine, which has led to a much more balanced and stress – free approach to life.  There is no more having to succeed at all cost, as I am now truly aware of the cost.   I and only I have control of my principles whereas goals are often as not reliant on a myriad of external factors.  

Lastly, my identity is now based on who I am and what matters to me and not what I have achieved or trying to achieve.
What are your principles?  Have you identified them?   How could refocusing change your life for the better?  


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