👋Hi, I’m Nicci Talbot, the founder of Firebird Studio. I’m a writer and digital entrepreneur. UX writing and content strategy.
The Shift is my weekly(ish) newsletter about our work-from-anywhere future and making a living online.
Your weekly dose of inspiration, ideas and solutions every Sunday.
My mission: helping you grow a global portfolio career and design a life you love. Building a borderless world of work with Plumia🌎 ✈️
The rise of portfolio careers
Squiggly Career, Solopreneur, Multi-Hyphenate, Side Hustle, Portfolio Career.
The concept has a few names and it’s been around for a while - it was popularised by management guru Charles Handy in his 1994 book The Empty Raincoat.
In the UK, of the workforce of 33 million, there are currently around 250,000 people who define their work as a portfolio career. This is forecast to be in the millions by 2030.
The full-stack freelancer
Full-Stack Freelancers are responding to a series of technology-driven trends — contingent employment, intensifying globalisation, and automation — by taking advantage of the other side of the coin: technology finally becoming powerful enough, cheap enough, and user-friendly enough to be deployed productively by a single individual.
They borrow freely — from tech startups, digital nomads, lifestyle designers, independent contractors, the sharing and peer-to-peer economies — but placing them squarely inside any of these categories is not quite right.
That’s because Full-Stack Builders manage a portfolio of income streams, not a job based on one set of skills.
It requires a skill that virtually none of us are educated for: portfolio thinking - Tiago Forte, Forte Labs.
It’s something that’s available to everyone. It can enhance your personal growth, creativity, and learning.
The burnout generation
So, how do we avoid burnout when work is a passion and we live and work online? Energy is finite and we need to respect that. As Anne Helen Peterson says, burnout is a societal problem, not a personal one.
We can’t do this forever. I think we’re gonna have to decide as a society and as a generation to figure this shit out.
We’ve made being busy and ‘always on’ a badge of honour, which needs to change.
I’ve been there with years of hustling and precarious work in expensive cities and it led to a diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis. I now work remotely and live in a coastal town for a better work-life balance.
A borderless battle for talent
Digital nomadism is growing fast - it’s predicted there will be one billion digital nomads by 2035.
Many countries have seen the potential and introduced nomad visas to attract remote workers. But the barriers of negotiating tax, employment law and insurance remain high.
What people are saying
👋I’m Nicci, the founder of Firebird Studio.
Firebird is a product and content studio supporting conscious work and culture.
My mission: Creating things people love and find value in.
Bringing more humanity and creativity to technology and business.
Solving your business problems using better communication.
Writing online since 1995✍️
Recent projects include UX writing for OMRON’s new health data app, a book for Nestlé: The Science of Growing Up Happy, and B2B content for The Portfolio Collective, GCVA, National Union of Journalists, and Hoxby. As a freelance journalist, I’ve produced multichannel content for many newspapers, magazines and websites over the last 20 years, and I’ve published 12 books on health and lifestyle.
I’d like to see more diversity in the media and flexible work for all so I’m a fellow of the RSA and an Officer at NUJ London Freelance Branch and Freelance Industrial Council.
I’ve been writing online since 1995 and nomadin’ since my 20s. Part-time for now as I’m raising a global teen and haven’t found a solution for education and community.
Have a read and please get in touch if this sounds interesting and you’d like to collaborate.
To offset the carbon emissions of my online business, I plant 12 trees every month and help fund climate projects via Ecologi. I encourage you to do the same in your country - see a list of climate action groups here. We have 10 years to sort this out - no time to waste🌍 ✈️