👋 Hey! I’m Nicci Talbot, the founder of Firebird Studio. I’m a writer and digital entrepreneur. Future of Work adventurer. UX and content design student.
The Shift: Your guide to running a successful minimalist business.
Your weekly dose of inspiration, ideas and solutions. In your inbox. Every Sunday.
My mission: helping people to grow a global portfolio career on their terms.
Ready to join the movement for career independence?🐦
1/ The rise of the portfolio career
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. A portfolio career can be one of a mission different combinations - check out The Portfolio Collective for some ideas, inspiration, and community.
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.
2/ The creator economy
Over 50m people around the world consider themselves creators despite the creator economy being just 10 years old. It’s the fastest-growing type of small business. There are now two million professional creators making content full-time – and 200,000 of these are writers, podcasters, musicians and illustrators.
Creators, we’re on the verge of the ‘Second Renaissance’ of the arts making this the best time in history to be an artist.
The internet is just 30 years old, and it has revolutionised the way we live and work. Jack Conte, CEO Patreon.
There’s been a societal shift in consciousness towards caring more about feeling fulfilled in our jobs, having control over how we spend our time, and being our own boss. The creator economy has led to more startups here to help creators find their niche and make a living.
3/ 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 hustle as a freelancer doing precarious work and living in expensive cities. My strategy is to work smarter not harder with scalable systems – writing as leadership, building in public, and creating digital products and services that offer high value.
4/ A borderless battle for talent
It’s predicted there will be one billion digital nomads by 2035. A new digital nomad visa is emerging, as smart countries see the economic benefit of visitors who work remotely. Many of these require significant earnings though e.g. the Barbados Welcome Stamp requires an annual income of $50,000 and local health insurance.
Post-Covid, as travel becomes more exclusive, we’ll have to be more intentional about it and try to ensure opportunities for all nations. We’ll see a rise in slomading - living in one place for longer and giving back to the community.
I want to see a lot more of the world in this way before I pop my clogs! My goal: to buy a villa in Italy that I can open up for writing retreats and personal development.
Connect with me on Nomadlist.
To offset the carbon emissions of this newsletter and 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 - there’s no time to waste🌍
5/ What people are saying
👋I’m Nicci, the founder of Firebird Studio. I’m a writer and digital entrepreneur. Future of Work adventurer. UX and content design student.
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 1998✍️
Recent projects include a book for Nestlé: The Science of Growing Up Happy, and editorial copy for Omron Healthcare, 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 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 an officer at the NUJ London Freelance Branch and Freelance Industrial Council. Promoting campaigns, events and training for 4,000 global self-employed members.
Networks include the RSA, Hoxby, Ness Labs, House of Beautiful Business, The Portfolio Collective, ProCopywriters, London Writers’ Salon, NUJ, and UX Writers’ Collective.
Have a read and please get in touch if this sounds interesting and you’d like to collaborate.