What are the similarities between your work in the corporate world and your freelance writing?
I’m writing every single day! I always have to try and see where the opportunities are for the content to be different and not like “everyone else’s”. You need to make sure that whatever it is you are communicating is relevant to the people who are reading it, otherwise you run the risk of writing for yourself.
Everyone has a story and sometimes you need to be patient enough to listen to them. You need to be prepared to hear absolutely anything, because people at times will bare their soul to you and you need to be ready to hear what is being shared. Be grateful for the “editing” that’s done and be mindful of the different styles that editors have. Don’t take it personally, as hard as it is sometimes. Look for the opportunities to learn and do better, and recognise when it comes from a good and positive space, because it makes the world of difference.Everyone has a story and you need to be patient enough to listen to them @phumezamzai Click To Tweet
What inspires or excites you about both career paths?
It would have to be that there are so many opportunities in both spaces. What I loved about studying Public Relations is that it didn’t limit where you could go as a graduate. There are things I learnt throughout my studies that when I joined the workforce I immediately started using. I still tap into them on a daily basis and in some cases I explore some of the things I didn’t use that much then but I am now.
I appreciate what I learnt from my PR agency days a great deal and I am glad I started agency before switching over. Corporate is vastly different from agency –the sun and the moon kind of different. I’m learning more every day and realising how it’s not only important how the outside world sees your organisation but how the people who work for the organisation see and feel about it. It’s fascinating, hard but the learnings are slowly coming together for me, like the pieces of a puzzle.It's important to know how both the outside and people who work for you see your organisation Click To Tweet
For my writing, I would say what excites me is being able to meet and learn so much along the way. I would never have thought of myself as someone who was interested in technology and could string a relatively decent sentence together about a new product –but I did it.
I enjoy meeting the people that I write about. It’s such an indescribable feeling when someone shares so much of themselves with me during an interview. It really just amazes me how unique all our life journeys are. I have learnt a lot from the conversations and time spent with others. It motivates me even more to keep writing when I see their eyes glow when they talk about the things they are most passionate about or how they have overcome obstacles in their lives to get to where they are now. I recently started writing more educational pieces that have helped me with research. I’m also exploring more topics that I would not have ordinarily considered writing about.
What are your plans for the future?
There are a lot of plans! For this year specifically, the focus areas are to grow my new side hustle with my husband. We’ve recently started working at some weekend markets selling freshly-made smoothies, Langa Smoothies. It’s quite fun, very different for us but we’re enjoying it and learning a great deal in the process.
Definitely more writing, I have my growing list of who I would love to meet and write about. I’m always on the lookout for more writing/contributor opportunities, so I will certainly be applying for the ones that are a good fit for me and I for them.
I would love to travel more with my husband and incorporate my writing into that, share the life stories of the people we meet and also be able to make a positive impact in the process. There are a few more things in the pipeline which I will definitely share more details of as they happen. They are in keeping with my passions –I don’t know where the time will come from to do them all, but I’m going to give it my best shot and enjoy the journey.
What advice would you give to women who want to explore their passion which might be different from their corporate job?
Give it your all, put in the time, effort and learn as much as you can throughout the process. I would advise them to not hold back, to be fearless and brave enough to knock on those doors for opportunities. It is hard and at times disheartening, especially when there the answer is “no” but remember why you want to pursue your passion.
Also, be sure to have a solid support system going, the person or people who will keep you honest, will be there to bounce ideas off, and will share thoughts and opportunities with you. They will remind you why you’re pursuing your passion when you sometimes forget or even want to give up.
It is hard juggling your day job with your passion, but it’s important to not neglect one in pursuit of the other –and also not neglecting home life too. Trust the process, I never truly understood what that meant until certain situations forced me to learn to stop fighting the process. I still struggle with that at times but it’s about knowing what you want, having the game plan –let it be fluid enough for some tweaking along the way- working towards your goals and knowing (and believing) that it’ll come together when it should. This is was I firmly believe…when I’m adulting well.
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