Portable career by Jo Castro

Yay! It’s Bloggie Friday on ZigaZag

Looking for a portable careers, but don’t know where to turn?

Need some tips about the way to go? You might find this post, Finding your Career Path a great place to start.

Have you thought about blogging? It really can be the perfect portable career, and as I was reading a fantastic book called A Career in Your Suitcase, recently updated and in its 4th edition, I realised how much of the information can be applied perfectly to Blogging.

A Career in your Suitcase is written by publisher and professional writer Jo Parfitt  and expert career consultant Colleen Reichrath-Smith.  It’s available to purchase here on Amazon: Career in your Suitcase

Career in Suitcase, Portable Career

Jo has lived as an expat for many years, and funnily enough we have known each other virtually since about 1998 when I was living in The Philippines as an expat. I’ve always been impressed by Jo’s drive and energy to turn challenges into opportunities, and since then she’s written countless books, set up a publishing business, and given talks and lectures all over the world.

Why would this book have been useful to me back in the day? And why it could be useful for you now.

Many moons ago I was caterpaulted from the safety of country life in England’s green and pleasant shires to live in Kathmandu, Nepal with my then five month old baby.  It was a shock to the system and at times I felt totally alienated and alone, but this was a feeling that I would get used to because my husband is a geologist and his work would over the ensuing years take us hopping across continents and countries often faster than a life with the military.

In those days we didn’t have the internet. In fact our little house in the foothills of the Himalayas was three hours from the nearest doctor’s surgery and forty five minutes from the local food market and we didn’t have a phone, landline or mobile.

Nepal by Dave Castro
We lived in the foothills of the Himalayas when my first son was a baby

I often felt isolated and without hope of ever regaining any vestige of a career. How wonderful it would have been if I had access to a resource like A Career in Your Suitcase because it would have really motivated me to be proactive.

The book takes you step by step in a logical way to understanding not only your personality, temperament and motives but also how you can adapt and modify some of your life skills so that they fit the needs and the market you find in each new location.

Full of helpful hints, tips and lists

I wish I’d had an inkling of the types of career that I could have had during my years abroad, and I wish I’d had this book as a resource for networking. There are some seriously helpful tips about networking, which would be of great benefit to bloggers too. Read the book and you’ll see what I mean. It’s easy to read and choc-a-bloc with helpful hints, tips, lists and questions to make you think.

Types of Portable Career

Jo lists an interesting selection of portable careers, and as  bloggers I think these careers are all useful as either subjects or services that you could blog about too

“Teaching, Virtual Assistance, Coaching, Network Marketing, Online Trading, Therapy, Counselling, Hairdressing, Beauty, writing, editing, proof reading, social media manager, graphic design, website design and maintenance, anything online, art or photography,  or Subject Matter Expert.”

What are Portable Careers?

Jo Parfitt
Jo Parfitt

Jo says that  portable careers should be based on your passions, the things you love.

Beyond that you need to look at what you think your true purpose is, along with your career evolution and what you need from your career. In the book you’ll find all sorts of useful check lists for things like setting goals and understanding your strengths and weaknesses, and the importance of joining groups and associations.

If you look at a shortened version of Jo’s list of requisites for  portable careers, below, you can see why blogging is a perfect fit.

It expresses your values

It uses your top favourite skills and talents

It can operate in more than one location

It is flexible enough to be adaptable to new opportunities and markets

It allows you to build a global network that is not lost when you move

It fits around your other commitments and life responsibilities


Jo and Colleen identify ten major steps to finding a career in your suitcase. And for bloggers, I think these can be equally applied when you are looking for a Blogging niche and keeping on course. Here are just five of those they mention in the book:

1. Find your passions, values, mission and meaning.

2. Assess your skills, talents, strengths and uniqueness.

3. Adjust your career to fit your current location and the opportunities it holds.4. Create the marketing materials you need (CV, website, cards, brochures).

5. Make it happen by setting goals, staying motivated and developing the self-belief and confidence you need

In looking for her own portable career Jo Parfitt looked carefully at the local market in whichever country she was in, to see where the gaps lay, or where she might find the most luck.

She found the following key skills and values had all grown form her passions. Why not check this (shortened) list that appears in full in the book, and see if there are any skills and values that ring true for you and which you could apply to your blogging?

• Creativity

• Writing

• Helping people to grow

• Communication

• Computer skills

• A love of food and cooking

• Connecting people through informal networking

Jo says that if you want to be true to yourself, you need to consider your values as well as your passions. Values for Jo right now include:-

• Sharing

• Supporting

• Making a difference

• Using my passions

• Interacting with people

• A balance of introversion and extroversion

• Being accessible and affordable

• Developing a specialism within a variety of projects

Do any of those values ring true for you? Are you, or could you incorporate them into your own blogging mission statement? Or are there others that might be more important to you right now?

Apart from offering an enormous amount of useful information for anyone looking for  portable careers, A Career in Your Suitcase also offers an awesome reading list which bloggers also would probably like to dip into. Just a few that I’ve earmarked to read from Jo and Colleen’s ( long) lists include the following, but do read A Career in Your Suitcase to find a selection that might better suit your own needs:-

B Sher, I Could Do Anything if I Only Knew What it Was, Dell Publishing

P McGraw, Life Strategies, Hyperion Books

J Clark, The Money or Your Life, Random House

J Parfitt, Expat Entrepreneur, Summertime Publishing

J Parfitt, Release the Book Within, Summertime Publishing

J Parfitt, Find Your Passion, Summertime Publishing

J Parfitt, Forced to Fly, Summertime Publishing

M Landes, The Back Door Guide to Short-Term Job Adventures, Ten Speed Press

N Anderson, Work with Passion, New World Library

N Snelling & G Hunt, Laptop Entrepreneur, Summertime Publishing

C Handy & E Handy, The New Alchemists, Hutchinson

C McConnell, Soultrader, Momentum

M Sinetar, Do What You Love and The Money Follows, Dell Trade Paperback

A Career in your Suitcase is written by Jo Parfitt & expert career consultant Colleen Reichrath-Smith, and it’s available to purchase here: Career in your Suitcase at Amazon

Do you think Blogging makes a perfect portable career?

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  1. Pingback: Inspiration to be proactive | Career in Your Suitcase

  2. I think I need to grab a copy of this book Jo to help create my path forward. I might not have a transient lifestyle, but I think this book could be a valuable help. Yes, blogging is a great career for people who travel. As is freelance writing. I am slowly starting my career in freelance writing, and looking forward to the day writing and photography will be my full time work. Thanks Jo.

  3. Pleasure Jill, and yes I think the book is helpful for anyone who wants to have a career away from a traditional working environment.

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