Juliette Sivertsen communicates with people all over the world. Through her blog, Snorkels to Snow, she shares stories about her adventures in scuba diving and snow sports. But her communication skills extend to in-person communications as well, from public presentations to phone calls with clients. When she stumbled upon an opportunity to teach these interpersonal talents, she realized that many people struggle to master them.
Now Juliette teaches communication skills to all kinds of people, and is developing an online course to help her build a business around this crucial skill set.
In this first installation of our newest series, “Jobs for Travel Bloggers,” Juliette shares how she turned the job of “communication consultant” into a side business that she can manage alongside her travel blog.
What is a communications consultant and what are your primary responsibilities?
A communications consultant is someone who assists others in developing their communication skills. My role is helping employees develop their skills so they can be more productive and more efficient in their jobs with the aim of equipping them with the right skills to move into management or other roles they desire. They may have the right technical skills, but if they can’t communicate effectively with others, then their talents may go to waste.
My role is to help them with skills such as time management, confidence and self-presentation skills, interviewing techniques, communication with clients or management, how to deal with criticism/how to give constructive criticism, or how to appropriately and respectfully finish a lengthy conversation with a client.
How did you discover this position?
The position discovered me! I’m a ‘career communicator’! I’ve been working as a journalist and broadcaster for close to ten years. I have a Bachelor of Broadcasting Communications and worked and trained in a number of leadership positions both in my broadcasting employment and also outside of work in other pursuits, such as ice figure skating coaching and youth work.
A family friend needed some help with one of his employees and believed I could assist – three months later, my client’s colleagues were noticing huge improvements in his work and productivity, so it went from there!
What do you enjoy most about this work?
Results. Hearing from others about how a client has improved. Helping people realize their potential. Seeing clients learn to be self-motivated. It’s hugely rewarding. One of the great side effects of becoming a better communicator at work and becoming more productive is that it helps family life outside of work.
When clients learn to be better organized and regain control of their work life, their home life improves too as they are finding more time to spend and commit to marriages, parenting, sports and hobbies etc. It all helps create a more well-rounded, balanced lifestyle rather than feeling overwhelmed at work and exhausted in their relationships.
“Seeing clients learn to be self-motivated. It’s hugely rewarding.”
What do you find most difficult about this work?
Coming up with lesson plans! There’s no blueprint for the work I do. It’s about drawing on my own skills, expertise and knowledge and creating a format that is easy for others to learn. Also, stubborn clients who think they know everything and don’t believe they need to change. All talk and no action!
How has your experience with travel blogging helped in pursuing this career?
It all ties in to this world of communicating. Communicating with readers, communicating with clients and brands, communicating with others in the industry. Teaching others improves my own communication and presentation skills, which I believe is crucial to being able to connect with readers.
How is your time split between communications consultant and blogger?
Travel blogging (and other freelance writing) definitely takes up the main chunk of the load. The initial work as a communications consultant was probably about 40% of my time, yet netted 95% of my earnings!
However now that I have developed my own plan which I can use for others, the time spent is far less. It depends also on whether there are face to face or Skype meetings involved as they take up quite a bit of time too and take me away from blogging and freelancing.
Has your work as a communications consultant benefited your blogging endeavors?
Yes, in time management! I think most bloggers have multiple roles to earn an income so you have to learn to manage your time to dedicate the right amount to your blog and other pursuits.
Time management is extremely important in blogging — otherwise we’d just sit on Pinterest all day! Or at least I would, if I didn’t have some kind of structure to my working week.
What are your goals for next year as a communications consultant?
The next step, as well as getting more clients, is to turn this course into a proper online course which I can sell to people around the world and hold Skype consultations.
I’m not sure whether I can do that through my travel blog or if I need to develop a new site, aimed entirely at communications. But it is a balancing act between dedicating time to that and time to my blog (there’s that time management thing again), especially as Snorkels to Snow is still a baby in the big travel blogging world.
“You need to be able to find that tiny little piece inside a person that drives them to wanting to improve their life – whether that’s a pay increase or simply more energy to be a parent at the end of their work day.”
What are the most important skills or characteristics for someone who wishes to pursue a similar career?
It might sound obvious, but communication! You have to know how to communicate with people from all walks of life. Training and study in communications is essential, not only to be able to teach it but for your own credibility. Potential clients need to know what makes you so special to teach others about communication.
You should also know how to motivate others, and teaching skills are helpful, too. You need to be able to give constructive criticism while still motivating clients and helping them develop a positive mindset. You need to be able to recognize everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, then encourage clients to turn perceived weaknesses into just another hurdle to overcome.
You need to be able to find that tiny little piece inside a person that drives them to wanting to improve their life – whether that’s a pay increase or simply more energy to be a parent at the end of their work day.
You can catch up with Juliette’s (and John’s) adventures on Instagram and Twitter.
Stay tuned for our next installment of Jobs for Travel Bloggers where we’ll explore what it’s like to be a local tour guide!