Your Not So Typical Career Change: Interview with Sam Miller

Sam Miller, Founder and CEO , LIFE + ME

At Kate & Co, we are on a mission to help you to find work that you truly LOVE doing. We’re excited to share a series of interviews – “Your Not So Typical Career Change”. We will be sharing the stories of inspiring individuals who have taken the non-traditional career change path. Each individual has their own unique career change story, dealt with their personal challenges and hopefully, will inspire you to take real action in your own career change journey.

Our first interview starts with the truly inspirational Sam Miller who has gone from PR Director to Mental Health Worker to now owning her own business.

Meet Sam.

Sam is the Founder and CEO of LIFE + ME, a London-based marketing consultancy for positive lifestyle and wellbeing businesses.

1. What work did you do previously?

At 16, I was pretty set on a career in advertising. My career inspiration was from watching a film with Jennifer Aniston who’s character made it look like a dreamy career choice to my teenage self!

I went on to study a BA degree in Communications, Media & Culture. I landed my first paid job whilst still at University as a Press Assistant for a large UK publicist. The next seven-plus years saw me working agency side across a range of luxury lifestyle brands, where fierce ambition led me to become an Account Director at 25 years old.

It was only a couple of years later that the enjoyment and passion really started to dwindle. A sense of purpose and pursuit for more meaningful work became the ambition. Following my interests, I retrained in Life Coaching and then completed a University Certificate in Psychology. This led me to a big change, leaving my corporate job to work in the NHS as a mental health support worker.

2. What work are you doing now?

In May 2016 (a couple of months shy of my 31st birthday), I launched my own marketing & communications consultancy LIFE + ME, specialising in wellbeing and positive lifestyle. I wanted to help creative entrepreneurs and founders to think strategically in how they grow their businesses, but in a way that is meaningful to them as individuals. I wanted to help people find out about these great initiatives and brands, to be inspired and ultimately to improve their lives.

3. Why did you make the change?

Change is natural, it is a part of life especially in the current fast paced world we are living in. I must admit, I loathed the thought of change. I would much rather have stayed in my comfort zone, but inevitably at some point it happens. Therefore, I believe we need to change our relationship with change.

So why did I make the change to change my relationship with change? Because of a feeling. A feeling that I didn’t want to be doing what I was doing, a feeling that I wasn’t fulfilling my potential and that I’d lost a sense of purpose.

4. How did you go about making the shift?

The real shift happened when I started a Life Coaching diploma, which I studied alongside the day job as something I wanted to do ‘for me’. It taught me the importance of self-reflection, the practice of ‘checking in’ frequently can really give you insight and help you connect with who you are and what you want from life.

My career change shift included going part-time at work to allow me a couple of days a week to finish my coaching diploma, which then led to me studying for a University Certificate in Psychology. Working part-time is a really great option. Try having a conversation with your current employer or if that’s not possible, there are now a lot of flexible and freelance opportunities out there.

5. What didn’t go so well?

There were lots of personal development challenges in the early days, and I still experience lots of difficulties now, but they are part of the process! For me, the times when it wasn’t going well were times of feeling stuck and being in situations that didn’t feel progressive.

6. How did you handle your finances?

Cutting personal costs and not spending unless completely necessary. This is one area I believe going part-time really helped me to learn how to adapt to a lower income and still enjoy life!

When it came to starting LIFE + ME, I tried to keep my expenses as low as possible. This included a lot of DIY, like my website and logo. I also sought external advice, reading up around the subject area and making sure I always knew what was in the bank, going out and coming in.

7. What was difficult about the change?

Everything! And it still is, however, I don’t see difficulties in the same way as I use to. Of course as so much advice around the topic says, ‘if it were easy everyone would be doing it!’ But it does GET easier, you grow wiser.

You have to get used to working on your own and sometimes this brings about a feeling of loneliness. Also finding a work/life balance can be challenging. I found joining networks and going to events extremely helpful, from the people you meet to the topics you learn about, these communities offer support in all these areas and more!

8. What advice would you offer to those in the same position?

I LOVE quotes, I can’t get enough of them and one from Mandy Hale was a real game-changer for me. Simply the right words read at the right time… “Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens”.

I’ve kept this as my mantra throughout the years and have learned to trust that ‘if it doesn’t come to me, it wasn’t meant for me’. So my advice is to TRUST but also to be KIND. Be kind to everyone you meet, you work with, you encounter but also importantly be kind to yourself.

“They say ‘trust the process’ and I can’t recommend this enough.” – Sam

9. Are you glad you made the change? If so, why?

100%. What I have learned about myself, others and life during these years is over and above what I could have ever imagined. The things I have experienced, the knowledge I have acquired and inspirational people I have met has made me more fulfilled and alive.

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