“The biggest, most difficult obstacle on my journey is myself, really! For too long I was afraid to do new things because I was too afraid to fail.”
shares expert on blogging, content marketing and social media who lectures at the prestigious University of the Arts London.
Uncertain about her future, Hana took a brave step and followed her partner (now husband). Love guided her to London. Little did she know that one day she’d be teaching in this cosmopolitan city and help people to turn their love and hate relationship with social media into a breakthrough experience. Hana helps personal brands go big on social media and get visibility they want.
In this interview Hana shares how she overcame her challenges, what work and life balance means to her and more. She will also give you some tips how to manage your career change successfully.
Where do you come from and where are you based right now?
I’m from Slovakia and I live in London, United Kingdom. I was brought here by rare circumstances – in late 2013 I moved to Prague, Czechia with my then-boyfriend and almost immediately, after 10 years of dating we broke up. I was determined to stay in Prague because I saw there were far more opportunities for me than in Bratislava, Slovakia.
At that time, I owned a fashion “blogazine” and managed a team of editors. I always liked writing but this project, which I started when I was in the last year of high school, introduced me to digital marketing. Besides blogging, I adapted skills in social media and they became crucial after the big breakup when I desperately needed a job.
In Prague, I got the position of a social media manager for a company selling designer accessories for Apple products. I soon became the head of marketing, managed email marketing campaigns, and helped to translate content to other languages with a small team of people.
I mostly worked from a co-working centre Impact HUB Prague. The community leads noticed my skills and asked me to do a workshop about blogging. Needless to say, this opened up a whole new world of opportunities for me.
As a child did you have a dream job?
Yes, I think so – I don’t know how I came up with it but I decided that “I wanted to write two books”. I’m not even sure why I put a number on it but that’s not important. An adult would say I wanted to become a writer.
I’m lucky to say I already accomplished my childhood dream and I self-published two books. One is a children’s books, the other one is a collection of short stories for adults. They’re stories about millennials navigating through the world of social media with all the awkward moments that come with it.
When and how did you discover your talent and direction for your dream job?
It was a journey, progress, and it took time. But at some point, I got fed up with myself and simply saw my work and career as a choice. It was after I published the children’s book about which I cared very much but I had no audience and the whole thing, at least in my eyes, failed.
I was focused on the creative part and really enjoyed it and I was also lucky to get support and organise two book readings, one in London and the other in San Francisco. For the latter one, I had around 40 people and at least 2/3 of them were children, attending the book reading. Yet when I got home to London, I felt completely empty and nothing made sense.
I fell into a period of anxiety until I saw I had to make a choice about what’s next. First, it wasn’t easy. I used to have a love-hate relationship with social media, despite I was good at it. But there was something that was pulling me towards it.
It was the fact that I saw I could make a difference – not just with doing audits, workshops, and creating strategies for companies… But also by helping people have peace of mind around it.
So many people are triggered by social media. It’s a new concept, and we’re just guinea pigs testing it. It causes a lot of upset for many people and miscommunication. We tend to blame it for our problems but we forget that it’s not the technology to blame if we made it. And this is where I make a difference, on top of delivering results.
What is your ideal job now? Why you do what you do right now?
I’ve learnt that there’s no ideal, it’s just work and doing the job.
Of course, I have my favourite parts but I’ve learnt that it’s all parts that make my work. Some of them, let’s say, I haven’t befriended completely but it’s all a matter of time and work.
If I had to choose one thing I enjoy the most, it’s delivering the training and consulting. It doesn’t matter who’s my audience. I teach courses for a wide public at the University of the Arts London, lecture marketing at an Italian fashion university Istituto Marangoni, then I have my own clients – typically small to medium-sized companies who need training for their marketing team…
I love the idea of giving something useful and practical to people, especially when they come with a certain attitude.
In the past, I used to hate sales and closing them. But I knew that if I wanted to make money and prosper, I’d have to learn it. Despite I’m not the best salesman in the world, probably far from it, I’ve grown keen on the idea that sales is a service. When I go to a shop and want to buy a pair of shoes I love, someone has to sell them to me and if that happens, that’s service. It was a matter of looking at sales through a different lens – it’s not about being salesy but about showing the best options and letting people choose what they want.
Work and life balance – what does it mean to you and how do you keep it?
I came to the point that there’s no such thing as work and life balance. You live only one life and your work is a part of it, just as having dinner or going out with friends.
Sometimes I work more, typically September till December is a busy period full of training and I have to give up other things. As they say, you can do anything but not everything.
For me, it’s all about what works. At the moment I find that my balance is going to the gym 4-5 week, working the whole day, cooking dinners, and doing absolutely nothing on Sundays. I love my work and I love to rest equally – it just probably doesn’t come in an equal number of hours.
What have you learned on your dream job journey (what was most difficult to overcome)?
The biggest, most difficult obstacle on my journey is myself, really! For too long I was afraid to do new things because I was too afraid to fail.
It stopped me from progressing as well as delivering my service to people. I remember one particular course at the University of the Arts London on which I failed miserably. The circumstances on that day were bad – the lifts and the wifi didn’t work, I felt sick, but most importantly, I came underprepared and didn’t deliver.
When I saw the feedback, I was shocked and thought I’d be sacked. Thankfully, the university was very supportive. I was determined to improve and decided that my materials would be always impeccable and up to date (in the world of social media, the latter is a challenge).
Then I worked on my delivery until I’d knew it from the heart. Finally, I worked on the interaction with the group. I can easily manage a course with 25 people and make it feel personal and interactive. I learn names quickly and make sure I crack a joke early, so the ice can melt quickly. Today, even the biggest social media hater will leave my course seeing potential in it but most importantly, feel at ease with it.
My last few courses ended with applause, which I see as a huge success considering that the typical audience is very varied and between 25-55 years old and everyone comes with a different intention.
Which 3 tips would you give to someone who is right now considering changing jobs or career?
My first and most recent tip coming from my experience is that don’t worry if you DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING right away. You can learn anything, no matter how difficult it seems.
Which leads to my second tip, be PATIENT and do the work. I once had to deliver lectures for eight weeks on economics, simply because the university had no lecturers and I seemed the closest person to deliver. Needless to say, economics is far from marketing but I had no choice. I worked long hours, studied, prepared, and I did it! As they say, it seems impossible until it’s done. And the first four weeks seemed impossible – I almost stopped breathing when I saw the unit handbook and I was waking up three times at night before the lectures.
My final advice: ASK other people for advice and help when you need it. There’s no such thing as a silly question and I always found that people who are skilled, experienced, and busy will make time for you. And if they don’t, just keep asking – there is someone who will help you get through difficulties and get out of them faster. It’s worth taking the risk that they’ll say no.
Author: AdriAna Kosovska
Professional and certified coach & founder of ZERO TO DREAM JOB ACADEMY
I work with employees, couples and organisations that care about
Stress reduction | Talents and strengths development | Dream job