How to Use Personal Branding to Get a Life, Not a Job | Personal Branding Blog - Dan Schawbel

I just finished reading Get a Life, Not a Job: Do What You Love and Let Your Talents Work for You by Paula Caligiuri, PhD. As a career book, Get a Life, Not a Job was fabulous – full of bullets, lists, summaries and exercises. Overall, it was an incredibly easy and useful read. But more specifically, Dr. Caligiuri got me thinking about how the book can be applied to personal branding.

What Are “Career Acts”?

Dr. Caligiuri explains the concept of career acts like this:

I believe people should have multiple sources of income – or career acts – based on the things they truly love to do or enjoy. Ideally, you should think about managing your career in the same way you’d manage your investment portfolio – diversify.

If you receive all of your income from one source – the classic 40 hour per week employer – you should make sure it is secure and be sure you are doing something you enjoy. Most people need greater diversification for commensurate satisfaction and financial security.

Sound familiar? I’ve discussed this before in my post about dueling personal brands.

On Any Given Day, 75% of Working Americans Would Consider Changing Jobs. Are You One of Them?

I think we’ve all been there.

No matter your reason for wanting to add a career act – financial security, boredom, etc. – Dr. Caligiuri gives many great tips for getting their successfully.

Approach 1: Leverage Your Expertise or Talents

What do you do or know that would be valued by others? What is your area of expertise, something you know more about than others? What skills and abilities do you have that you can leverage?

If that doesn’t scream “personal branding,” I don’t know what does! So, if you want to add a second career act, one approach is to leverage what you’ve already got going for you – and a brand you’ve likely already started building.

Approach 2: Expand a Hobby, Interest, or Passion

What do you enjoy as a hobby? Do you have any passions or interests that could be expanded into a side business?

Chances are, this approach is going to be a far cry from your “day job” and/or current personal brand. But, if you’ve built a personal brand before you can do it again. Or, if you’re a personal branding newbie, is definitely the place to be for advice!

Approach 3: Pursue an Occupation

Occupations are a series of related jobs within job families that share a set of knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Here Dr. Caligiuri is talking about something that might involve you going back to school to get additional training. This approach could be extremely costly and time-consuming, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it in the end.

Approach 4: Generate Sources of Passive Income

How much time do you want to spend engaging in career acts?

If the answer is “little to none,” then this approach is probably best for you! Examples of passive income include royalties, affiliate marketing, and rent.

I put out a new e-book approximately every six weeks as a source of passive income. While the e-books take time and money to produce originally, once they are out there, I can pretty much just sit back. I’ve built a strong enough personal brand that people (1) know when my next one is coming out and (2) trust the content I provide.

Do you currently have multiple career acts? Do you feel multiple career acts are right for you?


Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, an exclusive online community connecting the best internship and entry-level job candidates with the best employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist for and blogs about career advice at

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