From the EU to Digital Marketing

“I was feeling out of place, and lacking freedom.”

Image of Luca Tagliaferro
From the EU to Digital Marketing

Luca Tagliaferro craved more flexible work. Seeing a family member shift into a new field gave him the beginnings of a plan. Here's how he's moved into fast-paced, meaningful work that gives him the independence he always wanted.

What work were you doing previously?

I was an EU grants consultant in Brussels.

I helped companies apply to the European Commission for EU grants and use those grants to create new projects in the field of innovation and science.

I landed in this career purely by chance. My former girlfriend at the time was living in Germany and I wanted to move there, so found a Masters Degree in European Studies for a career in the European Institutions. I got a place, completed the Masters and then moved to Brussels to work.

What are you doing now?

I work in digital marketing.

I help companies grow their traffic online and create new experiences for their users to love.

How did you feel in your work before you decided to make the change?

I was feeling out of place.

While I loved my job, I felt there weren't many opportunities in that line of work. I was lacking the freedom to move around to different countries, such as Italy (where I'm from), Germany, the UK and Belgium; my future plans were looking very limited to Brussels.

Why did you change?

When the financial crisis hit the sector, I was made redundant.

After that I struggled to find new opportunities and started to do several temporary jobs. At first I became an Italian teacher, then worked as a barista.

These were jobs with very low pay; I felt I could use my time better.

When was the moment you decided to make the change?

After splitting up with my German girlfriend, I moved back to Italy to refocus and think about what to do with my career.

That's when I decided to plan a career that could guarantee me total flexibility, good money and remote working.

How did you choose your new career?

First I talked to my cousin who completed a Master's degree in the UK in Marketing, and who went on to have a very good job.

I also researched online to see what jobs were available for new marketing graduates.

I loved the internet so I opted for digital marketing.

Are you happy with the change?

Yes!

I've been working and growing in my job every year for eight years now. It's very fast paced. I feel I'm doing meaningful work for the companies I help, and I've become very good at it.

What do you miss and what don't you miss?

I miss working in an international environment, with people from all over the world.

I don't miss the formal and corporate world of the European Union offices.

How did you go about making the shift?

I travelled to London to university open days to find out more about new courses in Digital Marketing.

After getting lots of information from several courses, I made three applications and got two offers – one from Portsmouth and one from the London School of Economics. I opted for the Portsmouth Masters degree in Digital Marketing, simply because the costs were lower and the course was very practical. The course allowed me to work with real clients, so I could establish a good basis for a new career, with a portfolio of clients to show prospective employers.

What didn't go well? What wrong turns did you take?

For the first four year after graduating, I was a bit stuck in a company I didn't enjoy working for.

But I had the need to learn as much as possible at that time, so I decided to work for them until I was ready to move on to a better job.

How did you handle your finances to make your shift possible?

Luckily my dad was available to finance me.

I couldn't have done it without him and I will always be grateful for this opportunity.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?

I felt too old to start studying at 31 when everyone else was 21–22 years old.

I just couldn't relate to them.

I also started to work as an assistant in my new field when I was 31, where people who were 25 were my managers.

What help did you get?  

Apart from family help, I've just kept studying, learning and doing more courses online.

What resources would you recommend to others?

Start with speaking to family and friends.

What have you learnt in the process?

It's never too late to make a change!

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?

Plan your career with love, attention and much care.

Don't let your feelings get in the way during the shift process – be as efficient as you can, and never give up.

To find out more about Luca's services, visit www.lucatagliaferro.com.

What lessons could you take from Luca's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.

Plus, if you know someone who's made a successful shift into work they love, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at hello@careershifters.org. and you could win a £25 / $35 Amazon voucher in our monthly draw.