It used to be that people stayed in the same career path for most of their lives, not to mention with the same company. Now, however, people jump from one career to the next, and the average person will change their career five to seven times during their working life.
Thirty percent of the workforce will change their job or career once every twelve months. Changing career paths when becoming an entrepreneur is common as well, meaning the candidate will open a business in a different industry than they’ve been working in. While it is possible to do that, there are always roadblocks to avoid. Here are some simple tips that should be followed in order to avoid as many potholes as possible.
- Chase your dreams. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. A business opportunity might stand in front of you that you know you can do, but do you really want to do it? In most cases you’d be much happier chasing your dreams than you would be by chasing a job. Don’t change your career by opening a business that won’t make you happy.
- Be open to change. If you are considering changing your career in the first place this is probably a moot point, but how open are you? Things don’t always go the way you plan them to go, and you might find yourself having to change things quickly and on the fly. You need to be flexible, and open to doing whatever is necessary for your business to succeed.
- Know your goals. Think back to when you first entered the workforce. Are you where you thought you would be? If you’re not, and you are unhappy with where you did end up, you should take the time to figure out if those goals are still important to you and if your new business opportunity aligns with those goals. It doesn’t hurt to rewrite yourself, but it also doesn’t help you to rediscover goals that got lost along the way.
- Don’t look for shortcuts. While beneficial shortcuts do exist, going out and looking for them is a waste of time because they are few and far between. When you decide to change your career, you need to expect there to be a lot of hard work until your business starts to take off. In most cases things take even longer than expected, and because of this you should prepare yourself for a marathon rather than a sprint.
- Don’t just react. There are many reasons why people decide to change their career, and in some cases it’s a reaction to something that has gone on. While reacting still brings about change and moves you forward, most of the time it’s a process that should have been done a long time before. You don’t need a solid plan with all contingencies mapped out before you make a change. Sometimes you need to be brave, take the leap of faith and act. Even if they are small, imperfect actions, things will move along much faster.
- No apologies. Whether you are the most experienced person in your new field, or the greenest, this is the path you’ve chosen, and you don’t need to apologize for taking it. People won’t take you seriously if you don’t embrace the change and show confidence in what you are doing. It’s understood that you might not know everything right out of the gate, and you need to remember, the client or customer chose you, not the other way around, so show them what you can do. Believe in yourself.
- Reach out beyond your network. It’s good to know people who can help you succeed, but never make the mistake that the only people who can help you are the people you know. While it might initially feel awkward, reaching out to people more aligned to your new career path will help you will learn something new, and the people you meet will help increase your clarity, confidence and courage.
- Trust your instincts. Whether you believe it or not, you know yourself better than anyone else. Even if you don’t admit it, you intuitively know where you want to go and what you need to do in order to get there. Even if it makes no sense, trust your gut, because you will often find that it is leading you in the direction you want to go.
- Educate yourself. When you are ready to change you career, you may find that you don’t know everything you need to know. In some cases, the information is easily accessible online or at your public library, but sometimes you need to be taught extra skills or earn a certification. Don’t be intimated by going back to school to learn something, no matter what your age is. It’s always beneficial and will help give your career path an extra shot.
- Do it. There comes a time when you simply either must move forward and do something or stop talking about it. The longer you wait to make that career change, the more people won’t believe you and the less likely they will help you when you do move forward with it. If you do it and fail, at least you’ve learned something and can hold your head high. However, there is just as much of a chance that you will succeed.