Deciding that you need a career change can be a very daunting prospect, but it is important that you do not let these feelings of uncertainty deter you from taking this step towards increased fulfilment.
Before embarking on this journey, you should try to prepare as much as possible. Many of us have a variety of responsibilities – family and finances for example – that still need to be fulfilled during the transition period. In this article, I am going to share my top tips for making your career change as seamless as possible, so you can enjoy the ride and reap the many benefits!
Spend time planning
When the feelings of stress and unhappiness become overwhelming, it is easy to just want to quit everything right now and never look back. Whilst this will get you away from the negative feelings, you may not be able to easily transition into what you do now as you will not be prepared and those who depend on you in other areas will also suffer. Instead, plan exactly what it is you want to do, what you want to gain and how you are going to go about it before moving on from your current position. Not only will this lessen the fear of the change but you will feel infinitely empowered to commit to the transition.
Budgeting is a really important stage in the planning process. It is possible that you may end up taking a pay cut if your role is very different to your current position, or you may want to invest some money into your new business venture. Make sure you are prepared if this is the case and that you have thought about any additional costs that could arise along the way. If you are clear on the funds that you require to set up your business, you can then focus on how you are going to secure these. You could try freelancing whilst still in your current role as this will build your funds, portfolio and skills.
A period of reflection
Reflection is an important stage in the career transition. Career reboots can cause a whole host of emotions, from excitement to apprehension and even sadness, so taking the time to reflect and take stock during the process will help you to gather your thoughts and consider what it is your truly want. If you want to start a new business, this reflection time will help you to refine your vision and values, as if you are not clear on these then your customers won’t be either.
The emotional support and guidance of friends and family along the way can be incredibly helpful – however it can cloud your judgement if this is grounded in emotion rather than rational thinking. Consulting an external party can help you to take a step back to see things as they truly are and get an honest view of your career transition planning. Their expertise can help you to set realistic goals and milestones. You should always be in the driver’s seat of your career change, but don’t be afraid to seek guidance from others on the journey.
Spend time researching
Research is most definitely your friend when working through a career change. Before embarking on your journey into a new career, it is important that you have researched extensively into the field to ensure that it is definitely right for you. This could involve online research, connecting with industry professionals on LinkedIn or shadowing someone else in the field. Similarly, a new industry may require you to undertake additional qualifications and training to ensure you remain competitive with others in the area. You could do this whilst still in your current role to try to make the transition as seamless as possible.
The power of the side hustle
A side hustle can be a great avenue for helping to make your career change as easy as possible. Establishing a small business or freelancing whilst in your current role not only helps you to gain the necessary skills to be competitive in the field, but you can also raise the funds you need and invest them directly back into the business. You can also begin to build your client base and start to secure referrals if you can establish a respected portfolio. This can help you to road test whether you truly have the passion for the industry before investing all your time and money into it – if it does go well, a side hustle serves as a great motivator to push you to make the final leap into full time entrepreneurship. Success is not something that will happen instantly; if you can put in the necessary groundwork whilst you are not completely dependant on your business surviving, you will be one step ahead if you do choose to work on it full time. The side hustle holds great power in the contemporary business world especially for mothers looking to return to work, as they are able to start the business with as much time as they have available and can build this up if in the future as it offers flexibility.
By taking the time to thoroughly prepare, think through and research your desired career change, any feelings of apprehension that you may have will quickly diminish. A plan of action will keep you focused on why you want to pursue and new path and how you are going to go about it – so go forth and reap the benefits of a positive career change!
About the Author
Sarah Jones is a published author, leading speaker, and accredited leadership, talent development and team productivity coach. Born with an entrepreneurial spirit and an insatiable drive to help others find their happiness, accelerate leadership and executive performance, Sarah founded her coaching business, Sarah-J Coaching, after a successful career in PR to help people find purpose, meaning and direction in their lives and careers. Sarah is an NLP practitioner and holds diplomas from the Coaching Academy, accredited with the International Coach Federation, and Institute of Leadership Management — the Personal Performance Coaching Diploma, and a Corporate and Executive Diploma (both Merit). More information can be found here: https://www.sarah-j.com/