Career shifts can be fraught with mixed emotions – ask me, I know. I had a great career that was progressing beautifully, but I felt unfulfilled. It was a good career, but there were limitations; limitations that impacted the pursuit of my passions, my time, and my life. I had to constantly find ways to balance work and life. Eventually, I quit my job and decided to go out on my own.
It Was Time for a Career Shift
Making a career shift is easy when all the pieces are in place, but let's face it – things rarely happen in the easiest way. Perhaps things are sometimes challenging so that we can get to know ourselves better and become more convicted about what it is that we really want. See, when everything works out perfectly, there is no need for us to stretch and reach higher, grow and learn. What would life be without expansion?
Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Whether you are making a career shift by choice, or through necessity, it can be pretty challenging. You may feel that it is safer to return to the old way of life, while at the same time feeling that your dream career is within touching distance. I urge you to stick it out and keep pushing. Don't give up!
Tips to Make Your Career Shift Happen
Today I'm going to share some of the things I learned during my career shift. They should work for you, whether you're returning to work after becoming a mommy, changing your career focus, or going out on your own.
1. Low Confidence?
If you're feeling unsure of yourself, you may want to remind yourself of why you wanted to start your new business. Are people always saying, "You're so good at this. You really should start your own business."? Hang around them some more!
Returning to work after a long period away? Connect with your former colleagues. They will remind you of your capabilities and you'll feel confident in no time.
In spending time with people who know you, they may point out transferable skills and opportunities where your talents may come in handy.
2. Set Goals
“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym
Create objectives that you'd like to achieve and work out which actions you need to take to make it hapen. Remember that you don't have to jump at everything that comes along.
No matter what your goal, whether it is charity, volunteering, entrepreneurial or formal employment, there is a network for that. Be sure to pick the right network, formal or informal and start to mingle with like-minded individuals in order to market yourself and your business. Research has shown that men network more naturally and it is something many women have to work at.
Networking may seem intimidating if you have been out of circulation for a while, so you may want to choose a more structured networking event to start with. You may find an event with a clear agenda most suitable to start slowly spreading your wings.
4. Social Media
Social media is a great tool for your small business brand message to grow and spread quickly. Be sure to choose the right social media platform for your needs:
- LinkedIn: Ideal for those offering business-to-business services, or looking for employment.
- Facebook: Perfect for those offering business-to-consumer products or services.
- Twitter & Pinterest: Suitable for graphic brands with short messages.
There are other social networks that are geared towards specific industries, where you can connect with people in your industry.
5. Follow Up
Your word is your bond. If you don't want to be bound, then don't make promises you don't intend to keep. Honor all your commitments.
6. Be Professional
Professionalism is key in any career path you choose, be it formal or informal. Communicate in a professional manner and even if you meet a networking contact for coffee, be sure that you approach that as you would a business meeting.
7. Be YOU!
Know yourself before you set off on a path, as you are more likely to achieve success if you do something that is close to your heart and in line with your core values and intrinsic desires.
Have you recently experienced a career shift, or are you planning one? Leave a comment below, as we'd love to hear from you!