- Joanna Konefal
The best moment to turn down a soul-crashing job and set up your own company with purpose
5 tips on how to start a career change
Change your mindset
Take career advice
Pick one thing that speaks the loudest
Write a business plan
Create your own brand
The unprecedented events of 2020 contributed to the increase in first-time entrepreneurs both on the demand and supply side with emerging opportunities to connect online, need for services from home, evident importance of our health and wellbeing, need for flexibility to accommodate caring responsibilities, covid-related redundancies, to name just a few. If you have been daydreaming about setting up your own business, here’s a 5-step guide how to make it happen!
1. Change your mindset
Somehow, this year brings us opportunity to reevaluate what really matters - spending more time with friends and family, setting up healthy routines, working remotely with a better life-work balance, doing something meaningful and impactful as opposed to spending time on soul-crashing tasks 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week and what seems like infinity until one reaches the - ever increasing - retirement age.
A decision to shake up a status quo and make a significant change requires an open mind. If you feel you have been procrastinating for too long, consider this assumption - until you try, you’ll never know what you are capable of and how it makes you feel. Paid work requires a lot of our personal energy, and it makes a tremendous difference whether we engage this energy in creating something meaningful or purely routine. Maybe you will need to let go of something, in order to make (a mental) space for a change.
2. Take career advice
It may be the case that you have no idea what you want to do but you feel like the work you have done so far has never aligned with your personal values or brought you satisfaction. If that eats you up, by considering a change you have more to gain than loose. Consulting a career adviser may be a turning point. The way they work reminds of a psychologist - by setting a framework of questions they guide you in the process of evaluating what really matters to you in life in general, and how you can organise the professional life around it.
Alternatively, you may want to look for free resources to consider your choices such as local organisations supporting entrepreneurial initiatives, often in a pre-setup stage, for example Wenta, or global initiatives such as “Is starting a business right for me?” Bootcamp by Google Digital Garage.
3. Pick one thing that speaks the loudest
During the pursuit of a new career path a few years back, I came across an article online related by a man who completely changed his job profile. He gave a very sound piece of advice - if you are uncertain what to do, go with the one thing that seems you are naturally good at, genuinely interested at, or that ticks most of the boxes of your overall expectations. Just do it! There is no other way to find out if a new career path is for you unless you actually try it. Otherwise you can indefinitely consider pros and cons but as long as they are theoretical considerations, you make no real progress and accumulate frustration which may lead to a burn out.
So, sign up for a course, enrol in a degree, participate in workshops, step back and do an internship, start offering your new skills low profile, and define how much time you will allow before you decide if the new idea is working for you or not. And remember, you will not be an expert in the beginning but after a few months of trying you will surely have more information to decide than you had before you started. Even if the first choice turns out not to be a strong option for a change, it will most surely lead you to consider other options.
4. Write a business plan
An idea may be cooking for a very long time, say, after a year it may still sound like an exciting opportunity - but the world is not built on ideas alone, change is based on actions, which require: careful planning, considerations and strategy. Preparing a business plan is an excellent exercise to verify your business idea - for starters you will spend a considerate chunk of time on framing what it is exactly that you intend to do, how you plan on making it work, what resources it will require and how you are going to execute it. It transforms a dream into a formal plan backed up with a market research and verifies the viability of the project.
5. Create your own brand
If your idea made it past a business plan stage, and you came up with financial, marketing and operational details, next step to make it real is to create your own brand. Creating a visual identity - name, logo and content - will transform a concept born in your head alone into a recognisable and own-able brand ready to fill needs of your potential customers. The process of creation is one of the most satisfying things a human can experience. If it feels like a completely new area for you, reach out for help to make it happen.
You are now an entrepreneur who has validated his/her idea and created a recognisable asset that provides a solution to other people’s needs. It may be just the beginning of a new journey but you are one foot in it already!
Find out more about Green Choices Design and its background, as well as its founder’s 180-degree career shift from Sales & Management to Creative here.
Credit: headshot images used in banners by Anet Kava, a self-taught People & Portrait Photographer currently in transition from Admin to Creative - Instagram portfolio @pastellove.photography
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