When you’re self-employed, changing careers isn’t just about looking in the local paper to see what jobs are on offer. You actually have the opportunity to continue creating your own work in whatever field or way you choose. Over the last few months I’ve been re-imagining the work I do (and importantly, could do) and I’ve written about it in this article that is published today at Flying Solo.
There is plenty of career advice out there for job jockeys who want to change their employer. But what about a career change for soloists? What do you do when you’ve lost heart in your business? How do you tell it “I’m just not that into you”?
I’ve been going through what those in the personal change industry call [adopt warm counsellor voice] a transition. I’ve been in my current field for seven years, just completed a qualification in a different field, and most importantly, have discovered another (yes, third) field that I’d rather be playing in. Sigh.
In a way, it’s exciting because like the kid in the candy store, I can see much joy ahead of me. On the other hand, part of me doesn’t want to let go of my current business. We’ve had so many fun times together. We’ve grown together. Spent so many late nights together. Parting seems intolerable.
So I’ve decided to go for Option 1.5 The Cake and Eat It strategy. That is, it takes the best aspects of each of my options (1. Stay and 2. Leave) and creates a new option, 1.5 my new brilliant career.
So how did I get here?
1. The thrill has gone. I think it’s common for your feelings about your business to change over its lifecycle. But when my feeling of unrest was joined by a lack of interest, I knew it was time for a rethink. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to ditch the business and do something different or if it just needed a bit of a rejuvenation jag.
2. The cycle of (work) life. Over the course of my working life, I have changed my career focus about every seven years. The lack of attachment to one, lifelong career has given me the freedom to move or shift as my life or situation changes. And as a soloist, I can act on a career change when I’m ready.
3. What next for me? Having made the decision that I was ready to move on (or at least sideways), I sat down and re-visited my values, purpose, strengths, interests, knowledge, skills and abilities – all those things that I personally bring to my work.
I asked myself: what am I interested in now? What’s important to me now? What aptitudes do I want to develop? All this comes together and forms my soloist capital or potential – something that I can access whenever I choose.
4. What next for the world? Here at Flying Solo, you’ll read a lot about business being about connection. Recent technology changes mean that connecting with people who are interested in your product or service is easier than ever. With the world in flux, new market needs are emerging every day, some of which will endure. For me, I see so many opportunities to address these needs with my unique mix of soloist capital.
5. Embrace my inner-entrepreneur. This is my favourite step as it’s about bringing it all together, creating something new and getting very excited. It’s the time of grand visions and audacious goals. Enthusiasm for what I’m doing not only means that I enjoy my work (yay), but it also goes hand in hand with being more productive. And I’ve found that people love to be connected to exciting things.
So I’m now putting Option 1.5 into action. I’ve taken aspects of my former business (the knowledge, the skills, the contact list!) and merged them with the opportunities (the excitement, the obsessive interest, the talent to be developed) and created something fresh: My new brilliant career.
And as a soloist, I don’t need to go out and find an employer who has a position like this. I am my own job creation programme.
This article first appeared in the online community for solo business owners www.flyingsolo.com.au