It’s never too late to start a new career, go back to school, or get behind that startup you’ve been dreaming about. Luckily, the days are gone when people were “stuck” in career where they weren’t happy. However, starting from scratch can be overwhelming, especially if you’re already a seasoned veteran in another industry. It’s worth the risk, but only if you’re prepared.
First, find as many transferrable skills as possible if you’re thinking of a startup. Maybe you want to kickstart a commercial cleaning service in London, even though your professional background is in academic administration. Your business plan can serve as a catalyst for pinpointing transferrable skills such as organization, managing people, and keeping an office in check. However, that’s just the beginning.
1. Give yourself a reasonable nest egg building period
There are two extremes with a startup: Either you dive right in without saving or preparing at all, or you put it off indefinitely. Both are equally damaging to your future career. Instead, give yourself a set time limit within six to 12 months. Save as much as possible and even pick up a part-time job. However, once that mark is reached, it’s time to quit all other jobs and focus 100 percent on the startup.
2. Partner with the right people
Partner up with people who complement your skill sets and who share the same vision. Working with friends and family is dangerous, and chances are they’re not the best partners anyway. Network, reach out, and remember that views which are too similar can cancel each other out.
3. Use every free resource available
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Make use of free services like the Small Business Administration (SBA) which helps to locate potential funders and write business plans among many other things. Tap into your existing networks such as your alma mater, too.
4. Know your market
Passion projects are important, but not if they don’t have potential to pay the bills. Ideally, you can find a business you’re interested in and that has some serious growth potential. If you head down a dead end street from the start, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
5. Invest your own money and ask friends
If you don’t invest in your dreams, why would you expect anyone else to? While traditional bank loans, crowdfunding and the like are great options, also reach out to friends and family.
An equal balance of believing in yourself and planning is key to a new career.
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