I can guess that you’re probably spend most of your waking hours working, whether you’re in an office, a workshop, a classroom or at home. And because so much time goes into your career, you want to love your profession, or at least like it enough so that it positivity impacts the rest of your life.
However, you may not find your true calling until after you’ve already given years (or decades) to another career track.
If you’re looking to switch gears later in life, here’s a six-step approach to starting a new career:
1. Do Your Research
You may dream of becoming a chef or owning a clothing store, but you may not know what those professions entail. Therefore, you should research what responsibilities make up the day-to-day of your new career, what kind of training or certifications you need, how viable the job is where you live (or where you might need to move) and how much money you can expect to make. This way, you can be sure you actually want to start a new career. When it comes to your job—your livelihood, more specifically—it’s always best to look before you leap.
2. Save Up
Especially if your new career involves starting your own business or owning a storefront, you’ll want to adjust your spending so you can tuck away extra money you might need for start-up costs and any gap in wages you’ll experience when you make your shift. Since you may need to start at the bottom and work your way up all over again, your salary could take a huge cut. To make this change less stressful, build up a healthy savings account. Even if it takes a year of saving before you start your new career, it will be worth the time you spent preparing financially.
3. Get to Class
Even if you don’t need to go back to school or get a certification in order to change careers, you may want to at least buy a book or take a class that will get you on track. If you want to be an entrepreneur, a business course could be very beneficial, for instance. Taking this step will not only give you the education you need to thrive in your new career, but it will also help you become more confident in your skill set when making this change, too.
4. Gain Experience
Pick up a night shift or work weekends to get some experience in your new field. You’ll want to get your hands dirty, so to speak, and really jump into your chosen career before officially making the leap. This may mean volunteering or interning, so don’t expect to make a lot of extra cash at first. The experience, however, will be invaluable. Not only will it help beef up your new resume, but it will also affirm that you truly want to make this move.
5. Make the Move
Once you feel ready, it’s time to officially move into your new career. Remember that any kind of change comes with it’s own challenges and growing pains, but the payoff is well worth it—particularly if your new profession fulfills a dream or makes you happier.
6. Be Patient
It can be tough to become the new kid on the block when you’re no longer a kid anymore. You might end up with a new boss who’s years younger than you or find that people underestimate your abilities since you’ve recently changed careers. However, you should take it all in stride. Be humble and courteous to those around you and let the quality of your work speak for itself.