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How to change career when you don't know what to do

How To Change Careers When You Don’t Know What To Do

How to change career when you don't know what to do

It’s hard enough making a career change when you know exactly what you’d rather be doing but what if you have no idea what you want to do? Same is true if you want to move abroad but need to make a career change to make it happen- what can you do? Here are some ways and resources to help you discover a fulfilling career path more efficiently and more quickly than if you try to wing it and figure it all out on your own.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

When I was a kid, I had lofty career goals. First I wanted to be a ballerina, then an airline stewardess, a CIA or FBI agent, an actress and a slew of other romanticized jobs. I never considered the economic consequences of these jobs let alone if they would make me happy.

When it was time to attend University, I took a less romanticized approach to my career planning. I chose to major in Economics-not because I had any particular love for Economics but because I thought it was the prudent thing to do in order to land a good paying corporate job after graduation. It seemed like a good idea at the time based on the information I had about the workforce- which was close to nothing.

8 years into my career, I was making a good living working mainly in corporate finance and accounting but…..I felt unfulfilled. I knew in my gut that if I didn’t change career paths soon, I would eventually begin to loath my job and my life. I didn’t want this regret looming over my head.

My career change mistakes and successes

image.pngFor one of my career changes, I decided to open up my own eCommerce shop selling adorable forest themed sleeping masks which I made by hand. In addition to my online shop, I also sold my sleeping masks on Etsy, small specialty retail stores and at local craft fairs.

It was a lot of hard work but for the most part I enjoyed every aspect of my business until it came time for a little vacation. I realized my handmade business, which requires a sewing machine, bolts of fabric and sleeping mask inventory at all times isn’t exactly the best business to run for someone like me who loves to travel and wants to travel more often.

Although it wasn’t obvious to me at the time, my e-commerce shop was a stepping stone and just part of my zig-zag career path journey that would eventually lead me to my idea career and job in digital marketing.

Digital marketing or web marketing as some like to call it, is perfect for me because it takes many of my skills, my interest and passions and combines them under one umbrella. Things like analytics, HTML coding, web graphics, writing and research. I don’t need a physical inventory and I can do my job from anywhere including remotely from France as long as I have a computer and an internet connection- perfect for wanderlust heart.

shark_domo_sleeping_mask_lenekonoir_008.jpg15 years and a couple of career changes later, I’ve figured a few things about career changes mainly from trial and error.  I’ve made a bunch of career mistakes along the way so I’m no expert by any means but I learned from those mistakes. At the same time, some of the mistakes I made could have been avoided and I probably could have arrived at my idea career choice faster had I done a few things differently.

If I had to do it all over again and time was of the essence, here are some of the tools and resources I would use to find the best career path for me.

5 ways to find your idea career path or the perfect job when you have no idea what to do

Rosie the reveter changed her career path

A career change can take time but you can shorten that length of time considerably by doing a bit of self-reflection. Take it from me- you don’t want to skip this step, especially if you are unsure what new career path you want to take.

It can save you the headache of choosing a new career which you thought you would enjoy only to discover it doesn’t match your lifestyle goals, your interests or your abilities.

1) Take a test to see what jobs will make you the happiest

Depending on which career tests or personality test you take (also known as psychometric tests), certain factors are taken into consideration to determine the best jobs for you including your ambitions, your life goals, your motivations, your self-reported skills, your personality type etc. These all get mashed together and out comes a list of “best potential careers” for you to sift through and choose for further research. These psychometric assessment tests cannot however tell you which single job is THE BEST ONE.  Remember, these are tests which are question and answer based, and you may be well suited for several different careers. It’s up to you to figure out from the list which if any are the best match for you.

There are so many tests you can take but here are a few to get you started.

Personality tests which you can take right now.

Jung Typology Test

Finding Potential

Career tests which you can take right now.

Career Fitter

MAPP™ assessment

2) Work with a career coach / counsellor

In addition to or instead of taking a career assessment or personality test, you could work one-on-one with a career coach. Before you scoff at the idea, think about this.

Even the best golfers like Tiger Woods need an expert coach for continued improvement. Similarly, a career coach can help you improve your efficiency in searching for that perfect career change or job by providing you with expert advice on how to plan your career change.

A career counsellor can also guide you in making an action plan, deal with the emotional side of a career change, boost your confidence, re-define your career goals and recommend courses or training you might need. All things which a career test or personality test can’t do or can’t do as well.

When choosing the best career coach, make sure you choose one that is experienced and trained. Expect to pay anywhere from 100 to 500 dollars per session. Yes it is pricey however when you think of the long term ramifications- happiness in your future job vs staying in a job that you are not well suited for, it might be worth it for some individuals.

3) Research your potential jobs

Once you’ve discovered the best possible career matches, you’ll need to do some practical research about those jobs.

Either way, here are a few things you can do to learn more about the potential jobs which you might want to do.

  • Interview other people who are in the job role which you want to do.
  • Job Shadow someone who is in the role you want to do.
  • Search career websites for more information about the job you are looking into. You can discover things which career tests and coaches might not be able to tell you like salary, job culture, training etc.
  • Take some courses to see if you enjoy the subject matter. For example f you want to become a programmer, take an online programming class. www.lynda.com, now owned by Linkedin has great online training from business and marketing to coding and more. It costs about $19 USD per mont and the courses are all video based and professionally done.
  • Find out what if any further training you will need to do. Discovering you need to get a masters degree might be off putting to you and help you rule out certain careers.
  • Read career change websites. www.careershifters.com is a good place to start. They have an online community where you can talk with other career changers and get moral support. http://www.learnhowtobecome.org/ is another good site for career research. Enter in the desired career and it tells you a little about that career, salary range, education or training needed etc.

4) Training

Through your research, you’ve discovered the best careers for you. You narrowed down that list to a a few possible choices. Now it’s time to figure out if you need any additional training or certification?

If your current skill set is transferable than perhaps you don’t even need any training. If you do need training , you have options for any schedule and any budget. From traditional university degrees, distance learning, online certification or self training. Whicever way works for you, just make sure that any training you take will actually help you get the job you are trying to land.

Other things you need to ask yourself, explore and research are “can you afford it the training program. Will you take time off from work to pursue additional training or will you keep your day job and go to class at night?

You may be able to bypass formal education and get on the job training by taking a lower level job or entry level job and use it as a stepping stone. I found this method to be practical for me when I couldn’t afford to take time off work to get official training. Especially since at the time I was a single mom.  It was hard to take a pay cut but the way I approached it was, I was better off taking a pay cut than quitting my job and earning no salary whatsoever.

5)  Take action

Hopefully after all the self reflection and research, you’ve narrowed down your list to one maybe two careers. Now is the time to take action- any action big or small.

Have you updated your resume? Did you update you social media profile on linkedin? Did you network with your peers and let them know  you are looking for work?

Don’t struggle to find the perfect path or the ideal starting point and don’t let information overload give you analysis paralysis. It’s more important to simply get things moving because your path may not be linear but rather one big zig-zag like mine.

Other things to consider

No one should choose their next career change exclusively from online tests or the advice of others but they are useful tools for discovering if you’re well suited for that career change or not. Not to mention, it can be illuminating to get career suggestions that you might not have thought of yourself.

In the end, you have the final say in how to determine the best career path you want to take for your unique set of circumstances.

Good Luck and stay strong. You can do it!

how to start a business and be paid to be you

How To Start A Business When You Have No Idea What To Start

If you have ever wanted to start a business or blog but didn’t know what, where or how to start than you should read this story.

I’ll share with you how after almost a decade of wandering from college to the corporate world, I’m finally getting some clarity and discovering how to turn my natural talents and interests into a viable way to support myself.  I’m still not done but i finally feel i have a purpose and a path to follow that makes more sense.

The good news is there’s a quicker way for you to achieve your goal of sustainable and meaningful entrepreneurship. I’ll share with you how you can get from point A to point B faster and more efficiently.

 

confused

Do You Dream Of Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment?

I have always had this entrepreneurial dream lurking, watching and waiting in the depths of my mind. Every once in a while it would slowly poke it’s fearful head out to stretch it’s legs for a bit but only because my more adventurous side cajoled and rattled the cage a bit.

Inevitably that entrepreneurial side returned back to the recesses of my mind waiting and lurking until another day.

Why?

We all have our own reasons why we want to hold the coveted title of ENTREPRENEUR.

Some reasons are noble, some not so noble. When I was younger, my reasons were simple and somewhat shallow. I wanted two things.

  1. Fame
  2. Fortune

I’m older now and my reasons haven’t changed much but they have grown up a bit.

FORTUNE: I would still love to have the money that a successful business would bring but not for the sake of money itself.

What I really want is the potential freedom money brings. Freedom from worrying about bills. Freedom to control my own work schedule and hire help.  Freedom to spend more time with my family and friends. Freedom to travel and do more activities.

If I could have these things without money than I wouldn’t care about money.

FAME:I still want fame, but I want to be famous for helping other people do something significant in their lives. I’ve learned that helping other people brings me a lot of satisfaction and I want to be known for that.

There are other reasons I want to pursue entrepreneurship such as, setting an example for my children and challenging myself to name a few.

I Have No Ideas: Sound Familiar?

I had the drive, desire and strong work ethics needed to succeed at business but I was missing one thing. It was a big thing too.

I had no idea how or what type of business to start. (SCREECH to a stop).

I did have my moments. I wasn’t completely lacking in ideas. In fact, every once in a while that entrepreneurial side came out and I would get an epiphany.

A BIG IDEA but……. it wasn’t enough.

  • The ideas that I had were jumbled up in my head.
  • I had no clarity.
  • I had no idea how to execute any of my ideas
  • I had no idea how to make my offer compelling to other people

Eventually my ideas died and that entrepreneurial side recoiled back into my head. Wave bye bye.

Lack Of Mentors

It didn’t help that I had no mentors or role models that could guide me on my entrepreneurial quest.

Growing up, everyone around me seemed to be happily working away at their very conventional jobs.  They were all accountants, lawyers, doctors, stock brokers and real estate agents. My own father was an engineer. All good jobs, all sounded very unappealing to me.

Lost In College:

With no plan, no  business idea and no role model to guide me, I decided to do the practical thing. Go to college and let my degree lead me down my eventual career path.

Unfortunately, even going to college was problematic. I still had no idea what I wanted to do which made it impossible to pick a major. I remember feeling lost like I was drifting aimlessly with no purpose. It was a horrible feeling and I was sure that I was the only one in the world who felt like that. I thought i was doomed to a career that would be at best a means to an end.

I was only partially right.

Don’t Ignore You Core Interests

In college, It came as no surprise that I gravitated towards classes and subjects that were centered around my childhood interests. I had a penchant for, linguistics and cultural anthropology which i thoroughly enjoyed and excelled at.

I attribute these interests directly back to my eclectic and somewhat unconventional upbringing.

I also discovered a new interest.  I loved computer sciences, html, cgi and internet marketing.

( I didn’t know it at the time, but these interests would stay with me, they were part of my core being, of who I was and still am ).

eeny, meeny, miney MAJOR

I should have majored in one of those three things that i naturally gravitated towards but I didn’t. Not linguistics and not anthropology. Internet careers were relatively new back in 1992 so I didn’t even consider a career in a web related role.

Instead, I chose to major in economics. It seemed like the practical thing to do because I was good at at the subject matter and the job prospect for economic majors looked good.

I’ve had a good career thanks to my degree and I have a solid understanding of analytics, and business too.  It just never made me completely happy and i always looked towards the horizon for something better.

The Dream Never Dies

A lot of time has passed since I first had that dream of entrepreneurship but one thing has remained the same. My dream of entrepreneurship never died.

To Succeed You Must First Fail

They say every failure takes you one step closer to success. I hope this is true because i have started two separate web based businesses. They didn’t exactly fail but my interest in them eventually fizzled out so i moved on to other things. I think i knew deep down that had i continued they might have failed because my heart was no longer into them.

The Missing Link

After a lot of reflection, I discovered that there was something missing. It wasn’t a small insignificant piece, it was a HUGE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE.. I’m convinced that this one missing piece is the main reason i have drifted with very little purpose in college, in life, in work and in my two web based businesses.

My True Self: My Natural Interests

I have been ignoring or rather neglecting the true person I was inside. I’ve been making decisions based on what I think I’m supposed to be and do and ignoring who I am.

In college I ignored my interests and chose economics.

In work I chose things based on money rather than what interested me.

It was in my web based businesses where I came the closest to finding that perfect balance of doing something that I love so that work hardly seems like work at all.  Each time i try, i seem to to get closer and closer to finding that balance.

What Kind Of Business Can You Start?

So now i have to ask you, do you know the answer to these questions? Do you want to know the answer?

  1. How and what business do you start when you don’t know what that business should be?
  2. How do you keep the fire and momentum going so that you don’t lose interest in that business over time?
  3. How do you craft a compelling message that will make people want to buy form you?

Get Paid To Be You

sweetspotThe answer to those questions are clearer to me now than they ever were.

If you are struggling to answer them you have a choice. You can wait and hope to come up with a good idea someday.

OR,  you could find your  “sweet spot” NOW.

If you are unfamiliar with this term it simply means finding the intersection between your natural gifts (stuff you are good at already), you interests (hobbies, passions or dreams) and intersecting those with whether or not people will pay you for it (through a job or self employment).

Would you rather get paid to do something you love and are good at or something you don’t really enjoy but pays you well.

Most of us would choose the first but settle for the second.

When you are in your sweet spot you are choosing the first. It’s easier to exist. It’s you being who you were meant to be. It’s effortless and easier than trying to be something you are not.

My whole life I was putting less emphasis on what I love and more on what people will pay me because I was good at it.

That was then and this is now. Let me give you an example of how finding your sweet spot can translate into a business.

My Sweet Spot: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!

WHAT I LOVE: I love to travel, I love linguistics, different cultures, customs. I also love to help people, I love my family and my kids.

WHAT I’M GOOD AT: I have a lot of experience travelling. I’ve lived abroad both as an adult, a child, with kids and without and finally both long term and short term.

I’m good at internet related marketing and analysis. My last 3 jobs were in fact working for internet based companies so i know i can get paid for these skills. If you look around at this site, I created it myself.  It’s something I enjoy and hardly feels like work.

WILL PEOPLE PAY YOU: This is important. If I am creating value, than people should be willing to pay me. Will people pay me to be me? The answer is yes and no.

No one is going to pay me to tell them how i love to travel. But…I did a lot of research and I discovered that there are a lot of people out there, especially families that want to take a break from life to live abroad  for a year or two.

These people are busy with family and work and need help sorting through all the red tape and advice on how to apply for visas, finance their tip abroad and how to deal with the kids. They have a goal and need advice from someone who can help them. Advice from someone who knows what they are talking about.

That would be me.

I never made the connection but now i see that i have something valuable to offer the world and so do you. You just have to doscover it and learn how to craft that compelling message to the world.

How To Find Your Gift

I didn’t just wake up and discover my sweet spot. It took me years to get to this point.

I worked with a coach, read a lot, networked and did a lot of research. The truth is, it could take you years to figure out what you have to offer the world..You may never find it. You may not even get it your first time out of the gates. But as i said earlier, each failure is a step closer towards success. There’s a compound effect of your efforts. Just be patient and don’t give up.

 

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