Last week, I wrote about developing a plan to pursue an alternative career path, but before you can put that plan into action it’s important to consider some of the major roadblocks you will encounter along the way. For me, there are only three types of obstacles that keep most people from switching careers including:
- Time – Most people tend to be afraid of not having enough time to invest in changing careers or they may be afraid of ruining everything that they’ve managed to accomplish in their careers over the past few years by pursuing a new career. I’ve found that most people fear both of these situations.
- Money – Let’s face it, if you never had to worry about having enough money to pay the bills, then you would have pursued the career of your dreams a long time ago. No one wants to worry about where their next paycheck is coming from and the fear of not having enough money always keeps most people from pursuing a new career.
- Lack of Experience – Your lack of experience may keep you from feeling confident about your skills, so you’ll be less likely to pursue any new opportunities.
If you notice, these three categories are more mental obstacles, than they are real obstacles. While it’s pretty obvious that you’ll have to invest a lot of your time and in most cases money to get to where you want to be, you shouldn’t give these obstacles more power over your future than they deserve.
Here are some ways that you can begin dealing with these obstacles before they stop you in your tracks:
- Set up a daily schedule that allows you to work on your career goals a little bit at a time. Give yourself an hour, half an hour or at least fifteen minutes every day to complete one career-related task.
- Determine what your priorities are. Would you rather watch TV or call someone that may be able to help you with your career goals? All of us make small decisions every day that have a big impact on our progress.
- Conduct some detailed research on how much money you’ll need to get started in your new career. Explore your options and ask a lot of questions – don’t just assume that you’ll have to fork over some serious money to make things happen.
- Put together a bare bones budget. A bare bones budget excludes all of the monthly expenses that you don’t absolutely need to spend on. Using a bare bones budget should give you the opportunity to save up the money you need to pursue an alternative career including several months of training, work materials or just extra savings to get by on until you can begin making a steady income.
- Make a list of any of your personal or professional experiences that can help you in pursuing your new career path. Think back on the skills and resources that you came up with when you wrote a rough draft of your plan.
- Find different ways to get the experience you need. Contact professional organizations, speak to other professionals in your chosen field or try to offer your services on a freelance basis.
After sharing the story of my unexpected journey into the world of freelance writing, I decided it would be important for me to give you some tips on developing a plan to pursue an alternative career (the kind of tips that I wish someone had given me when I first decided to pursue writing).
While I realize that everybody’s situation is different and that most people can’t just quit their regular job to pursue an alternative career, I really think that once you start putting your plan together that it will take a lot of the fear and uncertainty that you may be feeling out of the equation and eventually drive you to take the necessary steps towards building the career of your dreams.
Here’s an easy and pain-free way to start putting your plan together:
- Put it on paper. Put together a dream board or write a list in your journal that describes your dream job. What would your typical work day be like? What type of people would you be working or collaborating with on a regular basis? In what ways would you be contributing to your local community or society in general? How much money would you be making? Write all of these details down without placing any limitations on yourself and you are guaranteed to get an accurate description of your alternative career.
- Identify your personal assets and resources. You may already have many of the skills or qualities necessary to pursue an alternative career, but you’ve been too busy thinking about the reasons why it wouldn’t work. Instead of thinking about what you don’t have, start evaluating the skills and resources that are currently at your disposal. I didn’t have any experience as a content writer when I first started writing online, but I did have experience in writing reports, press releases, resumes and many other types of business and marketing documents. As soon as I realized this, I was able to use my experience to develop my content writing skills.
- Make a to-do list. I don’t know about you, but having a list of chores or simple tasks in front of me really makes it easier to tackle a huge project. Pursuing an alternative career may seem overwhelming at first, but if you break it up into smaller tasks it will be much more manageable. Your list should include a lot of research-related tasks at this stage. Your main focus should be on gathering information about courses that you might need to take, people you should talk to or books you need to read.
- Write a rough draft of your plan. It’s impossible to know what the future holds or what your actions may lead to, but you should put together a basic plan for reaching your goals. What do you need to do? How long will it take to meet each of your goals? Will you need to invest more time or money throughout the process? It’s time to think about these issues and consider the information you’ve gathered. A rough draft of your plan should help you to focus more on what’s important as you begin your journey, but you should also be willing to make any necessary changes to it as you learn more and reach certain milestones.