If you ask career changers about their experience, one common refrain is often repeated. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
It’s something that’s been on my mind recently, reading about how one-third of people were considering moving professions last year. The pandemic led many to rethink what they do and how they do it. Many employees sought new jobs. For many others, though, it has led to considerations of finding a completely different line of work.
This shift, though, isn’t often a fast one. Instead, it usually moves slowly until you can fully pull the plug on your old career. When I sought to shift from a writer to the financial planning space, it’s something that I weighed for years. It then required extra school, certifications and a whole lot of studying.
Even then, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It opened my eyes to greater possibilities, exposed me to new learning opportunities and I grew as a result.
Before you take those initial steps, though, there are moves you should make in your finances to prepare.
Step #1: Find the Right Field
We all have dream jobs. Some of those dreams will differ in terms of how likely you’re able to pull off a career switch. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow your dreams, but how likely you are to achieve them will depend on the goal.
If your dream is to become a $1 million dollar a month online influencer, the likelihood of that occurring will differ from someone that wants to shift into nonprofit work. Understanding the difference in this will change how you plan.
For the influencer, you will have to budget many months to potentially years of low income from the influencer work. How do you make up for the lack of income from the new career? Keep your old job? Find a less stressful new job that may not pay as well, but provides more free time to pursue your influencer career?
Meanwhile, the nonprofit pursuer may have a faster shift, but will have to make up for a likely loss of ongoing income for the foreseeable future moving forward.
If you know you want to shift, but you don’t know what career would suit you, think about your strengths. What do you have a strong knowledge in? Of those strengths, what will people or an employer pay for?
I chose financial planning because I had years of experience in the financial space as a journalist. But I sought to help people and have more one-on-one conversations. Financial planning made sense, since I knew I could do the work and help people reach their goals in the process.
Step #2: Budget Out The Cost
Just like every job will have different timelines, they will also have different budgets for making the move. It will depend on the work you do, the experience you have and the profession you want to move towards.
For some, this will require years of education. I know someone that began as a music producer and now works as a successful therapist. This required this person to go back to undergraduate school, and eventually earn a PhD. That’s going to differ from someone that wants to build a contracting business.
Know the cost before you make any sort of leap. Do you have the funds to cover the education? Do you need to potentially take out loans? Will the current job fund your move?
Ask these questions now, since doing so after the fact can leave you with significant surprises.
Step #3: What Will Life Look Like
Finally, before you decide you want to change, evaluate what life will look like once you have made it official. What will your income look like? What will your days consist of? Will it require ongoing education? Will it demand a lifestyle change on your part? Will you have to cut income in the early years? How fast will it grow?
You should have clear eyes about your lifestyle once you make the change. Mapping out your financial life once you made the move will give you a clear sense of whether or not you can live under any new restraints that may exist.
You also should map out how the move will impact your retirement or other goals, like saving for your children’s college. Seeing the hard numbers can give you confidence to finally seek out the new career. If those numbers are in the red, it can give you the opportunity to find tactics to ensure the shift will work.
If you need help with this process, please feel free to reach out. We’ve done it, and so can you.