Is Now The Right Time To Change Career Or Start A Business?
Episode 4: Is Now The Right Time To Change Career Or Start A Business?
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EPISODE 4: IS NOW THE RIGHT TIME TO CHANGE CAREER OR START A BUSINESS?
With everything going on in the world right now – And especially if you are spending a lot of time watching the news or doomscrolling – You might be wondering if this is the right time to change careers or start a business.
In this episode I’ll share why now is NOT the right time to do nothing and why waiting, worrying or dabbling are NOT the safe options. COVID-19 has massively sped up several developments that were already underway in the world of work – Listen to this episode if you want to discover what they are – So you can take charge of your transition and learn how to know, expand and explore your options for what’s next. Instead of having changes being forced on you by external circumstances. If you are currently stuck in a job/career/work scenario you don’t enjoy – This is for you!
You’ll also discover how COVID-19 can be your permission slip for (finally) making your transition a reality. As well as being an excuse for not getting things perfect right away. In short – This is the episode that will help you go from waiting and worrying and feeling like things are out of your control – To start taking full responsibility for and commit 100% to figuring out what’s next for you and creating it.
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Links mentioned in this Episode:
– Recording on Resilience (Doing things that make you feel safe, so you can (also) do scary things).
– Podcast episode #2 for multi-passionates
– Podcast episode #3 (fast-forward to minute 18 where I discuss experimenting)
Full Transcript Of Episode 4:
Is Now The Right Time To Change Career Or Start A Business?
Intro: Welcome to The Career Change Podcast where you’ll discover the frank and practical advice and resources that are already proven to work in the real world when it comes to changing careers, or figuring out what business is right for you when you are a smart, but likely also stuck, overwhelmed or overthinking person in your mid 30s, your 40s to your mid50s.
I’m your host Rikke Hansen, a Career Change Advisor, entrepreneur, and former corporate HR professional with over 15 years experience of helping thousands of people just like you identify or create careers or businesses that are both meaningful and future proof. Welcome home!
Hey, it’s Rikke here and welcome to Episode Four of The Career Change Podcast, where I’ll answer the question “Is now the right time to change careers or start a business?”
Now if there’s one question I’ve been asked more than any other this year it really is that one:
“Is Now The Right Time To Change Career Or Start A Business?”
“…With Everything Going On In The World Right Now?”
Generally, if people ask me this question, it’s because they haven’t yet made up their mind about their own answer yet. And because of that they are often much more swayed by external factors, the state of the world, the news and other people’s opinion.
Also, because they haven’t yet decided to commit to their transition, i.e. committing to figuring out what’s next for them and to making it happen, they’re often kind of window shopping or dabbling.
Their transition is often something they sometimes spend some time thinking about or worrying about. But they don’t spend as much time, resources and energy on it, as they do on Netflix or social media or on following the news or Doomscrolling. So because of that input, it’s therefore easier for them to be swayed to think that now is not the right time. Because it can seem like there’s so much uncertainty and a total focus on what is not working in the world.
They might also have very little to look forward to, because they’re still stuck in a work scenario they’re not happy in.
But there is another way, because here’s the deal:
On the other hand, for people who are committed to making a change, they will make the best of the circumstances, no matter what.
They will course correct as need be, rather than keep getting swayed or distracted or second guessing, because of what’s happening in the world.
They’re very aware that continual uncertainty existed even before COVID-19. And that is actually a very novel concept for us humans to think that we know what the future will bring anyway.
People who are committed to their transition are highly protective of what information and influences they let into their mind, what they spend their time on and what they base their decisions on.
They use their own full agency and they don’t outsource their transition to whatever the news story of the day is. They are committed with the Big C.
My short, two-fold answer to the question “Is now the right time to change careers or start a business?” is this:
It’s always the right time IF you decide it is and IF you commit 100% to making it so.
It’s never the right time IF you’re not willing to decide it is and IF you’re not willing to commit 100% to making it so.
That’s it – End of story!
The right time to change career or start a business is when you are willing to decide and commit up front to move past dabbling, and past the commitment point.
Here’s an important thing to know. And I don’t know about you or where you are at in your transition or how much you know about the process. But your transition, or rather your commitment to your transition, doesn’t start once you have everything figured out and you’re ready to launch.
People often have this idea there is a magical point in your transition where it all comes together and it all becomes clear. And that at that stage you go “oh yeah – Maybe now I should commit.”
It doesn’t work like that.
There is no magical “before and after” point where everything comes together.
Rather – It’s an on-going process.
And it takes a while.
And every step is absolutely vital to be committed to.
So don’t delay getting started. And don’t delay committing.
Your transition starts with a decision to commit 100% to it up front, and to make it your key priority. To stick it out and to make it happen.
Everything else is dabbling.
Do you want to stay stuck worrying, keep being swayed and dilly dallying?
Wouldn’t you rather be 100% committed?
Here’s the deal, and I’ll be really frank with you:
There is no half-arsing your career change.
There is no half-arsing being an entrepreneur or starting a business.
Especially not right now.
Your timeline and your game plans can absolutely be agile and flexible.
But your commitment cannot.
Every single person I’ve helped change career or start a business, and also how it worked for myself, it was because I was 100% committed, because my clients were 100% committed.
There is no half-arsing this – For the most important things in life, you need to give them your 100% commitment.
So if you’re stuck right now, maybe that’s worth considering?
Don’t worry, we are not talking about blind, unrealistic Pollyanna-ish commitment, nor are we talking about knee jerk reactions, throwing it all away or quitting things without having other income sources lined up.
This is about deciding and committing and making it happen in an intelligent, thought-out manner where YOU are calling the shots.
This is about you being smart, smart enough to course correct and change your mind and staying flexible and being agile depending on what happens post- commitment, but the commitment to figuring it out and making change happen is there.
Now here’s an interesting thing that you might have noticed:
Unmade decisions are exhausting.
When you haven’t decided yet, you’re dilly dallying, you’re window shopping, you might be swayed by whatever the president is tweeting one day, by what’s happening on the news – These developments make you second guess yourself.
Whereas once you make the commitment, what you’ll find is that energy is freed up and focus is there
Whereas when you aren’t committed, you’ll be even more exhausted and unfocused.
With a decision made and a commitment there, you create the motivation yourself, you make things happen.
You stay informed, but with a clear purpose; you’ll use your own agency to drive this thing forward.
I’ve been advising people on career change and entrepreneurship for over 15 years and I’ve reached thousands of people. Here’s what’s interesting:
Bar a small handful – None of the people I’ve helped change careers or start a business or change jobs, none of those people had what could be considered perfect circumstances, or perfect times during the history of the world.
I have had a lot of clients with serious health issues, going through divorce, full-time working moms and dads, SARS, the last recession, certain presidencies – You name it – Across the spectrum.
There is no such thing as a perfect time.
And that’s not going to change either going forward.
However, what you can control is your commitment.
But let’s talk a little bit about the C word – COVID-19.
Because a lot of people are arguing that this time, it’s different. And there’s so much unpredictability and so much instability and we should all cower in fear and wait for things to return to “normal.”
Now that argument might have been sound if COVID-19 was just a matter of all of us staying inside for one month, and then go back to the proverbial normal.
But that’s not what it’s turning out to be – Here we are many, many months into an ever unfolding scenario where the repercussions are going to be felt for a very, very long time.
…And where the governments in so many countries are not up to this task either.
So you and I, we have to look after each other, to help each other and also to look after ourselves.
Note: Since this is a public podcast, I need to say this before we go into the discussion: If right now, you are experiencing severe, acute financial difficulties, or severe mental or physical health issues, then that should be your number one focus right now. Please seek professional advice.
And then you might want to come back to this particular episode later
For everyone else: I totally get that right now the amount of uncertainty and unpredictability that’s going on right now can be downright exhausting, and off putting.
I think we all have experienced the entire roller coaster of emotions within the space of a day, day after day after day, I get that that can be exhausting. It can be disorienting.
We definitely have to take even more care of ourselves right now. And if you didn’t have habits for that in place before, now is definitely the time to start.
We’ve all probably also discovered things about ourselves, or partners or families that would otherwise have taken a lifetime to discover!
But here’s the deal. You’re listening to this. That means you’re still here. Human beings are a stubborn, resilient race; give yourself a pat on the back. You are actually moving through this period. We are moving through this you and I.
And since this (pandemic) is not a short-term thing, we’re going to have to figure out how to make it work for us and how to make it work for your transition.
Often people ask me: “Rikke – How do you cope with this (COVID-19 scenario) mentally? What do you say to yourself? What do you recommend to your clients?”
Let me tell you how I personally cope. And what I tell myself. First of all:
This is an incredible – Potentially once in a lifetime – Real-time boot camp opportunity.
COVID-19 is a real life boot camp in uncertainty.
And what’s really interesting is that the skills that you can choose to develop right now are literally also the very skills that will fuel and empower your transition into something new – Whether that’s a new career, a new job or your own / next business.
So this is a chance for you right now to develop key skills as and when you need them.
So whatever is happening from now on – Whenever you feel like going:
“Oh no – What now?!”
Instead – Ask yourself:
“What is the learning opportunity here?”
“Where do I need to grow?”
“What do I need to stop?”
What do I need to start?”
The world is not going to get any less certain.
There’s always something lurking around the corner, even if we were to go back to “normal”, there’d be a new election, a new disaster, a new disease.
This is the territory now.
This is our chance to learn to navigate, to develop these navigation skills on turbo.
One (important) thing – I think it goes without saying that you do also at the same time need to prioritize building resilience and taking care of yourself and regulate yourself emotionally.
So if you didn’t have that in place before, now’s the time. I think a lot of what’s making people extra exhausted right now is they didn’t have the self care, the resilience, the emotional regulation down before this all happened – So now it’s becoming a gaping void, that’s becoming obvious.
But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
You don’t have to spend all day sleeping and not thinking about your career transition.
You can do both at the same time.
Because here’s what happens when you focus on your transition:
It will energize you and it will fuel you.
Note – I did a recording a couple of months ago about resilience and about how to take care of yourself at the same time as making a change (Link here – You might want to listen to that if you’re struggling with taking good care of yourself).
Because here’s the thing:
You need to do things that make you feel safe on a daily basis in order to (also) do things that might feel scary or new to you.
What COVID-19 has done to the world of work is to catapult us into the future.
So it’s not necessarily that it’s something massively new that’s happening.
It has massively sped up and accelerated developments and trends and massive changes that were already happening.
But with COVID-19 we’ve been fast-forwarded 5-10 years into the future.
So this is now a world of work with a lot less permanent jobs and with more contracts.
With more remote working and a global workforce competing for jobs.
But also at the same time a move toward portfolio careers, self-employment, collaborations, online business and increase of AI automation.
So even before COVID-19, we knew things were changing dramatically in the world of work, and that we all at some stage were going to have to change in some capacity.
But maybe we ignored it? Maybe we were too comfortable?
But now, in a post COVID-19 world, it’s clearer than ever, that we are all going to have to change and it’s likely going to happen earlier than we thought.
But here’s the deal: If you are listening (and thank you for listening!) to a podcast called The Career Change Podcast, then I’m assuming it’s because you are actually keen to change and to create work that you actually love, work that you care about?
So all of these changes turn them into motivational fuel.
Let them encourage you to get on with it.
You want to be the one initiating and having a good amount of control and choice over the transition process…
…Waiting and worrying and then being forced to change down the road with potentially way fewer options and no runway.
I really want to take care of you here! So let’s talk about three key points that I also want to make to further answer the question “is now the right time to change career or start a business?”
#1 Now Is The Right Time IF You Need A Change.
#2 Now Is A Good Time To Expand Your Options And Do Your Own Thing
#3 Now Is The Right Time To Make COVID-19 Your Permission Slip
#1 Now Is The Right Time To Make A Change IF You Need A Change
I.e. Make sure you are solving the right problem versus knee jerking and doing stupid things!
It’s always the right time to change careers or start a business IF that is what you need.
People seriously underestimate the cost and the risk of staying stuck for too long in a career, profession or job they’ve totally outgrown.
That they’ve come to hate, where they are no longer challenging themselves, no longer achieving, no longer learning – And that my friend is NOT a safe option.
One of the things I often talk to my clients about is this business concept that can also be used for the transition process:
The “Cost Of Delay” Concept:
What is it actually costing you to delay your transition?
With a lot of my clients those costs are things like mental health issues, physical health issues, relationship issues, money issues, loss of potential issues.
Getting clear on those costs for yourself (tip – write them down!) will fuel you to move on – My clients always tell me how powerful they are finding this eye-opener to be.
However, if you DON’T need a change then now is NOT the right time to change career or start a business – If that’s not the solution to your problem!
Here’s something that might surprise you. One of the big things that I noticed over the last 15 years is this:
A lot of people see changing careers or starting a business as a solution to all kinds of problems that actually have nothing to do with work!
Anything from marital issues, to personal issues, that have nothing to do with the issues they are facing at work. They think changing careers or staring a business will solve their problems, when the real problem they have is not actually of a work nature.
So if that’s you (or might be you), that’s really important to get clear about.
You know that friend who always dates the unavailable guy or the non- committing girl? And they keep repeating that issue over and over again because they haven’t figured out what the real problem is they have on their hands?
It’s exactly the same thing with careers and businesses!
Make sure you solving the right problem.
If not, you will end up replicating that very same problem in a new career or in a business.
Rule Number One: Figure out what your real problem is first
Do you actually need a change in your work life?
Or is it something else – Another part of your life – That you need to change in?
One of the first things I always do with my clients, whether that’s inside my online programs or with my one to ones is to help them figure this out.
Do you need a change?
And if so – How much of a change do you need? And WHY?
I.e. What is your problem? = What are your solutions!
Because once you’re clear about what your problem is, then that will already give you initial hints and directions as to where to go next.
It will also help you understand how you can build on everything that you’ve learned and done so far, so you don’t go empty handed into the next stage.
This is especially key if you’re over 35.
“The Job Vs. Profession Test”
One of the tools I share right away with my clients is what I call the “Job vs. Profession Test.”
In short, I ask you to think of all of the things you hate about your current job and if they are actually more surface/overlying that might be to do with a company culture, your boss or your commute – I.e. Elements that might not necessarily be directly related to your profession and are therefore maybe easily solvable.
Or whether the things you hate are much more inherent/underlying factors that are more to do with your actual profession – The kind of work that you do, the subject, the future prospects – The kind of elements that actually yeah, you don’t just need a job change, you likely need a change of profession.
Often a horrible boss, a horrible company culture can make you question everything…
…Whereas maybe it’s not that big a change that’s needed.
But on the other hand, maybe it’s the case that you are fundamentally unhappy in your profession, so that’s so important to get clear on.
A good indication as to whether you need to change is if you can see yourself staying there (in your current profession) for the next 5, 10, 15, 25 years. Or not…
You know – No matter what age you are now, you’re going to have to work longer than you think. So you’re going to want to see yourself there.
Do you want to keep developing in, go deeper into and learning more about your current field?
If that’s not how you see yourself in your current profession, that’s also another good sign that you need to change.
Here’s what I want you to do:
Commit to finding out what your real problem is.
Commit to figuring out how much of a change you need and why.
Commit to figuring out and solving your real problem.
Remember, a career change doesn’t have to be a matter of all or nothing.
You can do it in stages, whether that’s a job change, a career change, starting a new business, doing something new related to where you are right now etc., there are so many solutions.
So yes, now is the right time IF you need to change. If you don’t, it’s not!
I would have to say though, since you’re listening to this podcast, I have a feeling that you might be ripe for change ;)
#2 Now Is The Right Time To Expand Your Options And Do Your Own Thing
I.e. Now Is NOT A Good Time To Have Only One Option And Do Nothing
One of the existing job market trends that COVID-19 has massively sped up is the decrease in and use of permanent jobs by employers.
So right now, especially if you’re not happy, it’s not a good time to do nothing.
And to wait and worry and outsource your agency to just one employer.
And to not know what other options you have.
Now is the right time to really look at and understand what’s going on with how work is being offered and carried out and to really take care of yourself and not put all of your eggs in one basket – Especially if you are not happy in that job that profession and you know a bigger change is needed.
Now is the right time to use your own agency, your own ability to do something and to consider doing your own thing, which you might have wanted to do all along.
Even though I think we all know by now that the job for life is not a reality anymore, and it hasn’t been for quite a long time, there’s still this idea lingering that having a job is the only safe option, especially for those of us over 35. That’s kind of how we were brought up. And a lot of people haven’t realized that the world has changed too in that department.
Don’t get me wrong, there are many benefits to having a job, and the employment route could still be a viable option for you. It is for some of my clients. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But that’s not what I’m talking about here.
What I’m talking about here is taking care of yourself up front, right now.
And creating alternative options and knowing what your options are AHEAD OF TIME in a world where redundancies and continual decreases in permanent jobs are now a reality.
Therefore, relying on just one source of income and outsourcing all of your power to that one employer, i.e. in effect only having only one client, that is increasingly becoming a more vulnerable position.
But let’s talk about how to use this knowledge to actually speed up and benefit your transition.
And let’s talk about why now is the right time to rethink employer relationships and to seriously consider also doing your own thing.
Like I said, this is not your only option, but I am so keen to normalize entrepreneurship and portfolio careers for smart people over 35 as an incredible way to fast track and speed up and really materialize your career transition.
No matter how much of a change you want.
This is the right time to start getting used to thinking about yourself as an entrepreneur, as a personal enterprise, or to consider a portfolio career.
This is the right time to start thinking about and start creating several sources of income, either within your current line of work or something new. Or by combining your existing career with adding something new.
There are so many ways of doing this – It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
You can test drive it wherever you are at right now.
And by the way, if you are the multi passionate type, who has got loads of ideas, passions or things you want to do – This way of working is ideal for you!
I did a whole episode about multi-passionates – You can listen to it HERE.
The mindset shift needed here is to shift away from thinking like an employee to thinking like an entrepreneur, like a personal enterprise, like a portfolio careerist.
I know that can be hard if you’ve always been an employee!
But this is the way to really make this work for you
What might be some ways for me to start consulting, to start working for several clients, to start putting something out there, whether it’s an online business, a program, consulting, products, experiences etc.?
Whatever it is, think like an entrepreneur!
Here’s how you can think about that:
What is the problem that you are solving?
That you’ve already got results in?
What is the problem you would love to solve?
What are the experiences you provide?
What’s the market you most want to serve?
One of the great things about being in charge, about being an entrepreneur or being a portfolio careerist is that it’s up to you what kind of clients you want to serve – Clients you actually enjoy working with.
Oh man – One of the biggest reasons why my clients have wanted to change careers or start a business over the years is because they hated/disliked the client group they used to work with!
Maybe you can relate to that?
That’s why having several clients will give you the opportunity to handpick them.
This where adding an online element to your career or to your business can change everything and massively speed up your transition.
This is one of those things that I’m asking most of my clients these days to consider.
So you can start owning your own virtual breadcrumb trail when people Google you!
If right now I got to know your name and I googled you – What would I see?
And is that the professional identity, the business or the career you want me to know about you / associate you with?
How can YOU start owning that virtual breadcrumb tail?
Here’s what I want you to do:
Commit to figuring out how you can start doing your own thing!
What are your best options?
How can you start creating several sources of income?
How can you move from thinking like an employee to thinking like a personal enterprise / entrepreneur/ portfolio careerist?
Start crating those alternative options.
This is also such a great way to start taking your initial steps on the way to something much bigger.
Don’t be intimidated.
Look forward to getting started, even if it feels wobbly at first.
Wobbly is the new normal :)
I know that can be hard for those of you who are perfectionist (raising my own hand here;)
But here’s the deal:
Nobody expects perfection right now; so don’t shoot yourself in the foot!
Right now is not a good time to do nothing and to just hope for a return to “normal” rather than facing what’s really going on (especially if you already wanted a change before all of this happened).
We now know this pandemic won’t be over in a jiffy.
It’s now an on-going scenario with repercussions we are only just starting to see.
So this is the right time to start creating several sources of income, start working with several clients and make you career transition happen in the process!
Know your options AND start creating them – That is something we all have the option to do.
And it’s also a great way to start experimenting with different things.
If you listened to Episode 3 of the podcast (Link here) – Which was all about analysis paralysis – You’ll know that I’m really big on experiments.
Especially once you are past 35 and if you’ve been in the same line of work for a while. Sometimes the biggest issue is that you’ve totally lost touch with yourself and don’t know who you are and what you like any longer.
Start experimenting by offering smaller things, having an online business, doing a course, offering consulting etc.
This is such a great way of experimenting on the side with a view to building more and more of it.
One of my favourite quotes is by Annie Dillard:
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
This is an unfolding scenario. Don’t wait.
#3 Now Is The Right Time To Make COVID-19 Your Permission Slip.
I.e. To Explore Alternatives With A Solid Excuse
What is the unique window of opportunity that COVID-19 is giving you and what are you going to do about it?
What is COVID-19 making possible for you or giving you the opportunity or permission to finally do?
Those are super important questions to consider.
A couple of months ago, I read this really great short article in The Atlantic by David Brooks. The article was called “A Commencement Address To Honest To Be Delivered In Person.”
Even though it’s written to people coming out of university who might be 21 – I thought that all of it was highly relevant to MY people too!
You know – Those of us who are 35, 45 to 55. The message is just as relevant for us.
Here’s what David said:
“You happened to have graduated into a global emergency that has interrupted everything, that whole career track that you’ve been worrying about, fundamentally interrupted.
Don’t see this as a void.
See it as a permission slip.
Use this to do something you would never have done if this emergency hadn’t hit.
Try to do something that people will ask you about for the rest of your life.”
This is your (re) commencement speech moment too.
What are YOU going to do with this once in a lifetime opportunity?
I have definitely noticed something massive shifting right now – There are a lot of people seriously questioning how they’ve spent their working lives up until this moment.
Promise me you’ll be one of the those who don’t just think about it, but that you actually commit to doing something about it!
One of the interesting things about turning this into permission slip – I’ve definitely noticed this within parts of my client group:
For people from certain professions where they might have worked for many years to get to a certain place, where there’s a certain ego and lifestyle attached to it.
Before COVID-19 these professionals were often worried about trying something new in case it didn’t work out or in case they “failed.”
But here’s the thing:
For the next couple of years, nobody’s going to wonder why you left something to try something else or why it didn’t work out!
And worst case scenario – You can always go back!
That wasn’t always an option because if you messed up people would judge you.
For the next couple of years, there are going to be so many ways you can say:
“I did it because of COVID-19!”
“COVID-19 Made Me Do IT!”
So many ways to cover yourself ;)
So use that as an excuse to finally explore, to finally do what you want to do.
Again – Worst case scenario, you go back to where you were before and start again with another stab.
And that’s worst case scenario – It’s probably going to work out for you.
Think about the current scenario like a permission slip, like an excuse!
What are you going to do my friend with that one beautiful life you have?
Maybe you already knew before COVID-19 that you needed a change, but you were too comfortable, life was too easy, or at least it looked like that?
Now, this scenario should really remind you that life is short and that you would want to do something incredible with your work life
Especially bearing in mind how many hours we spend at work – And if you are also working from home now – You have many more opportunities to finally start spending time creating those alternatives and to take care of yourself.
Instead of cowering in fear and not doing anything.
Here’s the thing:
We’re all going to have to change in some capacity.
The question is, when do YOU start?
And you start from a place of creating options and becoming the main agent of change for yourself?
Or do you want to have it forced on you?
My friend, this is both your permission slip, and your wake up call.
And remember, you don’t need to feel ready, you get ready by doing
, that’s how it works.
And yes, it’ll feel wobbly, but we’re all going to wobble together, right?
Better to wobble than to stay stuck in fear.
Welcome to the other side. What if it felt like home?
A lot of us have been trained to always think “worst case scenario” thoughts.
Start thinking “best case scenario” thoughts instead!
And then start creating those from wherever you are.
Welcome to the other side. What if it felt like home?
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Now over to you.
What are you going to do?
Commit or dabble?
Do you want to feel powerful? Then commitment is the way.
Remember – This is not about knee jerking, or throwing it all away or doing something stupid.
This is about making it even better – In an intelligent, step-by-step manner.
I’m right there with you my friend.
I’ll see you over at TheCareerChangePodcast.com – Thank you so much for listening – We’ve got this!