Whether you’re starting the second phase of your career following a break, getting another job on top of your current one or setting up a business while continuing to work for the time being, it’s not something that you can just walk into overnight.
Starting a second career requires much preparation and planning. Here are 10 things to consider as you get going.
- Look at Your Capabilities. Think your capabilities through. Look at what you can bring to the party. Think about what it is you’re trying to do. It seems a simple question to ask yourself but think about what the end game is. What is the end point of this?
- What’s Your Idea. In order for you to start coming up with ideas for a business or new career, you have to be clear on what it is you’re trying to achieve. Once you know this, it’ll be easier to brainstorm ideas.
- Have a Plan. It’s important to practice preparedness. There is so much to think about. For instance, we need to think about any new skills we’re going to need and how we’re going to acquire them. It’s really beneficial to think about this as early as possible so that you have the time to work out how you’re going approach your second career in parallel with whatever it is you’re currently doing, whether it’s another job or bringing up your children.
- Get Support. Look at the support network that you’re going to need to make this work. The ways you’re going to tap into this network will have been planned over quite a long time, if you’re smart. Launching a second career is not just about executing an idea; it’s also about using the people around you.
- Work Out Your Finances. Don’t forget the key issue of economic return. Think about how much you need to be earning in order to generate a worthwhile income from your second career.
- Assess Your Assets. We need to consider our skills and experiences and how those help us. When we’re dealing with the idea of launching a second career, we’ll have a certain level of fear but we can gain self-confidence by reminding ourselves of what we’re good at and what we’ve overcome and achieved in the past.
- Pick the Right People. If you’ve decided to start a business as your second career, you have to decide who you’re going to run it with, if anyone. Are you going to go solo or are you going to go into business with another person or a group of people? Do you want to work with friends? The answer to this is usually no. Boundaries need to be drawn clearly for everybody and they need to be redrawn at regular intervals. A business partnership can be a career minefield and any ensuing explosions may well create great stress if contingency plans haven’t been put in place from the start.
- Take Your Time. If you’ve been spending a lot of time parenting and are now looking to fill that time with your second career instead, step into it tentatively and prepare for new routines that both you and your children will have to adapt to. It’s really worthwhile just getting used to leaving your children with somebody else by doing so for the odd day or so here and there before you start your new career in earnest.
- Think About Presentation. Take a long, hard look at your clothing, shoes and accessories. Smarten yourself up in terms of your appearance so that you’ll be treated like the professional you are, right from the start.
- Do Your Research. How much deep-dive homework can you do to get into the swim? When you were working full time it was second nature to know all about, say, project management. If you’re returning from a career break, what do you need to know about the changes in the world of project management? Also research how you’re going to telegraph to others what you’re doing. Don’t feel alone but instead seek out people who seem important to your field and who are able to support you in your new endeavor. (The Ivy Exec Mentor Network has mentors who can help!)