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How to Change Careers: 5 Questions to Ask Before Going Independent

   |   MBO Partners   |   April 18, 2018

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There has never been a better time to consider making the leap to independence. Today, more people than ever are pursuing an independent career and companies are increasingly engaging independent talent. That’s not too surprising as self-employment offers many perks such as the ability to pursue your passion, control your own schedule, and be your own boss.

At the same time, however, running your own business is a lot of hard work. If you think self-employment may be a part of your future, ask yourself these five questions first to make sure you’re on the right path.

1. Is My Career the Underlying Problem?

Being unhappy at work doesn’t necessarily mean you should switch careers entirely; you may simply have a problem with your workplace, colleagues, or company mission. For example, you may like the industry in which you’re employed, but be unhappy with the corporate culture of your workplace.

Take note of what you like about your current job and what you’d like to change. By pinpointing the values that are most important to you, you can begin to establish an idea of the principles that your future business will be built on.

2. What Are My Likes and Dislikes?

Take some time to evaluate what you like to do and what you don’t like to do—both at work and during your free time. This will help you find your niche—your identifiable, sellable talent. In order to build a successful business, you will need to make sure there is a market for your skills and then package them in a way that meets the needs of clients.

3. How Can I Educate Myself?

As a newcomer, it can be easy to feel like you’re entering the field with a disadvantage. Even if the business you want to build isn’t far off from what you’ve done in your previous professional life, it is still important to learn as much as you can about the field you want to enter: the major companies, your competitors, top trends, and who potential future clients may be.

Online courses, professional certifications, or classes at a local community college are all great ways to round out your education while you begin to build your business.

4. What Are My Networking Opportunities?

As you get ready to start your career as an independent professional, networking will be an essential task. Networking will help you meet people in your industry, connect with potential clients, and get the name of your business out there. Forming connections that can vouch for your skills and work habits will help you catch interest and land projects.

5. Am I Ready to Change My Approach to Working Life?

Some of the many benefits of working independently are freedom, flexibility, a greater control over work-life balance. While these are great trade-offs for many people, they may not be right for everyone. Deciding how you spend your time, working from a home office, and managing all of the tasks associated with running a business is very different from corporate office life. Self-employment is the ultimate balancing act; you’ll need to set personal and professional boundaries and give yourself time to make mistakes, learn, and iterate.

As you continue to explore if independent work is right for you, please reach out to us with any questions you have.

MBO Partners