Many of my friends and business acquaintances are also business owners or corporate management types. Some of us are of a certain age, and some are younger – and still, many of us are moving on to a second career…either by choice (we’ve learned all we can learn in that career/industry and are eager to learn new tricks) or out of necessity (high-priced employees having their job titles eliminated or casualties of downsizing). After many discussions with all types of people who are either reinventing themselves or their businesses, here are some of the lessons learned:
- It’s never too late to reinvent yourself or your business – start today. The world is full of stories about people who achieved success (however they define it) later in life.
- The words “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” can be the kiss of death. Any business that is content to provide the same products they’ve always provided or resists new technology that is changing their industry rather than embrace it is doomed. If it ain’t broke, it probably will be soon enough.
- Have a Business Plan. Even if you won’t need bank financing for your business or you are personally reinventing your career, a Business Plan can help you crystalize your thought process and give you direction and a timeline to follow.
- Reach out to your contacts. LinkedIn is a great place for this (don’t wait until you’re out of a job…the time to develop your network is BEFORE you need it). Not to get all “Oprah” on you, but put your intention out into the universe – let people know what you’re looking for. Most people are very happy to make an introduction, share experiences or point you in the right direction.
- Money helps. If you’re younger and reading this, save more money. The option to volunteer, start a new business or take a job that you love for less money all depends on what you can afford. The more money you save now, the more freedom you’ll have later. To that end:
- You may be surprised what you can do without – start cutting out small things and see if you even miss them (Pandora vs. XM Radio, Regular Cable w/o Premium Channels, less expensive restaurants or eat out fewer times x week. Reinvention helps us focus on what is important and what really adds value.
- Necessity often IS the Mother of Invention. Many businesses have been started by people who had a need and couldn’t find a product/service to fill it. When you can’t find the thing you’re looking for, think about how you might create it as a new business model.
Many times personal reinvention travels hand-in-hand with career reinvention. We find that we take stock of our personal relationships while we’re re-evaluating our lives. Say “no” to the things you really don’t want to do and that don’t fit your new Business Plan. Seek out people and events that can help you reach your goals; find others whom you can help along the way, and lose the numbers of those nay-sayers!