If you are thinking of switching careers, you don’t have to go far afield to get a fresh start. You can draw on a business growth strategy called One Step Adjacent.
It’s a speedier process than a complete re-invention. You target markets and opportunities that have a logical and close connection – an adjacency – to your current role, competencies and relationship assets.
This gives you a higher probability for success when switching careers. It reduces the risk for hiring decision-makers who seek proven been-there/done-that talent in the marketplace and you can easily identify targets by starting with what you know and moving out slowly in concentric circles.
Below are 10 potential moves you can make when considering a new career.
1. Same company. New geography.
Sometimes a change of scenery is a much-needed refresh, rather than switching careers completely. Forge a move to a new location where your company has an office. You can leave a boss who might not be your all-time favorite. Or be closer to your children and grandchildren. Or migrate to your future retirement destination – with the bonus of company-paid relocation expenses!
2. Same company. Different job.
If you’re in marketing or product development, maybe you could also excel in sales? Or vice versa. Perhaps you are a fantastic team leader, but in a fragile situation due to a re-organization or emphasis on promoting younger talent. Why not package the secrets of your success and create a training/development role to teach the young up-and-coming high-potentials in your existing company?
3. Same job. Different operating unit.
If you are in the stable cash-cow business of a diversified company, switching careers could be a step away! Try mixing it up – move to a new, rapid growth operating unit or a troubled division in need of a turnaround or a newly-acquired entity.
4. Move to a competitor.
You know the industry, the players, the customers, everyone’s strengths and weaknesses – and inside knowledge of your current organization. If you are getting restless and ready for change, sell yourself to the highest bidder! Unless you have a confidentiality or non-compete agreement, this is a lucrative leverage of your experience and expertise.
5. Make your current company your customer.
If you’ve spent 20 years in a company and industry, there are businesses that sell products and services into the market you know so well. Move to a vendor or service provider. You have a valuable asset to offer and it is a smart strategy in switching careers.
6. Do your current job for multiple clients.
Instead of doing your function inside one company, a path to switching careers could be to perform similar services for multiple other organizations. Pick the part of your current job that you enjoy the most. Join a consulting or outsourcing firm that delivers outside or fractional services. Or find 3-4 clients on your own who need what you can probably do with your eyes closed.
7. Leave a professional services firm and do your own thing.
If you are delivering services in a large firm, you may reach a point in your career when you want to become an individual contributor instead of managing large teams and dealing with hierarchical partner dynamics. You still have to be an excellent rainmaker, but starting a boutique consultancy is a very smart path for switching careers at a later stage of life. You can work as much or as little as you choose. And you keep your client billings for yourself.
8. Move to another industry sector.
If you have a track record in, say, luxury goods, there are companies in other product categories that will be interested in tapping that magic. When the CEO of a lighting and home accessories company hired me to lead a C-level search, we looked at candidates from high-end appliance, jewelry and eyewear companies. For a high-end brand in plumbing, we targeted candidates from the fashion industry. The commonality is the customer set – a discerning, high-budget customer tuned into trends and design.
9. Leverage your customer relationships.
If you have had success selling into big companies, the military, federal government, international markets, on-line platforms or other Goliath entities, you can segue into any other business that wants to enter or grow their presence in that space. This is a high-value strategy for switching careers.
10. Get paid for doing what you have done for free.
If you have been a caregiver, a home-schooler, a facilitator in a spouse’s business, a fabulous home entertainer or travel organizer, there is a market out there to pay you for such services. You can start a company, work inside someone else’s organization or become a one-person Lone Ranger consultancy.
Want more ideas on switching careers?
See my PrimeWomen article Turn Your Hobby into a Business.