Starting a second career can be a daunting prospect. There is no getting around it – turning your back on your existing life or incorporating a side hustle into your routine is risky. Will it succeed? Will my friends judge me if it doesn’t? Then there is the matter of timescale. Establishing yourself in any career takes time, talent, and tenacity.
This doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
In fact, starting a second career can be enriching, liberating, and very lucrative.
Here’s why it has never been easier to start a second career:
You can study online
The most powerful string in your bow is the internet. It has opened up a whole new world of possibilities and has leveled the educational playing field. You no longer have to invest vast swathes of time and money in a conventional university course.
This is a game-changer.
A ceiling has been put on many career paths by the demand for relevant university degrees and associated skills. If you are someone with existing commitments like a family or a mortgage, attending university full time is downright impossible. It may also be an environment you don’t want to socialize in if you feel like the uncool, older student.Thanks to the rise of online courses, these problems can be solved in one fell swoop. For instance, if you want to be trained as a nurse, you could enroll in online family nurse practitioner programs. By taking an online course, you don’t have to sacrifice your job or your personal life, which would likely put you off your new career direction in the first place.
Resources are readily available
The beauty of the internet is its seemingly endless pool of resources. The traditional gatekeepers of knowledge and skills have disappeared, opening you up to a whole new world of opportunities. Knowledge really is power.
Aside from online university courses, there are a whole host of relevant tutorials on everything from changing a tire to solving philosophical mysteries.
How does this link in with your career change?
Well, if you need quick insights on key terms or aspects of your ‘new’ industry, you can access detailed videos and articles, all for free. If you want to learn a skill more deeply, you can easily download relevant resources from field experts or communicate with them to build your base of knowledge. You could even enlist these experts as your mentors. Just be careful to use reputable sources and vet these experts thoroughly. There are as much misinformation and fake gurus out there as real ones.
Of course, unlike traditional forms of curated information – such as libraries – you don’t have to stop learning after a certain time. The information is available 24/7, meaning you can fit it into your existing routine wherever and whenever it fits in.
The greatest resource you have in your brain. Access to an abundance of information could make you vastly more skilled, deep-thinking, and, ultimately, employable.
The gig economy is getting stronger
Gone is the age of committing to one career and sticking to it through thick and thin. While you want to pick your path through life carefully, it doesn’t mean you’re glued to your career with cement. Take advantage of the growing gig economy by taking on smaller roles with less commitment or responsibility to see if a particular job suits you.
By experiencing different walks of life, you can better understand what career is best for you and which skills you get the most satisfaction from using. Talking of skills, by taking on more and more one-time gigs, you can quickly increase your expertise without committing to an arduous full-time role.
This can also help you find your niche. Individuals are increasingly becoming their own personal brands and businesses, operating in a niche they have carved out themselves to provide a unique service. By experimenting with different jobs and fields, you can better understand what you’re good at and what you are bad at. It gives you priceless information when positioning yourself in your own personal niche.
The era of the side hustle is just beginning
Building on the last point, the rise of the gig economy is part of a growing trend towards side hustles – or part-time work. Many people actively create side businesses or take on part-time jobs as a way of increasing their cash flow and learning new skills.
When it comes to your second career, this is great on many counts.
Firstly, you can earn extra cash relatively easily. If you’re training for your new career and want to dedicate more time to it but can’t afford to – this offers a potential answer. You can fit smaller freelance jobs into your routine and mold your income streams around your new career, rather than the other way around.
Another great reason for finding a side hustle is that it gives you options. If your new career choice isn’t working out, then it isn’t the end of the world. You already have a side business that can support you or even offer a full-time career in itself.
Thirdly, you could make your new career your side hustle – if just to begin with. This will help you get yourself off the ground without sacrificing your existing lifestyle and allow you to dip your toe in the water before you jump into the deep end.
Working from home gives you more flexibility
The increase of remote work during the COVID-19 crisis is a gamechanger.
Through necessity, it has altered the way many industries approach business and employment. It has proven that many jobs can be done effectively – or even more effectively – from home. For example, more and more meetings are hosted on video call services, and companies are saving huge amounts of money on travel and expenses. This means you don’t necessarily have to relocate or uproot your existing lifestyle (which is often one of the biggest drawbacks of a new career path). Think creatively. How can you work from home – and even use it to your advantage?