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Do you leap out of bed every morning at the thought of going to work? Does the workday fly by without watching the clock? If you answered yes – good on you – for those of you who didn’t, you’re not alone.

Australians change careers up to seven times in their lifetime and as many as thirty per cent of us are considering a career change this year. Yet consumer confidence remains shaky and unemployment has reached its highest level in more than a decade. So how does one leave perfectly good employment for the unknown? Here are five steps for a winning career change.

Work out what success looks like to you, not others

Weigh up what you value most in your lifestyle and create your own personal benchmarks for success. Is it about a larger salary with better benefits? Or having flexibility in work hours to spend more time with family? Is it starting your own business to capitalise on a brilliant idea or investing in a franchise to manage some of the risk of small business ownership? By determining your main goals, you can measure success by your standards and will feel more fulfilled in the long run.

Do your due diligence before diving off the deep end

Start planning for your career change at least six months before you make the jump. Join relevant professional associations and attend workshops so you can talk to people in the field and see what it’s really like. If you’re considering starting your own business, talk to others who’ve been there and done it before you. If you can, shadow someone at work for a day. By collecting a wealth of information from different sources, you’ll be going in with your eyes open.

Create a personal support network to help you through the transition

Make an effort to develop a personal support network early on in your career change. Choose supportive friends and business mentors who offer different perspectives. If you’re considering investing in a franchise, other franchisees in the network may fill this role for you. Sometimes hearing a fresh take on a situation is all you need to solve the problem.

Leverage transferable skills

Think about your core skill and knowledge base and consider what will be transferrable to a new career. If you’ve been working in a corporate environment and are planning to become your own boss for example, business networking skills and presentation experience can be invaluable. Don’t limit yourself to skills learnt at work – consider your hobbies, responsibilities, and ways you engage with the wider community. Be clear on what you’re offering and keep it top of mind.

Stop looking at the big picture

Regardless of the direction your career change is taking you, looking at the big picture can be incredibly daunting. The trick is to attack it bit-by-bit, focusing on one task at a time. Ask yourself what you can do today to move an inch closer to your goal. You’ll start to feel more in control of the situation in no time.

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Gavin Culmsee

Gavin Culmsee

Gavin Culmsee is Chief Operating Officer of Bedshed, one of Australia’s largest specialist bedding and bedroom furniture franchises with a network of more than 30 stores across the country. A robust industry in Australia, franchising takes a lot of the risk out of starting your own business. Bedshed has grown steadily since it started in Western Australia in 1980 and is currently expanding on the eastern seaboard.

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