If you always ask yourself – How do I move from my current industry to a different one? – this article is for you. I shifted from IT industry (easy to get in, difficult to get out) to Venture Capital (VC) industry (difficult to get in but easy to get out). I am now trying to shift my wife’s industry from consulting to films (a tough one!).
Although you can argue that I am really not in VC industry and my wife is yet to join films but as we walk this journey, I see a clear process that you need to follow to get there. The irony is that it’s such a simple process and yet so few people are able to get there. The challenge – as you would have guessed – is implementation and perseverance. You need to keep moving closer to your goal – every single week (if not day). It took me four years and I am still not quite there (although I now don’t want to get into typical VC industry but a more evolved one – VC3.0). So, the simple steps to get there:
- Volunteer your time: The best way to know about an industry is to volunteer your time in the industry associations – offer your help for free. This way, you not only get to know about how the industry works but also get to meet and know influential people in the industry. The people in these associations, interestingly, are more open, have an inclination to help others and appreciate your commitment (as they also offer their time to association for free). You may also get recognition for your work in both public and private networks/events.
- Acquire skills: The reason I put this one after volunteering is that you get huge discounts on courses once you are inside the system. As you are a free volunteer, you can attend many paid conferences for free (depending on your repo with coordinator), get Groupon like discounts for skills training (I got 66% discount) and be visible to people. Trust me, world is small and people do take notice.
- Network: It goes without saying that you need to build relationship with people who will push your case. Even if you attend events and target talking to at least 10 people, you will pretty much know people who will help you in some time. Don’t ignore people who are in the same boat as you are – transitioning; as they are the people who keep track on right events/people to target. Do help them and they will in turn help you (if you choose the right people).
- Take the plunge: This is the hardest part – deciding whether to join at this steep cut in salary! My answer – the sooner you join, the sooner you will be able to recover the cut. If the salary meets your financial obligations and matches your expectations of profile, take the plunge. Once you are passionate about something, money comes sooner or later. However, be creative about your salary structure. I got increment in 8 months (though in different company) and it was better than my previous job.
In the end, it’s easier said than done but the rewards are worth more than all the efforts. Imagine a life where you enjoy 16 hours of work every day (ok, ok, 12 hours, you may not enjoy everything still) rather than living in a world where work and enjoyment do not exist together. Go, find a job you love before it’s too late!