A lot of the students who take Behavior Fundamentals Online or come through our in-person FetchFind Academy classes are contemplating a career change, and come to us because they want to get the best education possible before moving into the pet industry on a full- or part-time basis. Many students dream of owning their own pet business, and graduate from Academy with a solid foundation and high hopes.
But what happens once they’ve gotten their legal documents filed and their business cards printed and their gorgeous new websites up and running? Quite often, what happens is a whole heck of a lot of work that may or may not bring in clients or money. It’s at this point in the proceedings that many new business owners start to think, “I’ve made a huge mistake,” especially if they’ve quit a secure job with benefits and a steady paycheck to do something they really love.
All entrepreneurs, small business owners, and career changers have peaks and valleys, exhilarating highs and depressive lows, sometimes in the same 24-hour period. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone – there are people and resources that can help you stay on an even keel in a constructive and supportive fashion. Every entrepreneur will have different advice, but here are my top three tips for staying the course:
- Network. Not everyone can go to trade shows and schmooze with hundreds of people over a long weekend (though I highly recommend doing that if you can swing it), but everyone can join professional organizations, set up informational interviews with different companies, or reach out to colleagues and thought leaders on social media. Don’t be shy. People love to talk about their experiences – let them. You can learn a lot by listening.
- Stay informed. Find the best ten blogs, periodicals, or trade publications for your industry and add them to your newsfeeds. Don’t know where to start? Take a look at the sites your trusted colleagues and mentors are following on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Spend an hour a day going through trend pieces as well as thoughtful analyses of the business(es) you want to be in.
- Ask for help. This is one of the most important – and hardest – lessons to learn, both as a business person and as a human being. So many of us grow up thinking that asking for help is a sign of weakness, and I am here to tell you that it is not. Asking for help not only gets you help, it can also give you a different perspective on how to do things, and keep your brain from getting locked into stale and unproductive thought patterns.
What are your favorite resources for career changers or budding entrepreneurs?