OK — let’s assume you’ve followed the advice and recommendations about reinventing yourself I offered in my last couple of blogs, and actually arrived at the point of mastering an entirely new field of endeavor. Where do you go from there?
Hopefully, by this point you’ll have become a expert in your new discipline, or at least know enough to be conversant in detail on the subject and to offer a perspective that’s sufficiently fresh and innovative to impress others with your specialized knowledge of the field. This can become empowering and lead to the next step in your reinvention, which is marketing yourself as someone whose star is on the ascent in the intriguing new realm you’ve chosen to enter.
I’d recommend you start this process of self-promotion by launching a blog, which can be done on a simple word press site and can be used to frame whatever particular insights or original ideas you might have. You should start with at least one post per month, then pick up the pace to two. The blogs can then be sent to key on-line publications, which you’ll need to research. You’ll find blogging will actually sharpen your skill set in your new field, because just developing potential topics helps you to acquire additional information and enables you to address different aspects of it with a certain amount of authority.
My next suggestion would be for you to attend as many trade shows and functions as you can. Now this may not always be easy, due to the expense of both the shows themselves and the travel and accommodations involved, as well as having to use your vacation time for this purpose if you’re still employed. You simply have to close your eyes and take the plunge, realizing that it’s all part of your investment in your newly reinvented self. But before you go, be sure and take some time to create a business card that will reflect the unique image you want to convey.
Then, after you have consistently blogged month after month and gone to enough trade shows to know your way around the industry (and hopefully, to have met some of its key players), you need to start networking. That will involve both reconnecting with some of the people you’ve already met — your new “collection of connections” — and making cold calls to others — arranging breakfasts, lunches and dinners with as many individuals as you can who you think might help advance what you’re trying to accomplish. But don’t just limit your meetings to supposedly “important” people, because you never really know which ones might turn out to be until you’ve really had a chance to break bread with them.
Once you’ve done all this, your transformation will now be in full throttle and your reputation as someone of value who brings a unique perspective to whatever new field of endeavor you’ve chosen to enter will begin to snowball. Yes, I have seen it happen many times (as well as having had it happen to me). Oh, and one more thing I forgot to mention: once you’ve finally reached the point where you feel confident enough to emerge from the comfortable rut you’ve been in for so long, I know you’ll begin to find life a lot more rewarding both economically and emotionally, than it ever could have been had you opted for the security of staying put. But first, be sure you’ve made all the necessary preparations to take that leap of faith in yourself.