Let’s say you’re thinking of making a career pivot, but you’re worried no one will take you seriously. You’re not sure how to gain credibility and position yourself as an authority, especially since you’ll be in a new line of work.
The good news: it’s possible to do this ethically.
The bad news is that it’s like getting into shape: you’ll need 1. time and 2. discipline.
If you’ve decided you’re going to succeed … that you will not flake out … and will not be one of the masses who talks a big game but fails to follow through…
This article is for you.
The above statements may sound harsh, but if you truly intend to make a successful pivot, it will require your best effort, energy, and sheer willpower over time.
It will demand your very best, even when returns seem slow-coming. Your endurance will be tested. Your limits will be pushed. And it’s these very things that will set you apart as a success, so you might as well know what you’re getting yourself into now.
Here’s what to do.
Stop Reinforcing What You Do For 90 Days.
Example: Say you’re currently working as an IT tech, troubleshooting computer systems and spending a good portion of your day facepalming at the incredibly stupid questions lobbed your way. Maybe your day goes like this:
- Customer: “I received the software update you sent, but I’m still getting the same error message.”
- You: “Did you install the update?”
- Customer: “No. Oh, am I supposed to install it to get it to work?”
It’s conversations like this that make you want to storm out of the office (forever) and launch your own business as a coach.
You figure you’re pretty good at seeing the big picture, locating choke-points, and dealing with problems. You might be able to help people navigate this stuff in their lives directly, instead of their computers.
But it’s a Monday. You haven’t taken a vacation in year, and you just can’t take it anymore. You want to vent on Facebook, Twitter, ClientsFromHell.net, or just burn the world. Don’t.
Instead, realize that at this point there are 3 versions of you:
- The Present You
- The Public You
- The Pending You
The Present You, the Public You, and the Pending You Will War With Each Other During Your Pivot.
This example involves the Present You and the Public You. Everyone knows you’re in IT already; you’ve been doing it for years. The link between the Present You and the Public You is very strong.
Your first order of business is to erode the link between the Present You and Public You.
That means no more rants on Facebook about idiotic clients, or pictures of you at an IT conference. Go dark, for at least 90 days.
I’m not saying you should quit you job — you probably need the income, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you must maintain the discipline to refrain from further reinforcing the bond between your Present You and your Public You.
When someone asks you, “Are you still with the IT firm?” you answer (as long as this isn’t your boss) “Yes, but I actually received my coaching certification recently and started taking coaching clients.” Always pitch your conversations forward.
Pitch the Pending You For 90 Days.
Now that you’ve put Present You into solitary confinement for 90 days, it’s time to start pitching the Pending You, which is who you will be after your pivot. That means you’re going to say and share content that conveys 1. where you future interests lie and 2. positions you as an authority in that field.
The first is easy. If you’re going to be a coach, real estate agent, or online marketer, all you need to do is share content on Facebook. Share blog posts and videos (from others) that are aligned with your Pending You.
The second is a bit tricky, so let me phrase it like this: Would you pay $3000 in coaching fees to someone 1. whose Facebook page resembles yours, 2. does not have a high quality website, and 3. does not come across as someone you would want to emulate in life?
If not, that’s an issue. If you wouldn’t buy from yourself, good luck convincing others to buy from you. It’s not just about a fancy website or great posts — it’s about personal perception. Do people perceive you as:
Perception is the name of the game. Quick test: scroll back through your last 30 days worth of posts on your Facebook page.
Do those posts convey the message that you are a smart, forward-focused person that can truly help others discover clarity in life? Are they filled with inspiring insights, helpful articles, and top-notch book recommendations?
Or are they filled with … pictures of your food, status updates about your favorite sports team, and posts like this:
These posts aren’t “bad” — they’re just not right in helping you make a successful pivot. (Once you’re established in your new line of work, you can go back to posting whatever you want.)
Remember, your second order of business is to establish and strengthen the link between the Pending You and Public You.
Remember Steve Carrell? Look How He’s Reinventing Himself.
I was never an avid watcher of The Office. I’m more a Game Of Thrones / House of Cards / Sopranos guy that finds morally problematic characters and situations interesting.
But I am familiar with Steve Carrell and his successful career in comedy. The interesting thing about him nowadays is how many serious roles he’s taking in films.
Steve Carrell is, before our very eyes, reinventing the perception of himself as an actor to the general public. Look at this side-by-side from him in The Office vs. the very serious movie, The Foxcatcher:
It’s more than just the makeup. It’s the kind of roles he’s accepting. It’s unlikely his agent would allow him to sign on to comedies while he’s trying to establish himself in dramatic films. He has a long body of work in comedy, and it will take awhile to change the public’s perception of him.
That’s exactly what’s happening with you. Be like Steve Carrell.
Once you do that for a few weeks, you’ll feel a bit confined. That’s ok — those are growing pains. Part of growth in a career pivot is developing the discipline to stay “on brand.” I’ve used Facebook a lot in this article because that’s often the place most people are LEAST disciplined with their brand.
If you’ve got the above steps down, you’re probably asking, “Ok, I’m starting to get this personal branding thing, but how do I accelerate the process?”
The Final Step is to Professionalize the Pending You So That It Becomes the Public You.
The easiest way to do that is to establish a platform online with a blog, containing these basic elements. I call this the MVP, or Minimum Viable Platform.
- self-hosted blog / website (here’s how to do that)
- an about page sharing your story (here’s how to write that)
- a services page that showcases your offerings and three (3) testimonials
- 3 blog posts
- an incentive for people to sign up for your email list
All This Conveys: Consistency, Commitment, and Competence.
If I see you posting about personal development on Facebook for 90 days, finally get curious and check out a blog post you share, and it turns out your blog is a ghost town, you’ll lose credibility.
I’m going to think, “Hmm, I guess Joe doesn’t really have it all figured out yet. No way I’m paying him $3,000 to coach me. He can’t even get his business website up and running. This is not a guy I’d want to emulate.”
Those 90 days of discipline will have gone down the drain.
To launch professionally, compile 3 testimonials and 3 blog posts. That conveys consistency. People will know they aren’t the first to visit your site, or to work with you. You’re giving them the gift of going second, and the blog posts will also showcase your competence.
Need An Overview? Grab My Brand You Blueprint, Free.
Kudos if you’ve read this far. The above steps sound simple, and they are. But like most simple things (like working out) they’re hard to follow through on because they require time and discipline.
To give you a big picture view, I’ve put together a simple framework I call The Brand You Blueprint: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Personal Brand. If this resonates with you, just click the picture and enter your email.