Moving Between Industries: How to Do it Successfully

As an entrepreneur, you will not always want to stick with one industry. When a good business opportunity comes up, you have to grab it! Moving between industries can seem daunting but it can be the best career move of your life. Here’s how to expand your business horizons while mitigating as much risk as possible.

Be a Team Player

No matter what industry you work in, teamwork will always be a large part of your success. Everyone likes to feel heard and respected. Show your team that you value them and they will reciprocate with hard work for you. Plus if you are feeling unsure about your knowledge of your new industry, looking to your teammates for help builds trust.

Work Extra Hard

Business leaders already have to have a strong work ethic. But switching industries means working harder than you ever have before. There will likely be a large learning curve, so spend as much time as you can immersing yourself in the nuances of your new industry.

Co-Founder of Newfoundland Hard-Rok Inc. Glen McKay likes to say that “the harder you work, the luckier you get.” Over his 40-year career, McKay has worked in everything from fishing to mining, always using his internal motivation to help him succeed.

Be Humble

While you may be a leader in your current industry, making a career change often means starting back at square one. This is the time to swallow your pride and take notes from people who know what they are talking about. Make trustworthy business contacts to show you the ropes. Your ego might be a little bruised at first but you will be back on top in no time if you actually humble yourself enough to learn.

Never Stop Learning

After you have worked in the same industry for years, you know the lingo, the names of business leaders, and the core values. When you move to another industry, it can be like learning a foreign language. Catch up by following top companies on social media, reading industry-specific news, taking courses, attending seminars, anything you can. This shouldn’t stop when you settle in to your new position, though. A lifelong commitment to knowledge takes entrepreneurs from good to exceptional.

Identify Your Transferable Skills

Even if you are moving to an industry that seemingly has nothing in common with your current one, chances are you have some skills that can transfer over. Customer service, problem-solving, and emotional intelligence will help you in nearly any type of job. Who knows, you might discover some harder skills that apply to both industries, too.

David Yarnold, President and CEO of the National Audubon Society, started his career as a journalist. However, nature and conservation were his real passions. After realizing that his knack for storytelling, creativity, and communication skills transferred perfectly to the nonprofit sector, he decided to shift his career.

If a new industry is calling your name, don’t be afraid to make a change! While shifting gears can be tough at first, the hard work will be worth it for your dream career. Be humble, always be on the lookout for learning opportunities, and lean on your team for support.

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