Figuring Out Your Next Big Move
Back when I was only running a research company, in my pre-dataviz days, I had the can’t-be-ignored sense that my heart just wasn’t fully in it anymore. And I hadn’t even been there very long.
Sure, I was making plenty of money, paying the bills, investing back in my community.
But I had the whisper. THAT whisper. The one that says you can do more.
It’s really annoying, that whisper. Because it doesn’t have good follow through. Like, what’s that more? What should I be doing?
So if you’re trying to figure out your next move and you’ve got the whisper in your ear, here’s my advice.
Spend six months to a year dabbling in some low-stakes spaces.
Pick spaces that seem like possible candidates for your next move, even if you’re only 10% leaning in that direction.
So if you’re looking for a career pivot, any kind of career pivot, you need stints in any place that seems appealing. A younger Stephanie woulda sought out job shadowing or internships in forestry, restaurant management, and journalism.
The goal is to accumulate a crap ton of experience in a wide range of places so you can see what makes your heart sing.
What resonates in your bones.
Plenty of people become millionaires without their heart coming along for the ride. Get this: I know a guy who launched his multi-million dollar empire by choosing it from a list he found on the internet about quick business ideas. He’s pretty dispassionate about the actual product.
But life is exponentially better when you feel like your work aligns with your life’s purpose.
Life is also reallllllly big, which is why it can take some time to play around so broadly that you find where the tuning fork is your pitch.
Read some. Experience more. It’s one thing to read about something in the abstract but you’ve gotta get your feet wet. Travel, if you can.
In her epic graduation speech, Shonda Rhimes says, basically, get off your tushy and do something. You can only dream for so long. You’ve gotta test the waters. Get experience.
At the very least, schedule some informational interviews with people currently in the field. Ask about pain points, victories, growth possibilities, and the ugly stuff no one likes to talk about. And then listen to what, if anything, is resonating in your heart.
You’ve also gotta be good at it.
Listen, I love LOVE the smell of baking bread. I love kneading the dough. I love slicing into the fresh loaf, spreading some butter, and taking that first bite.
However, I suck at baking bread. Trust that I tried several times a week during the darkest times of the pandemic. I just can’t figure it out.
Bread baking is not my next business move.
Better to figure that out before investing my savings into a commercial oven.
So – something you love AND you’re good at. Both. Together.
But there’s more:
The world pays for it.
In your adventures you might find that leading a girl scout troop is makin your heart sing. The kids love you. You’re GOOD at this.
That’s nice. But that job doesn’t pay. It’s a hobby. A cool hobby! But still.
Your next business move has to actually bring in business.
So if you’re zoning in on a potential next step but you aren’t sure people will pay for it yet, here’s what to do:
Talk to potential clients. Get the scoop on whether this is something they’ve ever hired for or see an actual business need for. It’s ok to send someone a $5 coffee shop gift card and ask for 15 minutes on Zoom to get at this.
Don’t try asking if they’d be willing to pay a certain amount. That doesn’t work because people will say yes to seem supportive but when it comes to brass tacks they may not actually buy.
If you want to test the pricing, try putting a pre-launch into the universe. A pre-launch is when you sell your service before it’s fully formed. You’ll say if you buy now (at a lower cost) I’ll share as a build and you’ll have a hand in shaping the offer. If you get traction here, you’ve funded your build. Cool! You can keep testing pricing strategies from there.
Whether you’re looking for a full career pivot or itching to form a new branch of your existing business, you’re taking a big leap into the unknown. What if you hate it? What if no one wants to buy it?
Six to 12 months spent exploring these three areas should tell you which way to go.
And if you love your current job, it’s probably hitting all three of these points.
Well…. is it? Write me back and tell me which it’s hitting and which it isn’t.