By Todd Bialaszewski, owner of Junk Car Medics, a national cash for junk cars service that turns junk car blues into green across the USA.
Pivoting into a new industry represents a significant transition. Whether you’re considering a pivot to meet personal or professional goals or to keep up with the changes in a fluctuating job market, pivoting takes a fair bit of finesse to pull off successfully. Switching gears and learning new skills can unlock unique opportunities, which is increasingly important because trends are shifting and entire industries are being altered by advancements in technological capabilities.
I say this from personal experience, as I pivoted from running an SEO agency to buying junk cars. This was a major shift in my professional life, and through trial and error and by learning on the job, I’ve created a successful company that buys thousands of vehicles a year.
In this article, I’m going to discuss the tips and tricks that allowed me to pull off a successful pivot and that can help you do the same.
Base Pivots Off Of Data And Research
Shifting careers requires upfront time and research. Don’t jump in blind; this is often how people make mistakes. Study the data from the industry you’re interested in and learn about its unique trends and challenges and the opportunities you’re hoping to seize.
Pivoting requires a certain level of risk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t calculate the risk before taking it. Make informed decisions; this will inevitably lead to a smarter pivot.
One of the worst things you can do is base a major life decision on a gut feeling or do something because you have a “hunch.” Hunches don’t pay the bills. Instead of carelessly gambling with your personal and professional life, do the legwork and understand what you’re getting into.
Build On Your Existing Skills As Much As Possible
Everybody has a set of transferable skills that can allow them to adapt to new environments. Highlighting these skills is fundamental to pivoting, even if the industry is a complete 180 from what you did previously.
For example, I ran an SEO agency before pivoting to running an online junk-car-buying business. With no prior knowledge of cars, I took advantage of my extensive experience building websites and generating leads. This allowed me to develop a professional online presence and attract customers and partners from whom I could buy vehicles.
Determine which sub-niches you can expand upon to generate new income streams. Whether your skills are in budgeting, managing a team, social media or information analysis, you can use them to pivot successfully.
Fully Embrace The Pivot
Pivoting can be stressful, especially if it means leaving behind a career and shouldering a fair bit of uncertainty. Now that you’ve done your research, you can fight back against this uncertainty with data and seek out influencers to network with. Joining associations and becoming actively involved allows you to ingratiate yourself within the industry, as well as form bonds with individuals who can offer advice based on experience and provide a sounding board for new ideas.
Imposter syndrome can lead industry newcomers to feel that they’re not as capable as others and that they don’t yet belong in the arena. Don’t let these feelings of uncertainty or doubt prevent you from seeking new opportunities and tackling challenges. Recognize the value that you’re bringing to the table and the skills that will allow you to flourish in your new venture.
Create Rock-Solid SOPs
Standard operational procedures (SOPs) outline the instructional process for completing a particular task or activity. This can help you achieve standardization and meet quality control demands for a service or product. Developing efficient procedures is one of the best ways to expand within a new industry. Not only do they allow everyone involved in the business to get up to speed quickly, but they also allow room for rapid growth within a new industry.
Pivoting generally requires learning on the job, so having procedures in place that encourage productivity and expansion is key to finding success. Regularly review your SOPs to ensure they’re meeting regulations and staying up to date with technology.
Don’t Be Scared To Pivot Again
Once you’ve pulled off a successful pivot, be prepared to change course again in the future. Learning how to pivot between niches and industries while building your skill set along the way is integral to staying flexible in an ever-changing market. For example, AI will undoubtedly turn many industries on their heads, and entrepreneurs should be prepared to pivot their course when necessary to stay ahead of the game.
Whether you opt to tackle an entirely new venture or you choose to craft unique sub-niches within your business, learning how to meet your audience’s demands efficiently and thoughtfully is one of the best ways to earn repeat business and glowing reviews.