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Skill Bill

Changing fields? Your industrial evolution still relies on your old skill sets.

By Nichole L. Torres

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You've spent your whole life working in one field--youmajored in it in college, you've worked at it for a number ofyears, and guess what? You're ready for a change. Perhaps youworked in PR and now you want to run a motorcycle shop. Or you usedto be in the food services industry, but you've always dreamedof running an antiques store. The good news is that it's nevertoo late to make a drastic industry change and start a businessthat's completely different from the work you did before. Thebad news? It'll take some serious self-evaluation and some evenmore serious prep work.

Your first step is to take inventory of your skills to see whichones can be applied to your new endeavor, says marketing consultantand strategist Lois Carter Fay, founder of the Marketing IdeaShop in Massanutten, Virginia. "If, for instance, youworked in a company as an account executive in sales, [knowing howto sell] would be a helpful skill," says Carter Fay. A PR jobwould have taught you how to be creative in designing thefull-scale launch of a product, and such ingenuity would serve youwell as a handbag designer. Or you may have gotten your degree inchemistry where you learned how to mix compounds to createsomething new--you may apply those skills to your newfound gig asowner of a specialty cake bakery.

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