“How Do I Make Progress Towards My Dream Career, When I Can't Afford To Retrain?”

James is serious about changing his career. There's just one problem – he can't afford to study for the qualification he needs to pursue his ideal work. How do you make progress with your shift, when you don't have the money to make it possible?

What's your career history and current job?

I've had a long and varied career in sales, working for different organisations in the UK and overseas.

Currently, I'm a regional sales manager for an insurance company. But I won't be doing that for much longer.

I've been thinking long and hard about changing, so I made the decision to hand in my notice without another job to go to.

How do you feel about your work?

I enjoy building client relationships, providing great customer service, and feeling enthused about the products or services I'm selling.

But in my most recent role, I've been working 14 hours every day, with ridiculously early starts. I feel at my best when I'm collaborating with like-minded others, but I work from home on my own, staring at a screen all day.

I've had enough of feeling isolated from other people.

By the end of each working day, I feel so mentally drained that I can't focus. I want to change my career, but I haven't had the time or energy I need to explore new ideas.

That's what's fuelled the decision to hand in my notice.

What would you like to be doing instead?

I want to help others achieve their potential.

Being able to help people shift their mindset in a positive way really appeals to me.

I'm a listener rather than a talker, and I very much enjoy asking open-ended questions that help me understand other people's individual stories.

I've also got plenty of life experience, and a career that has involved a lot of ups and downs. I've gone from earning a very high salary, to periods when I was earning hardly anything at all – with all the associated lifestyle changes that brings.

I feel I could draw upon my own experiences to help others, so I've thought about becoming a professional coach or mentor.

I would also love to be able to organise events that create meaningful experiences, helping people turn their dreams into reality.

What's the biggest obstacle in your way?

I haven't got the money needed to qualify as a coach, or to invest in starting my own business.

I know I will probably have to do some on-the-job training, but without a coaching qualification or any practical experience, I'm not sure where to start.

I've got no savings put by, so I have to move quickly now I've handed in my notice. I can afford to earn less than I do now, just as long as I can keep the bills paid.

I’m confident that with focus and hard work I can be successful. I just need a plan.

How can I make progress towards my dream career, when I can't afford to retrain?

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