What I Learned From Building 5 Companies in 5 Totally Different Industries

The lessons I learned can be used by anyone who’s looking to explore a new opportunity outside their current field

Fast Company
Fast Company
Published in
6 min readAug 5, 2019

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By Ben Lamm

As teenagers, we are asked to decide which field we would like to pursue — ostensibly for the rest of our working lives. Our college major or the first few jobs we take often become the label that the world uses to describe us. This can be incredibly frustrating for those of us who are seeking new job opportunities and are told we do not have the experience that a new role in a different industry requires.

My background is in accounting and finance; yet, over the course of my career, I have created five different companies (and sold three to publicly traded companies) in vastly different industries, such as technology consulting, gaming, and conversational AI. I strongly believe we should follow our passions rather than our degrees, which is why I created my current company Hypergiant, an AI products and services company that solves the biggest problems of today and tomorrow. This couldn’t be further from my formal training.

In my experience moving among industries, I’ve found there are certain steps that can be taken to make the transition easier and more personally fulfilling. Whether you’re looking to start a company or just find a job that makes you more excited to get out of bed in the morning, big changes are simpler than you think, as long as you continue to pursue new ideas with insatiable curiosity.

Focus on personal discovery

Switching industries requires going on a personal exploration. While it is important to know what you are good at from a skills perspective, the first step to uncovering a more fulfilling career (or ensuring the area you want to move in to is one that will fuel you for more than a few months) is to uncover the issues and topics you care about.

Sit down with a notebook, and write down the issues and areas that spark excitement and an urge to act. Once you have the list, take it a step further by mapping out what is currently being done in each area that you are aware of and where there is still a…

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Fast Company
Fast Company

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