“I’d built a brand with myself,” Draper says. “But now, I’m going from being a publisher to being a fishmonger? This was the biggest decision of my life. And the biggest thing I’ve had to conquer is fear of change.”

So how do career reinventors -- people looking to rebrand who they are in a professional context -- conquer that fear? A good way to start is by doing your due diligence. “When companies go through a major rebrand, they spend millions of dollars on market research,” says Bob Van Rossum, president of MarketPro, a contract-staffing and executive-placement firm in Atlanta. “So if you are looking to rebrand yourself, it needs to be done with real planning involved.”

Fair enough. Let’s start the planning with this simple four-step process.

STEP ONE: DO A GAP ANALYSIS.
“The key is to conduct in-depth research to find out what qualifications are needed to be successful in another industry,” says Lisa Quast, an executive coach and the author of Your Career, Your Way! “Then, compare [them with] your current skills, knowledge, and experience to determine the areas of crossover and any potential gaps.”

Let’s invent an example here. Suppose a finance manager would like to captain one of those king-crab boats on Deadliest Catch. A captain has to be meticulous and detail-oriented. A finance manager? The same. The captain also has to understand the migratory pattern of king crabs and know how to pilot a boat in extreme conditions. So the preliminary gap analysis indicates that a finance manager aspiring to become a boat captain should (1) take boating lessons, and (2) learn a whole lot about king crabs.

The idea is, first you need to know exactly what it is that you don’t know about the profession you want to pursue.