I transitioned from journalism to product management earlier in my career, and although it’s not a straightforward path, it’s actually pretty common for PMs to join tech from other sectors. An Asana PM teammate of mine, Ari Janover, actually has the best articulation of how to make the transition that I’ve ever heard. He says there are three common paths:
I followed the Expert path when starting out, and I’ve seen it work quite well in early-stage companies. One of the biggest challenges in starting in an early-stage company, though, is that you’re often the first or only PM, so although you have lots of things to learn, you may have fewer people to learn from. I spent a lot of time observing and learning from PMs at other companies and building up a group of folks I could exchange ideas and challenges with, and this is a practice I still find incredibly useful today.
For me the biggest differentiator is having a growth mindset. This doesn't just mean they want to make an impact and improve as a PM. For me it comes down to three things: