I don’t normally think about it but I sure like talking about it. I’m talking about the answer I like to give when I get asked about what we are doing now. I had an opportunity to do that just the other day in the checkout lane at the local grocery store. I had gotten in line and shortly after I unloaded my shopping cart at the till a fellow I knew as a former customer of mine got in the lane behind me and unloaded his groceries. We shared pleasantries and some small talk.
Then he asked what I’ve been doing.
This was a local business owner who used to advertise in our newspaper when we had it and I used to have as a client when I worked at the local radio station. I proudly announced that I am a full-time ghostwriter and that my wife and I also vend her business out-of-town at the Oliver Indoor Flea Market. He seemed somewhat impressed and made a comment about how much more relaxed his life had become once he got out of business himself.
I explained that I’m probably busier now than I was when I had the paper.
Then he said something I often hear when I get into this kind of conversation. He said that it’s a lot different when you are busy doing things for yourself. I knew what he meant by that and I had to agree. There is a lot to be said about having control over your future and not being tied down to the schedule of something that you can’t control. Brenda and I ended up discussing this further in the days that followed. I know we are at that place, but it is nice to be reminded.
Although the ghostwriting and vending fills our days, it’s because we are letting it.
We are not being forced to meet certain timelines or commitments and that is easily the best thing we have identified about having home-based businesses. Where it becomes even more fun and relaxing is that our home-based businesses fell into place as we entered our third quarter transition. We were not pushed into making career changes, we changed with the closure of our business and discovered other opportunities that presented themselves to us.
Sometimes we really do have to remind ourselves of what we’ve done.
I think that is probably why I enjoyed the short conversation I had the other day in the grocery store. It gave me a reason to explain what we’ve been up to since we closed our business. It also gave me a reason to more or less celebrate our accomplishments. There is much more to celebrate than just getting through a third quarter transition. We made it on our terms and converted hobbies into new careers. And it actually worked.
I’ve written about it frequently. The ‘it’ being how everything has been falling into place in the past year for both Brenda and I as we complete our third quarter transition. I guess it’s a lot easier for us to see now that we’ve basically finished the switch from where we were to where we are now. It was actually the topic of conversation the past couple of weeks at home.
A lot of the good parts to what we have been doing since becoming work-from-home entrepreneurs have become obvious to us recently. As much as I enjoy the weekends where we go out of town to vend Brenda’s JamBusters! products and Watkins at the Oliver Indoor Flea Market, I know it’s still work for her to get inventory together for those trips.
But she has also indicated how much she enjoys the new weekend routine that we have fit into our lives. It really has become a very important part of our midlife career change. In fact, in the past month we have taken it a step further and started to advertise the vending business in a weekly newspaper in the region. We’ve also joined the Oliver Tourism Association.
What was so attractive to us in picking up a membership in that organization was that it gave us access to rack card promotions – for an additional fee. It didn’t take much convincing for either of us to see how that would be beneficial to our weekend vending trips. So, in a way, we are starting to find the right fit for what we are doing with one of our work-from-home ventures.
As for my ghostwriting business, things have picked up once again and I find myself getting better and better at managing my time. When we had the newspaper it was essential to keep on top of deadlines. If anything, the weekly deadline schedule helped to keep me on track. I’ve basically carried that into my freelance work only I now have daily deadlines.
However, since I have adjusted my work pace, I have found the right fit and now work only five days a week writing. With few exceptions, I take weekends off so I can focus on the vending part of our lives. Plus, as odd as it may seem, I view the vending as days off that are fun and enjoyable with lots of interaction with others. Bren says she feels the same way, too.
Why has it taken this long to realize that we have finally found the right fit in our lives with the midlife career changes we made? I don’t really know how to answer that. I think it just happened and now that we are comfortable in the place we are in our lives, we can finally see that what we did has started to bear fruit. All I know is that where we are now, is feeling pretty good to me.
There are many reasons why people will take a left turn in their career path later in life. I have covered many of them in previous blogs. For us, we found that our business was slowly dying and not recovering. It was sped up by changes in the industry we were in and combined with technology, we just could not keep up or compete. So we closed our doors.
While looking back on it I think we made a bold move, it was also a move that was made with many risks. This is normally the case with any type of change. For us, we had back up plans, although we may not have realized that at the time. If you are thinking of making a midlife career change, here are a few tips to help guide you through the transition.
1 – Define What You Need And What You Want
This is about your personal priorities. If you desire changes in your career that give you more freedom or more income, these things have to be considered. If your plan is to slow down and work for yourself rather than for someone else, you have to be clear on your end game. Making the transition just because you are bored with your present job is not always the right answer.
2 – Take A Test Or Two
If you really are not all that certain that this is the time for a midlife career change, there are ways to find out. There are several types of online tools and tests that you can take to help determine your career path. By using these you will be able to better define your career goals and if a change is required, then you’ll have some verifiable proof to back it up.
3 – Don’t Bury The Past
There is a great thing about being able to use our past experiences in the present and future. They help us to understand what our goals actually are and if we achieved them or not. The story of your past work and community activities will show you places where you have been successful and where you have not been. These may give you new career targets to focus on.
4 – See A Career Counsellor
There is nothing wrong with seeking the assistance of a professional. One of the best times to get to know a career coach is when you are considering a midlife career change. The advice and guidance you can receive from a career professional may help you to clarify your path. You may discover that your answer is right in front of you and just needs to be noticed.
5 – Take The Leap
There are times you will never know if you’ve made the right choice if you don’t just go ahead and make the change. In our case, our back up plans turned into our new careers. But had we never considered them as viable options, we would never have ended up where we are now. We trusted our gut and took leaps of faith that paid off as our midlife career changes.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.