After a rather slow month in eBook sales, my “Surviving Midlife Career Changes” title took off slightly at the end of November. Sales spiked to the point where it sat at the #3 Best Sellers spot in Canada in the Adult & Continuing Education category. By later in the day it had slipped down to #7. It has been as high as #3 in the past. Well, that I’ve noticed as I rarely track that data.
I think what I have tried most to get across in that eBook was that for those of us over 45 (in my case, over 55) there is still opportunity out there. However, in order to find the right fit for your situation, you have to have something in your past you can draw on. In other words, find inspiration from your passion whether it is a hobby or a skill you happen to have mastered.
That’s exactly what we did. It was most certainly not planned nor were we following any sort of instruction on how to transition in our third quarter. I like to describe our method as being “self taught.” That’s because it explains how we managed to develop a couple of hobbies we had already been working on long before we had to make the decision to close our existing business.
What Inspires You?
Even if you don’t have a hobby, there will be something inside of you that keeps you inspired. Your goal is to determine what that spark actually is. Once you figure that out, you need to take a hard look at it and ask yourself if you can flip that into a source of income. For me, it became ghostwriting. For Brenda it was her passion for creating interesting home preserves.
Your particular inspiration may not be the product of a hobby and it may not be related to anything you have been doing lately. That is why I emphasized in my eBook the need to examine your existing skills. Even if you don’t consider yourself skillful in a trade you still possess skills that you can use to either teach others or create things for others. It really is that simple.
Can You Really Flip A Hobby Into A Career?
Actually, you can. Using us as an example, my ghostwriting business has expanded each of the almost five years I’ve been doing it. I currently have clients in over 40 countries and have 40 to 50 jobs a month. They come to me. My wife’s home canning business has expanded as well to where we are vending each and every Saturday and Sunday. She sold 1,200+ jars last year.
Yes, I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been a lot of work to get to the point we are at currently with our third quarter transition. But when you are doing something you are passionate about – and enjoy doing – the hard work part isn’t such a big deal. The only real hurdle you should encounter is actually choosing to flip a hobby or passion into that new career path you’ve always wanted.
For more assistance on how to do what we did, my eBook “Surviving Midlife Career Changes” will give you all the details you need. You can download your copy today from Amazon.
If you’ve been following my blog posts for any length of time you will have hopefully picked up on two main themes. First, although it may not be the most desirable thing to have happen, closing a business is not uncommon in today’s economy. Second, when you close a business and you happen to be in your late to mid-50’s, it really isn’t the end of the world. I have pointed out several times that if you are in your 50’s and beyond, you have far more value in the workforce than you may realize. This is one of the points that helped guide us through our midlife career change.
There’s Also That Other Thing…
I would be remiss in not mentioning that for my wife, Brenda, and I, our transitioning was made much easier because we each already had potential career options in place. You should already know that we actually turned two hobbies into careers. I truly understand that this is not always the case when you are faced with the need to shift your work focus. However, it also allowed me to share with you that sometimes the answer is already there. We just need to be pushed into a place where a decision has to be made on whether or not to jump ship or start over - with something we already have invested time into but as just a sideline instead of a serious venture.
Where Am I Going With This?
Well, as it turns out, my life is going to go through yet another career shift of sorts. I was elected to a Councillor seat in our local government following the Municipal Election on October 20. I am part of a five-member Town Council (one mayor, four councillors) and it is a four year term. This is a very different direction for me, although I have already been heavily involved in my community. In a way, I see this opportunity as the ‘next step’ in helping do good things for others. I have been volunteering extensively over the past 30+ years in my community. I enjoy working with others who are trying to improve various conditions. Holding a local government seat should be all of this and a whole lot more. The other members of Council who were elected with me share the same desires and I can’t wait to see where this takes each all of us and our community.
What Does It Mean?
There are going to be some adjustments made in our household, without a doubt. I’ll still be able to write for my existing ghostwriting clients. If anything, I appreciate even more how flexible my writing career is as that should allow me to put in many hours monthly on Town Council and still maintain my writing client base. It won’t have much of an impact on Brenda’s venture as I’ll still be able to participate in vending activities with her. There are going to be exceptions, but overall I can honestly say that our lives are at a place where we can flex around the other commitments much easier than we could in our previous careers. As for me, personally, the election to Town Council means I am part of a team that can do great things for our community. I am truly looking forward to the challenges to come in the next four years in that position.
Find Out More About Our First Midlife Career Changes
I have an eBook I published shortly after Brenda and I closed our weekly newspaper business. It outlines how you can make a career change later in life and shares tips and advice on how to do it smoothly. You can find it on Amazon – “Surviving Midlife Career Changes.”
If you were to ask me to describe the past month to you I’d have to say that there was a lot of activity. So much so, that the wheels on our car seemed to always be spinning us to somewhere. September turned out to be one of the busiest months both Brenda and I have had in quite some time. I am a little bit amazed that we were able to keep up such a high pace in order to get through it all.
My month was filled with the usual set of meetings for the non-profit groups I am active in. Although most of the meetings were of the regular once-per-month variety, I did have a few additional committee meetings that fit into the mix. One proud moment was on September 21, 2018 when I cut the ribbon to officially open an interpretive walking tour for a group I have been the Chairman of for the past five years. That was a good day filled with stories, song, food and great visiting.
As I had been promoting myself as running for a seat in the local municipal election since January, this month was where it all suddenly became very real. Nominations closed on September 14, 2018 and I had to have my nomination papers in order and submitted prior to that. I went in a few days before and was pleased to discover that all my documents were correct and that I had finally become an ‘official’ candidate. I have been actively promoting myself online to this point.
Brenda and I have continued to vend JamBusters! and Watkins Products at the Oliver Indoor Flea Market. One weekend I went alone as Bren was busy with another activity and we both took JamBusters! on the road to the annual Similkameen Sizzle pepper festival in Keremeos, BC on September 15, 2018. We also vended together at the final Princeton Chamber of Commerce outdoor market three days later. We will be skipping the final weekend of the month so we can take a short break. Brenda was working strings of eight and ten hour days canning in the kitchen to keep up with the demand and to fill inventory.
Although my job order number is lower this month than last, the number of articles written is very likely close to a record. At one point I was writing between 6,500 and 9,000 words a day to keep up with the number of articles that were ordered. I stopped taking orders a week before we planned on going away for a few days so that I could completely catch up. That meant a week plus of ten and twelve hour days for me. The goal was a break, so the work is always worth it.
Keeping Track Of Our Midlife Career Changes
We obviously like to stay busy and I often look back to when our lives were just as complicated but far less productive. That is what I see the most about the changes we have experienced in the past couple of years. The changes have made us very productive. I’m pleased to see that this is the case.
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.