If you had told me three years ago, as I was entering my third quarter transition, that I would be involved in politics I probably would have scoffed at the idea. In reality, I had taken a run once before at Municipal politics in 1999. My grandfather spent several years in the 1930s and 1940s deeply involved in civic government. It was something I had a minor interest in but had been exposed to heavily ever since I moved to Princeton back in 1986.
Radio News Then Newspaper Reporting
I instantly became a reporter as one of the many duties I assumed as the Assistant Manager of the local radio station. The job included the morning show, advertising sales and news gathering with a focus on local government. When I left that job and ended up at a local newspaper I had some of the same duties. When I became owner/publisher one of the things I did eventually assume was reporting duties with a focus on local government.
The Love/Hate Relationship
Over the years I saw many different local governments come and go. I even covered a number of the local elections. Not once during that time did I ever see myself as part of such an organization. Town Councils were great sources of news content even if they were not cooperative, and in most cases they were. Then changes in how local government viewed the role of local media shifted how we all did business with each other.
Shutting The Doors To Our Business
A drop in advertising revenue from local government contributed to difficulties we experienced with our newspaper. However, ad revenues were also down across the board and changes in the industry were shifting a lot of things around. The digital technology of the day soon spelled the end of small town independent newspapers. When we decided to close the doors I was asked more than once if I had considered local politics as my next move.
Two And-A-Half Year Wait
The next municipal election was still over two years away but the question kept surfacing over and over again. I eventually started considering it as a potential ‘next step’ although we had already switched our lives to focus on turning two part-time established hobbies into full-time careers. That was successful and marked our third quarter transition. However, I still saw room for additional challenges in my life and tossed my hat in the ring.
My First Term As Councillor
I ended up winning a seat on our local Town Council in a race that included 14 other Candidates. Early into this position it has become apparent to me that this is a good fit for where I am in my life. I have a great deal of freedom as a work-from-home entrepreneur and so far, the steep learning curve has been eased with a lot of support coming from the municipal level. What will I be doing in five years? I’d like to think I’ll still be chasing challenges.
It was exactly a year ago tonight, on December 31, 2017, when I launched my municipal election campaign. I was the first local candidate to officially declare my intention of seeking a seat on Princeton Town Council. My goal at the time was simple – to get a leg up on any and all competition going into the October election. Within days I had an interview with the local newspaper and my announcement was quickly followed by one from another candidate.
I talk and write a lot about the need for an inspiration, a reason to step up and jump into something that may be outside of your perceived comfort zone. It’s what pushed my wife, Brenda and I to change our career paths while in our late 50’s. For me, I’ve never had much trouble coming up with a logical reason for anything I have done. I can look back on my last couple of careers and pinpoint why I made the move into each one and what I gained.
The New Career Path Following My Third Quarter Transition
To wrap up what happened with the story I started to tell here, a total of 20 people eventually put their names forward for the local election. That dropped down to 18 candidates vying for 5 seats on the local government body. The election arrived and record numbers of ballots were cast and record numbers of votes went to the top candidates. I also won a seat on Princeton Town Council. I’d like to think my early start helped, but I also forget there’s something else.
I have a long history here that is also filled with accomplishments that had inspiration behind them. My reputation is good and I know I can deliver on the things I promise as my track record confirms. However, the victory also put me in territory I am somewhat unfamiliar with. But, as I usually have done in the past, I see this as a challenge worth pursuing and am not afraid to ask questions or consult with others with experience for some direction or assistance.
The Throwback To Previous Career Paths Followed Along The Way
Sticking to the theme of requiring inspiration for projects, it was earlier in this month when I started putting together an idea for another eBook. Only this time I wanted to focus on something I didn’t need to do a lot of outside research on. I wanted to use my experience as the main thrust of the content. In a few days I settled on putting together a guide for beginners who were looking at starting a podcast channel. I put together a short outline and went from there.
In just over three different writing sessions, I had completed my target of over 12,000 words. After proofreading, some tweaks and the creation of a cover, I uploaded the eBook to Amazon. The accomplishment was symbolic to me in many ways. It showed that I could produce something of value in a short period of time and that my life of deadlines was still very much in place. What I liked most about it was that I used my experience as the inspiration.
So What Is My Point?
Quite simply, I am encouraging you to look closer to yourself and your surroundings for that inspiration that sends you off on your quest for a career change. There is really no bad idea if it happens to be something you already have experience with. For more information on podcasting, why not check out my new eBook? It is titled, “How To Start Podcasting – The Beginner’s Guide” and it is available on Amazon for the fee of $2.99 USD.
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.
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.