Times have changed.
Being able to quit planning to work by the time you hit your mid-50s is just a dream for many of us. It’s just the reality we face resulting from the many changes in the way the current economy is spinning. Many of us cannot afford to fully retire or are so healthy that we just don’t want to. Either way, there are other opportunities for us and they are not as employees – they are as entrepreneurs.
Okay, before you start saying things like I have lost my mind let me tell you a little bit about my story. I closed my business at 55. It was losing money and fell victim to the digital age and a soft economy. So, I started a home-based business as I was far from being anywhere near financially secure enough to stop working.
Maybe you are the kind of person who needed some help with your college dissertation because you were convinced you were going to work forever in the perfect work environment. Well, that wasn’t exactly how it went for me and countless others in our age bracket. So why would you even consider starting a business in your 50s? Let me give you three good reasons.
1 – Turn That Experience Into Gold
Let’s face it, even if you’ve only had one job for the past forty years, you have no less than forty years of experience. It has taught you something. Through keen observation and paying attention over the years you are going to have a good idea on how to handle several different situations someone half your age can’t imagine figuring out. Score one for you.
2 – Turn All That Extra Time Into Gold
By now you have at least paid off your mortgage or are very close. You have taken care of most of the goals you set for yourself several years ago. You are no longer in a hurry to get to that next one and that’s what works in your favour. Someone half your age is still thinking about marriage, family and that sort of thing. You’ve done all that so now you have the time to focus on a new project – your new business. Score yourself one more point.
3 – Turn How You Deal With Things Into Gold
Chances are you’ve had a few bumps along the way. Closing my business may be viewed as a failure to some but the way I dealt with it is what propelled me into my new business. You and I can let some things bounce off of us that could be devastating to someone half our age. We’ve found ways to get through the ups and downs and can navigate through them all. Starting a new business will have some of those, but it’s easy for us to work them out. Score 3-0!
It’s not as big a stretch as it once was to keep working later in life. In fact, it is far more common than you may think. For some of us we do it because we have to. Others do it as a way to stay connected and to keep busy. Whatever your reasons for starting a new business in your 50s, you will know that the odds are in your favour that you will succeed and that’s what makes it worth a try.
It was three years ago today (January 4, 2017) when I set in motion the start of my third quarter transition – only I didn’t see it as that at the time. I’ve told the story many times so bear with me if you already know the details. My wife, Brenda and I had owned a local weekly community newspaper for almost ten years by then. Business was slowly decreasing and I was trying to find something Brenda could do on slow days in the office.
We knew someone in our community who was working ‘remotely’ doing medical transcriptions and was apparently making a decent living doing that. This was where I started on my search for a part-time gig of some kind for Brenda. In my weeks of off-and-on online searches the word ‘freelance’ popped into one query. It was at that point the results coming up in the searches started to reveal opportunities related to freelance writing.
This was where I started to get pretty interested in a potential part-time gig for myself and joined an online community to learn more. What I discovered was literally hundreds of different kinds of freelance opportunities ranging from virtual assistants to IT work to social media work to freelance writing and many, many other off-site job options. I quickly launched a home-based business under the name Looseink Freelance Ninja and starting bidding on jobs.
It didn’t take long before I was picking up work from several different clients and decided I would focus my attention on article and blog writing as my ‘specialty’ and things went from there. Exactly two-and-a-half years later we chose to close our newspaper and two months after that I started writing freelance full-time as I had enough regular clients – and added a few more – to carry me into the shift to a new career.
As I stated before, this really was not planned in any way. The opportunity presented itself, I was curious and looked into it further. Had I not stumbled upon freelance writing choices it would be fair to say that none of this would have happened and both Brenda and I would be following a very different path once we decided to close our newspaper business. I don’t even want to speculate as to what that would have looked like at all.
So what is my point?
We were in our mid-50’s when it was becoming obvious that our career path was either coming to a dead end or needed a serious left turn. It’s not the best time in anyone’s life to have to face starting over in another career but – as it turns out – it is far more common than you may think. The term for it is third quarter transition. Some call it a midlife career change. It happens more and more these days thanks to many different workplace factors.
Downsizing, computerization and the need to do something different all play a role in why someone who has worked in the same business or company for a dozen or so years decides to make a change. It has been going on for so long that it is now recognized as a trend. As many Baby Boomers are hitting retirement age and discovering they can’t afford to retire, they decide to keep working later in life.
For me it was a change in the industry I had been working in for 16 years. So I found an option that made sense and followed it without knowing it would open a door for me I needed to enter. It opened up as a result of my interest in a hobby that turned into something greater than that. You may be able to do the same kind of transition. All it takes is looking at what interests you have and once you identify a passion, following it.
If you need some extra help in making that transition actually happen, I can help. I wrote and published an eBook aimed primarily at mature workers looking for ways to leave their present job situation and move on to doing something they enjoy. The eBook is titled, “Surviving Midlife Career Changes” and is available for just $1.99 USD at Amazon. I promise that it will encourage you to explore your options and get you on your way.
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.