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.
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.”
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.