Well, it’s been awhile my friends … but I’ve been busy trying to re-invent myself! Some call it a mid-life crisis and women often blame it on hormones, but the fact is, many boomers arrive at this point in their lives and ask … what do I really want to do with my life? It’s like re-living my teenage drama! Tired of the same old 9 to 5 … looking for new challenges …. more freedom to balance work and life? Sounds like a recipe for self-employment, and I am not alone.
Statistics Canada released their monthly labour report this week and while Canadian job quality fell in 2015, self-employment rose. More than half of the 158,000 new positions created last year were in the self-employed category. Data also revealed that Canadians between the ages of 55 and 64 are almost twice as likely as those ages 25 to 44 to be unincorporated self-employed workers. But there is a darker side to this story as well.
With job security at an all-time low and private companies struggling to stay afloat, benefits, guaranteed hours and wage increases are a thing of the past. Instead of just accepting this new reality, many boomers are increasingly choosing to forge their own path.
So, before I go bust I’m busting out! With a little bit of planning, some serious soul searching and a bit of desperation (I won’t lie … its stressful) I am planning my future on my terms … or at least giving it a shot! Here’s a few things I’ve learned so far. ps that is not me in the photo – boomers don’t look like that!
Tip #1 Don’t put all your apples in one basket – make a list of all your talents, interests and passions and come up with a plan that gives you some flexibility to take on more than one project at a time (unless of course you have some amazing, earth shattering entrepreneurial idea or are planning to be a youtube sensation)
Tip #2 Leave one foot in the door – don’t cut all your ties with your present employer. Try cutting down your work week. With your experience and expertise you should be able to offer your services on a reduced schedule or work from home and hand over some of your previous responsibilities to junior staff. Many employers appreciate an option to hire you as a consultant, leaving you time to pursue other interests .
Tip #3 Set up a home office so you can manage your (hopefully) busy life. Many new employment opportunities rely on your access to a home computer, tablet and mobile device. An organized work space also helps to keep you focused and on task. These are all tax deductible for the self-employed so remember to keep all your receipts for anything work related.
Tip #4 Seek out like minded individuals to share space, resources, business ideas and referrals. The sharing economy is here to stay and building a community cuts down on operating costs. Sharing space also gives us human interaction. The new generation get’s it and so should we!
Tip #5 Technology is your best friend … embrace it. Don’t be afraid of the learning curve, use technology, social media and web platforms to sell yourself, your services and your stuff! On-line booking systems like MindBodyOnline, mobile point of sale systems like Squareup, ecommerce shopping carts like Shopify and advertising venues like GoogleLocal, twitter, facebook, linkedin, Instagram and Pinterest are essential to the self-employed boomer.
Tip #6 Network by joining business groups, volunteering for organizations that interest you, attending seminars and courses.
Tip #7 Look to the past while looking forward – often new opportunities arise from jobs or passions you held in the past. Maybe it’s time to re-visit.
Tip #8 Utilize some of your time to learn new skills. Community Colleges like Algonquin College have an incredible variety of part-time on-line certificate courses, and platforms like Udemy offer inexpensive on-line courses for specific skills.
Tip #9 Diversify – who says you only have to do one thing? Wouldn’t it be great to wake up every morning and go to a new job? You can have your own gig while doing part-time or contract work for others and create a flexible work schedule.
Tip #10 Keep your eyes open – just because you’ve chosen self-employment now doesn’t mean a chance to land your dream job isn’t a viable option. You’re freer than ever to choose how you want to work and spend your time.
As you can see, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this. I knew there were self-employment opportunities for me in my field of communications, marketing and social media, but when I came across this recent trend report, it got me seriously thinking about the other skills I posses and hadn’t used for awhile.
According to Trend Forecast: The Boomer Boom trend is wide open. Big businesses, established industries and wide-eyed/on-trend entrepreneurs are positioned to create products, services, media and facilities for keeping aging boomers vibrant throughout old age. Among the many we identified: Special emphasis will be on holistic, natural-health remedies and activities as a comforting alternative to harsh medications, outpatient surgeries and coping products that treat but do not heal.
Boomers can support Boomers through businesses and services. It’s a brave new world … wish me luck! This is just for laughs but this could be you …