Admit it—you’ve had that thought. I don’t care if you’re gainfully employed. It’s the reason you didn’t tell your boss to go to hell.
I get the feeling that most people over 50 fall into one of two categories: they are either struggling to find a job or terrified of losing the one they have. They’re terrified because they understand there’s probably someone out there a heck of a lot younger, with more energy and better technical skills, willing to work for less. Thank god they have the job they do. They would hate to have to go apply for a new one.
But what if you do get laid off after 50? And what if, like most people over 50, you find it difficult to get a new job, especially one that pays as much as the one you just lost? What if no one would ever hire you again? What then?
Imagine you have a divine visitor who tells you they have some good news and some bad news for you. The bad news is that, with 100% certainty, no one will ever hire you again. It’s a fool’s errand to look for a job. The good news, however, is that if you strike out on your own, and are completely committed, you will be a smashing success. You will make more money, have more free time and be more fulfilled than you ever could be working for someone else. What would you do?
The first thing you would do is to stop thinking in terms of a resume and start thinking in terms of portfolio. You would stop thinking in terms of job titles are starting thinking in terms of problems you solve.
Then you would start to think of things that never occur to the gainfully employed. Where do I find my first paying customer? How much should I charge? How do I build up an email list?
Don’t worry. These are not difficult questions. There’s tons of information out there to help you. You’ve just never needed the answers before now. But you need to prepare yourself. The road ahead is rocky.
It’s a gauntlet, no doubt. Your first day as a solopreneur will not be a smashing success. You may start by taking a pro bono job. After that, most likely, your first paying gig will be making less than you’re accustomed to making, and less than you need to survive. But if you do a great job, which you will, that first customer may want to give you more work, and may even tell others about you.
Eventually, you’ll have enough work so that you’ll be “forced” to raise your rates. Then again, and maybe even again. At some point, it’s not uncommon to find yourself making more on an hourly basis than you ever did when you were gainfully employed. And when that day arrives, you will smile a smile of contentment you never knew working for someone else.
It will be a joyous day. You will have it all. Great income, job security and the best boss in the world. Everything you always wanted in a career but could only realize after you took the leap. You can thank your divine visitor for that.