Starting Over: Can You Really Start a New Career After 50?

She became a reluctant entrepreneur some 25 years ago, after resigning from one job before finding another.

After a few weeks of uncertainty she discovered that businesses would pay a premium to freelancers who could fill short-termget a new career management positions.  One three-month engagement led to another, then another, then another.

She gained more experience providing professional services to a variety of companies than she ever would have working her way up the corporate ladder of just one.

Of course, none of that really matters to today’s employers because she’s now considered “too old”.

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When the recession hit, many of my friends and colleagues lost their jobs.  Some even lost their homes.  Others had to leave California’s Silicon Valley to find cheaper housing, only to find that jobs on the other end were also few and far between.  All of them lost a bit of dignity.

Even lowering one’s salary requirements can backfire because employers don’t trust you to stay if you get a better offer.

The problem is, there just aren’t enough jobs to go around and the available ones tend to go to people much younger than you and I.  Mature job seekers need not apply to jobs that say the following:

Intern wanted:  They’re looking for free labor.

New college grads:  They’re looking for cheap labor.

3-5 years experience only:  They want young, cheap labor.

Must state salary requirements:  Again – young, cheap labor.

As a former corporate employment consultant I can tell you the conversations that would often take place after we interviewed older candidates.

“Do they have enough energy?”

“Will they fit in?”

“Can they learn to do things our way?”

“Can they make a long term commitment?”

And those are some of the nicer comments.  I suppose it’s even worse these days.

An Emerging Market Where Age Can Be an Asset

Here’s an idea if you have been laid off, want to work part time (but not at WalMart) or don’t have enough savings to make it to retirement age.  If no one will hire you, hire yourself.  It can be easier to start a business than to find a job.  Especially if you’re anywhere near 50.

As a Local Marketing Consultant to small businesses you could potentially write your own ticket.

There are almost 23 million small and medium size businesses in the US alone.  And what do they all need?  They need more customers.  As a Local Marketing Consultant to small businesses you could potentially write your own ticket.  And the problem solving skills you’ve developed during your life and career are a marketable asset that these businesses will pay you for.

With The Right Approach and Advice This is Very Doable

Large corporations have marketing departments, technical staff and sales teams.  Smaller businesses, especially in this economy, tend to outsource as much of these activities as they can.  Local Marketing Consultants use a variety of internet marketing methods to generate new customers and get existing customers to buy more.  And the good news is that with a little basic training and your computer you can build a sustainable business.  If you choose to work within an industry you know something about, your previous experience can be a huge asset.

In the next article I’ll share with you my some of my experience as a Local Marketing Consultant and what I think it takes to build a successful practice.

And in case you’re wondering, the person I talked about at the beginning of this article is ME.