skip to Main Content

Exploring encore careers

Using the Strengths That You Acquired Over Your Lifetime

If you’re considering changing careers as you get closer to your 50’s you are part of the new trend of “encore careers” that’s currently all the rage in the United States.

If that’s you, the biggest question that you have to answer before starting your encore career is simply this; what skills or gifts do you now possess that you can turn into an encore career that not only fulfills your goal but also is financially rewarding?

Of course, that’s a question that only you can answer knowing what you have learned over a career in your particular business or industry (or possibly in your off time). Most experts will tell you that, no matter what encore career you choose, it should be based on a strength, skill or valuable attribute that you have acquired during your lifetime.

A great example is a chiropractor that I know who decided to go into consulting when he realized that he enjoyed public speaking more than cracking people’s bones.  Indeed, he was already quite the skilled orator when he made the change as, during his long career, he had regularly spoken in front of large crowds at his new patient lectures.  In fact, his skill as a public speaker was one of the key factors to his phenomenally successful practice.

Another great example is a woman who worked in insurance until she was almost 55 and then changed careers and opened her own cake decorating business. For years she had been baking and decorating cakes as a hobby and her creations were extremely popular among her friends, family and colleagues. Over the years she became quite skilled at decorating cakes and, when it came time to start her encore career, she simply took a number of small business courses at a community college to make sure that she knew how to keep her books and do some basic marketing. Once she did, she started her own cake decorating business.

The point is that, whether your skill was picked up during your first career or simply learned “on the side”, using the skills that you already have to start your encore career will certainly have an impact on your success.  It’s much easier to start an encore career doing something that you already know and already have a passion for, and in many cases you may even have a following or client list that’s ready to support you and is prepared to purchase your service or products.

Speaking of passion, it’s definitely a plus to build your encore career around something that you’re passionate about. The vast majority of us have a “job” that we go to during the day and a “passion” that we devote ourselves to when we’re not working.  When contemplating an encore career, it’s an excellent idea to look at those passions and, if possible, incorporate them into your plans.

At the end of the day an encore career, unless it’s something that your finances dictate, should revolve around something that you already know, already love and already have passion for.  Think of it as your career “do over” and the opportunity to truly enjoy yourself while making a little bit of profit at the same time.

Hallie Crawford and Katie Weiser
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Is your clock ticking towards retirement? Check out our Encore Career Coaching services to help you define your life – on your terms.