I’m Nancy Collamer, a career consultant, speaker and author of Second-Act Careers: 50 Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement. My passion is helping people find fun, fulfilling and flexible ways to profit from their passions during their semi-retirement years.
If you hope to work after retirement, you’ll want to be clear about your lifestyle priorities before moving forward. Here are five key questions to consider when planning your post-retirement work life:
1. How much money do you need to earn? If you need to earn a considerable amount of money to fund your retirement, that will drive your decision-making process. It might be easier to continue working in your current field, either as an employee or consultant, since that is how you’ll earn the most for your experience.
2. How much flexibility do you need? Workplace flexibility comes in many different forms, so it’s helpful to consider these issues:
Do you want to be location independent? Perhaps you could find work that allows you to work from a sailboat. Or, maybe you’d prefer seasonal work that allows you to work in the National Parks during the summer and at a ski resort in the winter.
Do you want to work-from-home? You may want to focus on Internet-based opportunities, such as customer service, translation, writing or web design jobs.
Do you want part-time hours? If so, you might enjoy working for a local business or organization that typically hires part-time workers, such as a museum, library, sports arena, retail establishment or school.
Do you prefer project or gig work? Increasingly, retirees are embracing project, gig and temporary work as a way to work on a more flexible basis. For help with finding those opportunities, click here to access our list of 100+ Great Second-Act Career Resources.
3. How radical of a career change do you want to make? The reinvention stories about the accountant turned winemaker, or the policewoman turned personal chef are inspirational. But making a radical career change is rarely easy.. It takes time, training and a willingness to start over as a beginner. Sometimes a smaller shift – such as moving from a large corporate job to a nonprofit role or downshifting to part-time hours – can provide the boost you need.
4. What are your non-negotiables? Key to second-act satisfaction, is finding (or creating) work that aligns with your non-negotiables. Are you done with sales quotas? Only willing to travel 10% of the time? Do you need work that allows you to take summers off? Before making a change, list out your non-negotiables so you’ll know a good fit when you find one.
5. What are the 3-5 most important reasons why you want to work after retirement? Finally, as I explain in this post Why Do You Want to Work After Retirement? there are multiple reasons why people choose to work past retirement. Identifying your top 3-5 motivators will help to guide and inform your second-act decision making process.
I was delighted to be a recent guest on the Small Business Spotlight on WCBS880. I hope you’ll watch my interview by clicking below, but I also want to encourage you to check out the other wonderful second act entrepreneurs featured on the site.
There are lots of fun ones to choose from, but two of my personal favorites are:
A former math professor who now hosts tours to places like Paris, Iceland and Peru as the Traveling Professor. It took him a while to figure out this business, but now many of his tours sell-out months ahead of time.
Ecommerce – selling goods and services online – can be an excellent option for semi-retirement. It’s flexible, portable and thanks to a proliferation of online services, it’s never been easier, faster, or more affordable to create your own ecommerce website.
Of course, like any new venture, there’s a lot to learn before you can set-up shop. So whether you need help identifying a profitable market niche, finding suppliers or building a website, here are three resources to help launch your biz:
Read the how-to guides provided by ecommerce platforms. For example, Shopify.com has a slew of free guides and courses that can help you learn more about topics like how to find a manufacturer or supplier for your product idea, how to sell on eBay, or how to find a product to sell online. Or, if you’ve got an idea for a subscription box service (like meal service Blue Apron or clothing service Stitch Fix) but don’t have a clue how to get started, you’ll enjoy this guide from Subly.com: How to Start a Subscription Box Service.
Attend a conference. One of the best ways to learn about ecommerce is to attend an commerce conferences. They are a great place to learn from the world’s leading experts and they provide excellent networking opportunities. This BigCommerce.com post highlights nine of the top ecommerce expos worldwide in 2018.
Take a class. Lynda.com offers a host of ecommerce classes. While there is a fee to use Lynda.com, you might be able to access their classes for free through your local library system.
Are you considering a retirement side-gig or business, but you’re not sure what’s possible? These three podcasts can help give you ideas and get you launched:
Don’t Keep Your Day Job: I just stumbled upon this podcast, but evidently it’s been around a while, so there are lots of episodes to explore. You’ll learn about the step-by-step of getting started in a variety of creative businesses including:
Side Hustle School: I’m a devoted fan of Side-Hustle School, a daily podcast that spotlights a wide array of entrepreneurial pursuits. Even when the stories are a bit unusual, I always pick up useful ideas and tips. Each episode includes links to helpful resources and tools. Here are a few examples:
Second Act Stories: Finally, while not specifically about entrepreneurship, this podcast shares the stories of people who have made major career changes to pursue more rewarding lives in their second acts. New episodes come online every two weeks. Recent stories include:
I was delighted to be interviewed recently by Dorian Mintzer of RevolutionizeRetirement.com. Dorian hosts monthly calls with experts on the topic of retirement transition and navigating the second half of life (learn more about these free monthly calls here).
I hope you’ll listen in to our conversation where we talk about:
Why so many boomers are choosing to work part-time after retirement
The four main categories of second-act careers
Examples of fun and unusual second-acts
Easy steps you can take to discover your own “what’s next”
I am beyond thrilled to announce the release of Design Your Second Act, an online course and toolkit for professionals who want to work on a flexible basis after retirement. The course pulls together many of the same resources, strategies and tools I use with my private clients (but at a tiny fraction of the cost). It’s designed to be self-study, so you can work on it whenever and wherever works best for you. Learn all about it here.
It’s not easy to find a high-quality flexible job in retirement. But there is one strategy that beats all others. That’s why I want to share this excerpt from a recent newsletter I received from my colleague Kathryn Sollmann of the website 9livesforwomen.com that explains what works best – and why:
“The best place to start looking is close to home at smaller, growing businesses filled with ex-corporate executives tired of bureaucratic red tape. Lots of big corporations are offering flexwork, too—but it’s much more widespread at smaller companies where nimble, innovative thinking and doing reigns. Smaller companies don’t always have the resources to hire traditional full-time employees (who require health benefits), and they need your help.”
So how best to find these elusive opportunities?
“It’s all a matter of networking—talk to everyone you know, see which companies belong to the Chamber of Commerce in area towns, ask around about former colleagues who may have started an entrepreneurial venture nearby, check out local members of professional and alumni associations, and spend hours (and hours) mining valuable connections on LinkedIn.”
Well-said Kathryn. I couldn’t agree more!
For additional tips on how to find a flex job and be a better networker, be sure to check out my list of 100+ Second-Act Career Resources, as well some of my other posts:
Happy New Year! Before diving into the year ahead, I thought you’d find it useful to review some of my favorite second-act career posts and interviews from 2017, culled from my columns on NextAvenue.org and USNews.com. Enjoy and please share with others who might find this helpful as well. Cheers to your success in 2018!
Want to stay informed about second-act careers and semi-retirement in 2018? Sign-up for my bi-monthly newsletter! It’s free, loaded with useful links and I never, ever share your information. To sign-up. just plug in your e-mail into the subscription box in the header at the top of this page.
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Here are a few new reads from 2017 (and one from 2016) that make great gifts for the hard-to-buy boomers on your shopping list:
Design Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans is based on the author’s wildly popular Stamford University course that teaches students how to leverage design principles to create a more satisfying life and career. While the course is geared towards undergrads, their program is outstanding and equally useful for people of all ages.
How Do I Get There From Here?by Dr. George Schofield. This book is about much more than just working after retirement, and is chock-full of helpful insights that will help guide you as you navigate through the pitfalls and joys of this new life stage.
And finally, even though it’s been out for a few years, I’m always happy to recommend my own book, Second-Act Careersas a great gift for boomers looking to profit from their passions during semi-retirement.
One of my favorite free resources for keeping up with what’s going on in the world of retirement and careers is SmartBrief.com. Every day they send me an email with a curated list of links to the top five or six articles in my interest areas. It’s a super-convenient way to keep myself current on the latest second-act related trends, news and resources.
And it’s a terrific resource to research possible second-act careers.
Fortunately, SmartBrief offers newsletters on over 200 topics – some of which are appealing second-act career options. Interested in the food and wine world? Subscribe to the Food Business School SmartBrief. Thinking of starting a local retail business? Consider the Retail on Main Street SmartBrief. Thinking about a service to help the special education community? Sign-up for the SmartBrief on Special Education.