Executives and Second Careers

The Secret to Job Security After 50

If you are over 50 and have left a job at a big organization, you already know you face a bigger challenge finding another high-paying a job at a new firm.

But that doesn't mean you won't be able to earn as much, or even more than you have up to now. You may simply have to "reassemble" your income in a new, creative way. In fact, this could be the perfect time to take control over your income and become the owner of your skills and services.

As a self-employed contract worker, consultant or freelancer, you may be able to earn a more secure living. The first reason is because companies will not have to pay for your benefits package. They are buying a portion of your time. This reduces the cost of your services, while enabling them to benefit from your years of experience. The second reason is because companies do not have to make a big commitment to hire you. They can take a tiny nibble of your services and see how well you do the job.

As a result, your 20-30 years of experience becomes a bonus instead of a liability. They can hire you for a fixed fee, often using funds from another budget outside of their personnel or staff funds, and get the benefit of your experience.

5 Tips for Launching Your Self-Employed Career

Of course, leaving the security of a regular pay check and benefits package is filled with uncertainty and fear. So here are a few tips that can give you a quick start to generating a solid income and keeping your expenses low.

 

  1. Your first and best client may very well be the organization you just left. You know their business. You know many people within that business. And you know the gaps in what they could or should be doing, versus what they actually are. So you are in a position to pitch ideas to the right people on ways to solve their most pressing problems.
     
  2. If you have not yet left your old employer, you may be able to negotiate a project or retainer before you leave. Many companies that are going through belt-tightening or downsizing need to cut back on staff. But they still need certain functions done. This could be the perfect opportunity for you to negotiate a deal that provides 30-50% of your first year's income for your new self-employed career.
     
  3. Prepare your 25-word "elevator pitch" that summarizes the value you can bring to a company. Prepare a short cover letter of introduction, and a succinct summary of your key skills (not necessarily in resume form). Have these ready the moment you leave your organization.
     
  4. Save money on benefits and insurance by tapping into group plans through associations. If you are a member of any large associations, whether it's an automobile club, industry group, even a sports association, you will likely be able to replace insurance policies and possibly health coverage at lower group rates.
     
  5. Establish a web presence through a simple, template-oriented free web service. Today, such online resources as Blogger.com or WordPress.com are free, and in a manner of minutes, you can upload your photo, background, value proposition and more. Having this "online business card" builds your credibility as a self-employed professional. Later, you can promote yourself by adding articles and samples of your successes.

 

The bottom line is that the work world is changing. The economy is rebounding very slowly from the recession and not adding enough high-paying middle and senior management jobs quickly enough. But by being creative, proactive, and marketing your expertise and services as a self-employed, independent professional, you can replace your income in a matter of months, and never run the risk of losing your "job" again.

 

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