Have you been dreaming of a more flexible job than you have currently? Has the COVID-19 pandemic and society’s reaction to it caused you to rethink your career? Have you lost your job as a result, or has it made you question staying in your current job for another decade or more? Whatever brought about your current situation or whatever is making you rethink your career, you may be yearning for something that gives you more flexibility in your life. Often when we have been in the same career for many years, we begin to desire change, and we don’t want to be locked into a Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 job, perhaps with a lengthy commute that controls our schedule.
So what are some work options for women over 50 who are seeking a change with flexibility being an important criterion? Virtually anything you’ve done as an employee can be done as a self-employed independent contractor and allow you to set your own schedule. Many fields offer the potential for part-time work, as well. And truthfully, any field that you have experience in, or any passion that you have can be a potential career opportunity with flexibility.
With the decline in brick and mortar retailing, and the desire for more flexibility, more and more products are being sold through direct selling, primarily by women. This is also known as social selling. Benefits include a low start-up cost, tremendous flexibility in scheduling, the ability to start up while you are still employed elsewhere, and typically strong marketing support from the brand or someone who coaches or mentors you in the business. There are direct selling companies in virtually any product category, including health and beauty, food and wine, and fashion. Whatever you are passionate about, whatever you are knowledgeable about, it’s certain there’s a direct selling company you can align yourself with.
This is a broad term covering everything that you could get paid for doing that another household simply doesn’t have the time or talent to do. It can include being an emergency nanny, tutoring students, driving kids to activities, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking or weekly meal prep, home organizing or renovations, dog walking, lawn care, you name it! Busy parents, in particular in 2-worker homes, never seem to have the time to do everything. And if one of them is working from home, they are all too aware of the things that need doing around their house that they don’t have time to do, and they are willing to pay someone else to do it.
If you have been in the corporate world and love what you do, but just want or need a more flexible schedule, consider going out on your own as an independent contractor doing the same type of work. Bookkeeping and administrative services like payroll are two areas in great demand by other small businesses. You can take on as many or as few clients as you want to have the flexibility you desire. If your expertise is in Human Resources, you could become a career coach, a resume writer, or a diversity consultant, among other things.
Women over 50 have a lifetime of experience in many areas. Why not take that experience and expertise and turn it into a flexible career? You could be a personal coach in many areas of life, such as fitness coach, mental health coach, organizational coach, parenting coach, or life coach. Many women with lengthy careers in these fields go out on their own for the flexibility being their own boss provides. Even if you don’t have career experience in one of these fields, you can take a passion and talent and turn it into a coaching business. Of course, certain specialties require training and licensing, but they require talent and passion above all else.
Many women are drawn to the real estate profession because of its flexibility. Women seem to make especially good realtors because they have an eye for seeing things in a home through the eyes of a buyer. They understand how a home needs to function and can spot flaws in a home’s design or identify outstanding features. Like all of these other opportunities, it’s hard work. Unlike some of these opportunities, it does require licensing for entry. Love real estate, but not sure about taking such a leap? Perhaps taking a part-time job in a real estate office while you explore it will give you the exposure you need to determine if it’s right for you.
What if you don’t see yourself in any of these entrepreneurial type roles? You may feel that you don’t have what it takes to go out on your own and build a business. You may see yourself as more of an employee type personality versus an entrepreneurial boss lady. At the same time, you may love the work you do as an employee, but seek more flexibility in your life. This might be the ideal time to pursue shifting to a more flexible work schedule doing the same job, and even with your current employer!
With the number of people working from home and the number of companies seeing this as a long-term shift, it might be the ideal time to approach your current employer about a schedule change. You could ask to work from home (WFH) a few days a week, or you could transition to fewer hours. For example, changing from a five day a week schedule to a 4-day a week schedule, freeing up just one day per week, can have an amazing impact on what you can get done in your free time and may be all the flexibility you need!
Whichever direction you decide to take, you will be joining millions of women who are entering into exciting times as their own boss or in a new career, with the flexibility to live their lives on their own terms.
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