Careers After 50: Turn Your Hobby into
Career Change after 50: Options to consider
You’re over 50 and thinking about your after 50 career change
options. You have a hobby that you enjoy. The hobby can range from photography to gardening to woodworking to
crafts to raising funds for your alumni mater. Regardless of the hobby all require a degree of analysis and study
before you attempt to turn it into your next career.
If you have a hobby you enjoy, building it into a profit
making business can make all your career dreams come true.
However, as in any business venture or career change after
50 you need to carefully consider a number of important factors before you invest your time and money
turning your hobby into a potential going business.
After 50 Career change ideas to research
1. A hobby with no pressure is vastly different from the
pressure of business: If you end up making a product, can you
still have the passion after doing the same thing one thousand times, or 10,000 times? What about promises to
customers? Can you work many long days in a row to satisfy a customer? There will be pressure to pay vendors,
quarterly tax estimates, marketing costs and efforts, and finding qualified outsourcing
Be sure to factor this into you research and carefully
consider when you write up your business plan.
2. Do the numbers
work in your favor? Spending 40 hours building one oak
rocking chair that will only sell retail for $200 is not going to get the job done. After you work in marketing
costs, cost of tools and materials and other overhead you’ll be fortunate to net $100 for a week’s work. Since
there are only so many working hours available even if you double your working time and work 80 hours a week you
weekly net would only be about $200.
Clearly you have to search in another direction within your
woodworking hobby or other areas of interest to start and build your business. Go to work and come up with other
ideas such as: teaching woodworking (personally and by selling videos), selling woodworking related products on the
internet, opening a retail store selling well built hand made furniture, selling plans for original woodworking
projects, working as a manufacture’s representative selling woodworking related products, and selling woodworking
products as an affiliate through a manufacturer or drop shipper. With a little more work I’m sure you can come up
with additional business ideas related to your hobby.
Carefully examine each business and career idea. As your
research grows you will come up with a business plan that will make your efforts unique in the marketplace or being
realistic, discover your hobby cannot become a viable business.
3. Be realistic about
time, space and financial requirements: If working out of your home do you have the required
space. Do you need to store product or inventory?
For every hour spent
doing the actual work consider another hour doing administrative, tax, marketing, planning and working with
You can outsource some
of these functions, but be aware of the added costs and the developing and setting up of appropriate systems.
4. Research the
competition: Is there
a market for your products or services? Who are competing with? Local, regional or national? Large firms small firms?
How will you set
yourself apart from your competition?
5. Carefully consider
local zoning, taxes and other regulations: This means setting up a separate business checking
account. If appropriate get a federal employer identification number. Set up your business so it’s easy to scale up
as it grows.
What are the local
zoning requirements if you work out of your home? Know your tax reporting requirements. How will you set up the
business, sole-proprietor, LLC, corporation all need to be studied.
6. Who are your
customers? How are you going to reach them? Is there a demand for your products or services? Where are
your customers? What demand are you going to satisfy?
What methods of
marketing and avenues of selling your products or services are you going to use? Will it be effective and flexible
to meet changes in the marketplace?
7. Are you
comfortable with the non-hobby aspects of the business? At least in starting out you’ll be required to handle the
administrative aspect of the business. Taxes, accounting, marketing, customer service, analysis of costs and
expenses all will be necessary for you to understand and manage the business. If you use the internet how will you
develop a paying presence with your web site?
It is the systems that
you put in place will determine if your hobby becomes a sustainable business and a new exciting
8. Carefully consider
turning your hobby into a new career after 50 there are a several alternatives to consider.
You can start the
business part-time while still employed. You’ll learn about demand for your product or service, pricing, costs and
levels of profit. In addition, you’ll get a better picture of possible profits as the business
If currently unemployed,
after some preliminary research that gives you a tentative green light, starting to develop some additional income
from the hobby has little risk. The aspect that you have to be careful about is to continue you job hunt at your
previous full-time level. Otherwise, you’ll be trying to run a start-up struggling business along with a weak job
hunting effort. Thus you could have lack of success in both areas-not a pleasant outcome.
after 50: Self-employed?
Turning a hobby or area
of interest can be a viable option in changing careers after 50. Do your homework, study areas that you may be weak
in, be realistic about possible outcomes, and if the answer is “no,” don’t give up and keep looking and you’ll find
a way. At the very least all of this study and research, even with a negative final decision, will make you more
comfortable when you find the right job in your long held career.
Learn how Mike moved from a manager of a number of quick lube
shops to self-employed. He was stuck but continued to search until he found the right formula to start a
new career after 50 running his own
For more about considering self-employment issues in changing careers go to an additional article on changing careers after 50.