Dixie Darr

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2006 at 6:11 am

Live and Learn part III

Last year I reconnected with an old friend I hadn’t seen in almost thirty years. Barb is a poet who works full-time for a nonprofit. Now in her mid-fifties, she uses a cane because of an early stroke and suffers from a loss of hearing. She is also charming, funny and confident. When I told her that I would be teaching classes in self-employment, she said she knew several people she could send to my workshops, but she wasn’t interested herself.

She called the other day to schedule a lunch, almost a year after we last got together. She still works for the nonprofit, but sees that funding is getting harder to come by. So, since I last saw her, she has trained as a hypnotherapist and set up an office with a partner. “I’m good at it,” she said, and is thrilled with the fees she can charge. She is building her business on weekends until she can afford to leave the full-time job. She paid for the training by cashing in some of her retirement. “This is my retirement,” she declared. “This is something I can do until I’m 90, as long as my hearing holds out.”

A couple of lessons come from this story.

1. Never say never. Even if you are not interested in self-employment right now, the chances are better than even that you will be interested at some time in your life. Recent studies indicate that 56% of all Americans dream of being their own boss.

2. Baby boomers are increasingly interested in starting their own businesses as so-called retirement careers. As we grow older we want different things from work. Mostly we want more control over when, where and what we do, including how many hours we work and whom we work with. Self-employed people get to make these decisions and design a work style that exactly suits them.

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