Posted on 11/01/2017

My Journey to Self-Employment: Making Self-Employment Work

Past and Future

Seek More Opportunities. You’re Not Done Yet!

Seek More Opportunities. You’re Not Done Yet!

I recently attended a workshop hosted by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs’ (DCRA) Small Business Resource Center, offered by the Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF) and AARP Foundation to discuss the Work for Yourself @ 50+ program. It was a mixed group of eager newcomers and veteranentrepreneurs waiting to learn more about following their entrepreneurial instincts.


The Work for Yourself@50+ workshop, held at the DCRA Small Business Resource Center in Washington, DC.

The experience level of the attendees varied widely. One gentleman and his partner had been painting houses for 33 years and wanted to bring some organization to theiroperation, setting formal goals to handle larger painting projects in order to take their business to the next level.


As she breathlessly took her seat, an enthusiastic latecomer announced that she just knew she had great ideas and was ready to explore her options.

Another participant had created a technology business that she hoped to expand globally. She had already done a lot of work and learned a lot through trial and error, so she had suggestions to offer the group about how to maneuver through the system.

About a third of the participants expressed an interest in learning how to win government contracts, which is par for the course in Washington, DC.

Attendees were given a window into the process of self-employment; for some, it is the fulfillment of a long-held dream, for others, it’s the only way to achieve a self-sustaining lifestyle. We were guided through examining how we could reach our goal of making self-employment work.  We each received a copy of the Work for Yourself @50+ Toolkit and were invited to explore our options using the resources it provides.

As for me, I’ve got my big idea. I’ve done a lot of the leg work and have a good sense of the next steps. I had come to listen, learn and concretize some of my goals. My takeaway from the workshop was that I’m not done yet. Listening to my compatriots, I learned that there are still more resources available and we must take full advantage of every opportunity to network, to learn, and to support our self-employment dreams.


Michele Higgs

Michele Higgs

Blogger Profile: Michele Higgs is on a journey to self-employment with the help of “Work for Yourself@50+,” from AARP Foundation. In this blog series, Michele will describe her experience with the program and will walk through the Five Steps to Self-Employment which provides guidance and advice on self-employment. This is the fourth of a series of blogs she is writing about her experiences with the program.

*Updated 03/02/2018

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