AARP Foundation Blog
Posted on 10/17/2017

There is no “Typical” Entrepreneur

Just like there is no “typical” job or job seeker in our crowd, there is no typical entrepreneur.

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You have to be prepared to do a lot of different things in this self-employment life, you know?  Just like there is no “typical” job or job seeker in our crowd, there is no typical entrepreneur. We all have experience, and we need to use it to stay vital if we are going to lead rich, textured lives. We have to support ourselves, keep a roof over our heads, and stay engaged in the business of life.

I was feeling “some kind of way” over the last weekend. I dragged out three different work projects in an effort to get paid before the clients lost focus and dashed off to their vacations.  I also took on a part-time job in retail as “gap” insurance.

I moaned and groaned my way through long shifts, enjoying the folks who were happy to be part of the throng of shoppers and dodging those who seemed bent on spreading misery as they shopped. There were plenty of both.

The whole time I was working “on the floor,” I planned and plotted for my business. I had my secret; I was actually self-employed and this gig was just research for my big idea. I considered my customers research subjects and thought about what I might learn from my interactions with them.

My family prioritizes time together, and my many jobs were cutting into that time. I was distracted and tired, and it became harder to enjoy my time with them the way I used to. No babies in the family, a flagging spirit, focus faded . . . except for the fact that I was still upright and breathing, in shape to face another day.

Real Work & Side Gigs

AARP Foundation Work for Yourself@50+ Workshop

Howard James, right, instructs a Work for Yourself workshop at the Women’s Opportunities Resource Center in Philadelphia.— SUBMITTED PHOTO

One thing that buoyed my sinking spirit was sharing my plans for my budding business with my fellow Work for Yourself@50+ participants. We had in-depth discussions about what we were doing in our careers and how we were all working toward hanging our own shingle. We talked about our “real” work and our side gigs, and it was encouraging to have everyone show an interest and even give suggestions about how to turn my passion into a business of my own.

It’s amazing how just a few hours and exposure to some positive vibes and good food can change your whole perspective. Believe you can win and you will. Get a few folks behind you to support you in that belief and you can ignore the naysayers.

 

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 11/07/2017

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