Posted on 01/05/2017

Self-Employment: Taking the First Steps on the Journey to Self-Employment

Michele Higgs

Michele Higgs

Laid off. Laid off?? Whatever do you mean?

I had never even considered the concept — until, that is, the contract I was working on came to an abrupt end. From 2004 to 2011, I had worked for a government contractor. During those years, I developed writing, presentation and training skills that I thought would serve me throughout my career. But instead, still wide-eyed from being newly divorced and finding myself facing unemployment, I had no idea what I was going to do, let alone what I wanted to do.

Shape-Shifting Jobseeker

My name is Michele and I’ve been a shape-shifting jobseeker for the last five years. Despite coaching and career guidance from all over, my graduate degree and my years of experience got me everything but steady employment. I had given elevator speeches to strangers I’ll never see again, examined my accomplishments, goals and weaknesses ad nauseam and all I knew for sure was that I had to come up with a way to support myself that didn’t rely on the current job scene.

Outplacement counseling got me thinking about career change, but there was no “yellow brick road” for me to follow. Networking, job clubs, resume writing, interviewing! It was all a swirl; I hadn’t done any of this in years! And at the age of 53, I was astounded that I was considered past my prime and the offers just weren’t coming.

The Habitual Hustler

I’ve worked as many as three part-time jobs at a time, dashing across town in an aging automobile. Now, that makes me a “hustler.” Don’t be put off by the term — it’s honorable! No less a figure than Abe Lincoln knew the drill. He said, “Things may come to those who wait, but only those things left by those who hustle.” So what would my next hustle be?

I started to consider self-employment as an option. After all, working several part-time jobs was in essence working for myself . . . but without a plan.

What would I do? Who would I be as “self-employed”? Not a clue. Except, I have enjoyed reading for the blind as a volunteer for many years, in tribute to my grandmother who lost her sight to glaucoma when I was in my teens. Later, as my father battled cancer, one thing that soothed him in the wee hours was listening to me read Walter Moseley books to him.

It gave me the germ of an idea. The voice . . .

I had hosted monthly webinars for the contractor and had developed a “fan base”; whenever I attended a conference or made a presentation, people immediately knew who I was. I became “the Voice.” Heady stuff!

Working for Yourself

I definitely needed some guidance if I was going to make this work. Then I found this great resource on the AARP Foundation website: the Work for Yourself@50+ toolkit! Aha! Maybe there’s some guidance here! Anything that would shine a light on next steps . . . and my hunch paid off!

AARP Foundation’s new “Work for Yourself@50+” program was right there waiting for me . . . for you . . . for us! Are you ready to get on the road with me?

Call 1-888-339-5617 to request a copy of the Work for Yourself@50+ 5 Simple Steps to Get You Started toolkit or complete this short form to download your copy now.


See related blog posts: My Journey to Self-Employment


Blogger Profile: Michele Higgs is on a journey to self-employment with the help of AARP Foundation’s “Work for Yourself@50+” program. 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 first of a series of blogs she is writing about her experiences with the program.


*Updated 06/26/2017

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