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Making a career change at 30,40,50 and beyond

It’s never been easier to make a career change than it is today. 

The knowledge and insight needed is online, right at our fingertips. We’ve never had better, cheaper and easier access to technology. And there are a variety of business model choices to fit any budget, lifestyle or experience. 

This is a wonderful time in which to be alive and to be thinking about change. 

It’s never too late, age is just a number…

It’s never too late to reinvent yourself or start something new and exciting. In fact, the average working age is going up; across the UK and the world. 

It might surprise you to hear the following statistic from The Kauffman Foundation: 

The highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the last decade has been among those aged 55 to 64. 

This older age makes sense, when you think about it. The hunger and energy of youth is amazing. But time adds other qualities that we sometimes need to succeed. 

STAMINA, MATURITY and COMPASSION. 

‘Late bloomers’ is a topic worth taking a minute to Google. It describes a person whose talents are not always visible to others until later than usual. Their talent or genius only appears later in life than is normal – in some cases only in old age.

Age is an advantage… 

It’s often believed that the most successful entrepreneurs are young. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg were in their early twenties when they launched their businesses. But while they are famous cases, they don’t reflect a general pattern.

First: Not everyone who starts a business and is successful is destined to be the next Bill Gates. 

Second: Harvard business found the average age of entrepreneurs starting a business was 42. 

According to the CMI report based in the UK, older entrepreneurs in this country have a 70% success rate. That number plummets to 28% for younger entrepreneurs. So, in fact the success rate is far higher in older people. It cements the idea that age can be a real advantage. 

You’re not starting from scratch… 

Think about all the life experience you have to date. Through the ups and downs you’ve experienced you’ll have learnt a thing or two about how to pivot from a setback. To find a solution amongst problems or challenges you’ve faced.

You may have had a job for many years. But that means you have a network, a reputation and relationships to reflect and lean upon.

What if you are looking to start something in a completely different industry? It may need you to learn new skills or relearn others. But there are things you’ve learnt in your past (and people you’ve met), that you can take with you on your future path. 

Reinvent your career before you’re forced to do so…

Many of us get conditioned to the idea that you get a good education, a good job and then you retire. Well, the world has changed since then. 

Many people unfortunately get made redundant. It’s not unusual to experience ageism in their place of work. Others are beginning to realise that they will need to work for much longer than they expected. Whatever the reason it’s better to be on the front foot, not the backfoot, when it comes to your ‘what next?’. 

The best place to start is to take time to ask yourself questions like: What are my passions? What are my values? Where do I see myself?

How to know if it’s the right time…

That fact that you’re even thinking about it says it all. Something is moving in you and has brought you to search and start reading this article. Out of all the places you could have gone today, you’re here reading this about a career change at any age. 

Because you’re here it is likely that there is a deep sense inside you that there is something more out there. That you’re meant to have a larger reach and more impact somewhere else. That your work, talent and skills should have more significance and meaning. 

Another way to recognise the right time is to analyse how you’re feeling. Stress and fear are the 2 signs to recognise and flag with yourself. If you are fearful and stressed, you’re starting to disconnect with others and with life. This is when you need to stop and think. 

Even the act of looking and searching is a way to self-heal. Recognising you need to do something about it is the beginning of the process. 

Hear from role models that you can relate to…

We all need role models to look up to and feel inspired by. There does seem to be a bias on younger entrepreneurs and success stories. So, here are 3 inspiring, less well known videos to get you started. 

How I became an entrepreneur at age 66:

It’s never too late, watch Dilys’ story who is 85 

10 female role models who prove age is just a number 

Work out your strengths… 

You need to understand your strengths. We’ve all got them. For your strengths, make a note of what you enjoy, what makes you thrive and what energises you. These don’t need to be obvious talents, this can be something as simple as you’re a very positive person. Or you get people to like you upon meeting them, or that you’re very analytical. Perhaps it’s something that you’re already doing every day, like being caring to others. 

‘The world needs that special gift that only you have’. 

Marie Forleo

It’s often something that comes natural to you. Something that you can imagine doing over and over again. Many people don’t notice their own strengths as they feel natural. So take the time to think about your own. 

But don’t overthink it….

Don’t overthink it. Through facing your fear you will be able to find your purpose, passion and look to make a difference. 

It’s ok to feel afraid or apprehensive about considering a career or life change. All it means is that you’re about to do something brave and important to you. It means that you’re about to embark on something that will make you grow as a person, so embrace it. 

Any age is the perfect age to follow your dream.

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