End-of-Career Entrepreneurship - A New Retirement Model

Those of us who are in or nearing the end of our career may be seriously considering some form of entrepreneurship.  In the past, we may have hung up our briefcase with one hand and picked up our golf bag with the other.  While this may have served to satisfy in the past, today, many end-of-career folks want something more. 

Gregg Lunceford, Ph.D., CFP, writes in 'Entrepreneurship: The Retirement Solution?', "Today, individuals over 60 are healthier and more capable then ever.  A 60-year-old has a greater than 25% chance of living to age 90, but the stigma of ageism may be a challenge for many.  The implied contract between workers and employers has changed.  Entrepreneurship has become an attractive alternative for aging employees who are seeking work on their own terms, which may include the ability to select assignments, structure work hours, and negotiate compensation.  Entrepreneurship also allows retirees to shed unenjoyable aspects of full-time work while maintaining the professional identity it took years to build."

I am nearing the end of my life-long career in Human Resources.  While at a national conference a year ago, I shared some information about an onboarding process I created to increase the retention of my organization's providers, with a few fellow attendees over lunch.  They were quite interested to learn more about it, and I promised to share my onboarding process with them when I returned home.  

Once I returned from the conference, I telephoned the folks who hosted the conference, and asked if they might have any interest in my sharing my onboarding process with their members via a 30-minute webinar.  This way, I could reach a larger pool of interested colleagues at other community health centers.  We discussed it further, and the host organization asked if I might consider offering this whole onboarding topic and my process in a 90-minute concurrent session for their upcoming conference later in the year.  I jumped at the opportunity.  Afterwards, the host organization informed me that they were adding 'streaming audio' to my (and the other concurrent sessions), and I panicked.  Fortunately, the host and my wife gently pushed me out of my comfort zone.  I spent a good deal of time researching the topic and creating a presentation.  After presenting and receiving favorable feedback, I was hooked!  I surprised myself.  

Next, I decided to form a limited liability corporation (LLC) and my son built a website for me.  I enjoy writing blog posts on 'all things Human Resources', and I moved my blogs to my new website.  As you might expect, all of this takes some time.  Talk with folks who are experienced in these areas.  Most are quite happy to share - and why reinvent the wheel? 

I really had not given much thought to packaging and sharing HR information I knew and researched with targeted general public audiences.  Deciding to take this further, I asked to present this topic at my local HR professional association's chapter meeting and at our state HR conference, and I even packaged the material so it was webinar-friendly for yet a different audience.  Fortunately, all with the same result - and I loved doing it!  

Once again, at the end of last year, I approached the conference host organization and I talked with them about my presenting a session on harassment prevention, given the timeliness of this topic, and again, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I reached out to some folks in my community and informed them about what I was doing and asking them what I might offer for our area's employers, specifically those small to mid-size employers, who may or may not have a dedicated Human Resources person on staff.  Today, I'm creating 'hands-on' leadership development for first-time leads and supervisors at both the organization where I'm employed, in my local community, and with fellow community health centers in our state.     

My reason for sharing my story with you is that I'm learning that something like this is not all that uncommon with those at or nearing the end of their traditional career.  Some folks are opting to do something more formally with a hobby or pastime or something totally different they've been itching to try.  We aging Baby Boomers have a lot to offer.  Simply picking up our golf bags and hoping it will become our 'silver bullet' for retirement satisfaction, might work for some, but for others, we'll want even more.

Principled HR Consulting, LLC