Starting a New Career at 50 can be confronting, overwhelming, and a shock to the system. One day you are at the top of the corporate ladder, and the next day you are redundant.
The feeling of being invisible at this stage of your career is where fear starts to manifest, which then leads to the worst version of you. You start to show up as a reactive and desperate person. This is non-serving and detrimental to how the next phase of your career starts playing out.
It doesn’t have to be like that at all. Meaning, sometimes we have to look at a situation through a different lens. It has nothing to do with seeing the glass half empty or full either. It’s about knowing what to do with what you have.
One of the great advantages of having a corporate career is that you gain a lot of knowledge and wisdom in your domain and across many aspects of big business. It could be processes, client relationships, logistics, leadership, and so on.
But, have you ever considered that your knowledge is your asset, and this has huge currency, especially in the current corporate landscape?
Let’s unpack this a little.
A lot of senior executives are being made redundant across all industries and business units. That is A LOT of knowledge that has suddenly gone into the ether and is missing in an organisation. There are two sides to this coin. One is removing humans from their corporate position, and the other is companies losing a vast knowledge base and relying on inexperienced employees to make big decisions and lead a team.
Everything is changing; most of us agree with that. But needing knowledge doesn’t change. We need it to build businesses, make decisions, and lead people through decision-making processes, innovation, and upskilling.
So, where does that leave you in your current situation?
You may not see this right at this moment, but you have an opportunity of a lifetime.
Let me ask you this.
Can you solve a complex problem in someone’s life or business?
If you answered yes, you may be sitting on a gold mine.
Before you apply for that job today and submit your CV to hopefully get “a job,” maybe look at your situation as a solution to a problem in the marketplace and take full control of your destiny rather than being at the mercy of recruiters and hoping for the best.
If starting a business is something you have always wanted to pursue but have been afraid to take the step, maybe starting off with micro steps will give you some clarity so you can start to ask different questions. Instead of looking to be employed, maybe look to see who needs your professional service and who has problems that you can solve.
Here are 10 questions that you can start unpacking today to see if this is the direction you want to pursue.
#1 What problem can you solve?
When I work with clients, I always ask them what problem they can solve, and I usually get 20 different ones. That will not serve you. You have to refine the problem that you can solve into one area that you know for sure. A little bit of everything confuses people and makes it really hard for you to sell your service to a target audience. Be crystal clear on the ONE problem you can solve. Everything else should be a value-add.
#2 Who can you serve?
You must know your target audience inside out. You have to step inside their mind and understand everything about them. Look at the demographic, interests, entertainment, location, the books they read, the brands they like, what you have in common with them, and so on. You have to start a conversation with your target audience from a place of familiarity.
#3 What is your unique proposition?
What makes you different than everyone else? I know this is a cliché, but you might be surprised how many people do not get this. Your proposition should be your promise. When I am working with clients, the promise is the part we spend a lot of time refining because it has to be believable and trustable, and YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO DELIVER IT, in full and on time. If you can’t promise the result you are selling, you will not stand out and convert paying clients into brand ambassadors.
#4 How do you want to be perceived?
It all comes down to your brand. You have to create a brand signature that combines your specialisation, look and feel, and your signature. Just like a corporate brand has a branding palette, you have to create one to stand out and to be seen and heard, especially on social media.
#5 Do you have a process?
If you cannot convert your knowledge into a process, system, or framework, you will find it difficult to convince a buyer that you can take them from problem to promise. You have to show the HOW. This is what they are paying for. Remember this: The more complex your problem is, the more you get paid.
#6 What do you want to be known for?
I have a saying that I use all the time – STAY IN YOUR LANE. If you want to be known as the “go to” person in your industry or niche, it is important to be known for one specialisation, not ten. When people ask me what I do, I say “I commercialize Personal Brands.” Then I lead into the next part and that is who I help: “I help Coaches, Consultants, and Corporate Executives commercialise their personal brand & digitalise their knowledge into a scalable & profitable online business, so they become an authority in their niche.
Be clear so the people who get to know, like, and trust you become your brand advocates and see you as the “specialist,” not a jack of all trades.
#7 How will you get your message out there?
Social media plays a huge role in building brand currency. Whether you like it or not, you will be judged by your social currency. If you do not exist on social media, you are literally invisible. I know this is a hard pill to swallow, but we live in a society of “instant,” and what we are buying today is attention. To get attention, you have to be seen and heard because no-one is going to tap you on the shoulder and ask you for your services.
The great news is that you can get attention on platforms like LinkedIn if you follow the steps I have outlined in this article. There is still room on LinkedIn to stand out as an authority. If you bring value to the platform, you will attract the right prospects and the right tribe who have money and motivation to do business with you.
#8 Who can you target right now?
Look at your low-hanging fruit. Who needs your services right now? There is no shame when you are starting on this journey. Think of it like this: What if your services can genuinely help a person or a business right now? You are actually doing the right thing by them. Find these people and businesses, and if you can show them that you can solve their problem, they will listen.
#9 What does your pricing model look like?
I believe a pricing model should be based on a good, better, best option. Not everyone is going to be able to afford your best, but most should be able to afford your good or better. If you have options, you lose fewer sales. I have created two options in my business because over the years, my audience only wanted one or the other. However, it has taken me five years to refine my business offering. I have the data and feedback to work from and you don’t. So, start with three options and refine as you go.
#10 Can you convert your knowledge into an online course?
The future is digital, and we cannot get away from that. If you can digitalize your knowledge into an online solution, you are literally future-proofing your career and have a highly scalable model.
Converting your knowledge into an online course is creating a digital asset. It means you can sell that asset without you.
I hope these tens steps inspired you to act. We have been made to believe that a career is a “job,” and it is not. Look at your current situation as a gift, and if you believe that you can commercialise your knowledge, then start the process today. Who knows? Ten years from now, this will probably be the norm. Get your head start today.
If you want help to commercialize your Personal Brand and digitalize your knowledge into a business, please watch my free masterclass where I go into more detail.