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50+ and trying to re-invent myself

By lloyd.frazier ·
I have been in the software implementation/support side of things for 12+ years. I was making some pretty decent money and working remotely from my home office for a California company. My dilemma is that I have been downgraded to part-time. I live in Northern Colorado in a town that has few high paying gigs. I decided to leave the corporate rat race and go at it alone. With so many corporate takeovers and changes of the guard, in my career, I do not think I can stand anymore of it. So, what industry trends or business recommendations would you have for someone with my demographics? Just trying to get some ideas to chew on before I make the big plunge.

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?

by LarryD4 In reply to 50+ and trying to re-inve ...

Not to sound defeating but..

Stand in line, most people in the industry would love a work at home job and right now their isn't much out their.

And at 50+ its going to be even tougher...

Spoke to a friend two weeks ago, who is a high level excutive IT recruiter out of Philly. She's struggling to show production, to keep her job, in an economy where their are no jobs.

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You had better develop some additional skills

by sleepin'dawg In reply to 50+ and trying to re-inve ...

Software implementation/support people are a dime a dozen at the moment. There isn't much market for a one-trick pony at the moment.

You don't mention whether you are Unix/Linux literate but if it's Windows only you'll be tripping over all the other Windows geeks.
Having skills in certain apps would help, such as graphics, CAD, etc and again better in the Linux/Unix arena than Windows At 55+, unless you have more to offer than Windows, you're in for a tough time. We're not cutting anyone at the moment but we have frozen hiring except for necessary replacements and those had better be Unix/Linux literate. We won't waste our time with Windows geeks; we have a few but if they need replacing, there's a waiting list of applicants. Sorry if that sounds discouraging but that's the way things are at the moment.

Dawg ]:)

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Specialize

by BizMan In reply to 50+ and trying to re-inve ...

RE: >> So, what industry trends or business recommendations would you have for someone with my demographics?

Don't be worried about your demographics, look instead to a skill or a SPECIFIC service that no one else offers.

I know a lot of people who have done well working from home because of a very specific service, or because they have become very familiar with a specific piece of software that is unique to a specific type of business or industry.

People, like myself included, are often looking for help in very specific areas. If you have that specific skill, you might find a day or two or work here and there.

Go to the support website of software vendors. I'm not talking about the Adobe or the Microsoft support sites, I talking about the smaller software vendors.

For example, what business specific software does your doctor, lawyer, dentist, use? If they need help with installing an upgrade, adding a new office to their profession, where do they turn? Is it something you could learn?

I am 50+, and am re-inventing myself once again as well. I have survived 30+ years in this business, NOT by becoming an MSCE, or a CCNA, but by finding very specific needs, and finding a way to solve them.

The only downside to this, you can not confine yourself to a small geographic area. The more specialized you become, you may find less competition for the work you are doing, but your customers will not all be less that 30 miles from your house.

With all the online meeting software, and remote capabilities, it is becoming easier to do business long distance.

Hope this helps.

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Good Response

by lloyd.frazier In reply to Specialize

Bizman,

thanks for the constructive response. After the first couple of responses, I thought I made a mistake of even bringing it up. I was just trying to get some input from other folks like me. You have a good point as to the specialization. Specialization is my specialty...no pun intended. I have been kicking around the idea that you put forth. If you or anyone else can share some good marketing ideas, please do. I have to be able to generate business on a tight budget.

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Why not just ask for a complete business plan?

by The 'G-Man.' In reply to Good Response

It is what you are really looking for is it not?

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I don't think so

by Tig2 In reply to Why not just ask for a co ...

In the US job market, people are discovering that they HAVE to network and share ideas. I know it is tight everywhere but for the professional over fifty, it is even worse. If anyone can claim to have an edge, it is the guys that are willing to network and help each other out.

If he wanted something as simple as a business plan, he would more likely have gone to the SBA online or in person.

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Collaboration is Key

by BizMan In reply to I don't think so

RE: >> In the US job market, people are discovering that they HAVE to network and share ideas.

That's what I like about the open source community. There is a lot of collaboration. The online forums for open source apps many times are more active than for commercial apps. Folks seems to be working together for common goals. They are type of people that are more driven by the "love of the game."

Collaboration is Key, after all, isn't that why your are reading this post right now?

Maybe something I say will help you, and in turn, maybe somewhere down the line I need an answer to a problem that you may be able to help me with?

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Not really

by lloyd.frazier In reply to Why not just ask for a co ...

Hello G-Man,

the business portion is not the issue. Finding what is marketable is what I am looking for ideas on. I suspect you will be in this position at some time in your career. So, I hope that this string of replies helps you and others that find themselves struggling to reflect on their options. I have discovered that there is age adversity in the IT field. Hiring managers will not fess up to that for fear of legal liability. That is why I have come to realize that my employment prospects are slim. I have to create my own job to survive. I have been around the block enough to realize that I do not have all the answers. We need to able to lean on each other for support. That is the goal of these posts. Get others input based off their life experience.

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Specialty might not be good enough

by road-dog In reply to Good Response

I'm doing a lot of looking at mercenary engineering gigs right now. It seems that the scope of experience required is getting wider not the reverse.

Keep your specialties, no mistake about that, but make sure you also can claim proficiency in adjacent technologies.

The 50+ crowd is in a tough spot in this market, just be sure that your resume doesn't scream dinosaur. Make your specialty relevant to the existing market. Figure out how to articulate how what you do is important...

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Specialize --> Personalize

by BizMan In reply to Good Response

RE: >> If you or anyone else can share some good marketing ideas

Part of magic of specializing, is that what works for me, will not work for you. What works in my neighbor, will not work in your neighborhood.

If I told you what worked for me, many of the things I would mention would have folks here telling me I was crazy, because they did not see a market for that application or service in their area, or they did not have that skill set.

From a marketing perspective you might look at books, websites, etc, that talk about finding and developing your niche.

From a personal perspective, I can tell you that the niche has to suit your skills, as well as the marketplace you are selling yourself in.

Let me give you somewhat of an example. I have been very successful in working with open source applications. Not because I pushed the applications, but because of the problem I was able to solve using that application.

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