SumUpBlog

Career change at 50–the perfect time to start your own business

Changing careers in your 20s keeps you awake at night due to pure excitement.

Whereas in your 50s, a career change can feel significantly more stressful.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

We believe changing a career should be something to look forward to, whatever your age. 

1 in 4 people are unhappy in their current jobs, which is why we’re proud to provide a service that allows people to take control of their careers and do something that makes them happy.

The available jobs for over 50s are very much the same as the jobs for under 50s, and so are the factors that you'll have to take into account when deciding your next career move. 

So whether thinking about a big change, small change, or doing something completely new, consider the following:

  • Types of career changes and your options

  • The benefits of starting a new career at 50

  • How to change your career

Changing careers–what are your options?

Smaller career changes

One example of a smaller career change would be sticking to the same industry, but changing companies. 

This kind of change isn’t so difficult, as the only variable that’s changing is the place of work. Any existing knowledge and network can be used to your advantage.

An alternative, but still relatively low impact change would be to switch roles within the same company. 

Similar to job-rotation, which is where companies encourage employees to gain experience and knowledge across different departments within the same company–this kind of change brings a new experience in your current workplace, and again, allows you to take advantage of what and who you already know.

Changing roles within a company can remove some of the potential barriers often faced when finding a new job–you already know the people, direction and processes of the company–speeding up the onboarding process. 

Bigger career changes

Maybe you’re ready to not only change company, but to find a new role and explore a new  industry altogether.

This is probably the biggest career change there is, but it’s not unreasonable and definitely shouldn’t be feared. 

Most people decide on a career path from a very young age–it’s no surprise we want to change industries or jobs later on in life. 

Paired with the fact that this age brings a kind of new-found freedom–especially for those whose children are now independent, it’s a great opportunity to make the change.

Or perhaps you’ve had enough of working for someone else entirely, and have finally decided it’s time to start something of your own...

Setting up your own business

It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

The office for national statistics shows that over 50s account for 43% of people who start their own business in the UK. 

So don’t worry about if you can start a business, worry about what kind of business you’re going to start.

And when you do, keep it simple.

Start with what you love to do. Many businesses are set up on this notion and are successfully able to convert their passion into profit

And know that starting a business today is far less complicated than in the past. There are tools and technologies out there designed specifically with small businesses in mind–from SumUp’s Card Readers, to websites that help you build an online shop.

David Cliff started a senior dating agency with just £100. He believes “if you have an idea, don’t think you can’t do it because of your age”. We’d have to agree with him. 

You don't have to appear on any '30 under 30', or ‘top 10 to watch’ list. 

You just need to go for it.

So why is 50 such a great age to start your own business?

The benefits of starting a new career at 50

Many benefits come with starting a new career, and even more when starting a new business.

Time

You decide how you spend it. 

At 50, the majority of people have spent much of their lives working for other people, and spending their time based on the needs of others–whether personally or professionally. 

Work environment

As the boss, you create the work environment, set goals, and decide what your definition of success will be.

The women of Pasta Naldi built their pasta business around team-spirit, they believe that “there’s strength in numbers, as in our case. This is a successful business because we are 5 and everything we have to do, we do it together.”

“Success is about lifestyle as much as financial”–Darren Whyman, owner of Manx Whippy ice cream van.

Darren Whyman turned to self-employment after a shock redundancy left him with little other job opportunities. Now he’s doing something he loves, and getting paid for it.

That is the beauty of starting your own business.

Hobby = job

We already touched upon turning passion into profit–but it’s a key motivator for many people who choose the route of running their own business.

And it’s a great place to start when thinking about what kind of business to set up in the first place. Using a passion or skill as a starting point can make business life easier and more enjoyable in the long run.

Work-life balance

With the worst work-life balance in western Europe, setting up your own business is a way to take back control. 

And although it’s not all fun and games–at least it’s done on your terms.

Learning opportunity

Whether you’re changing careers or starting your own business, there will be new roles and responsibilities.

Taking on a new role is a huge learning experience, and a great chance to develop professional and personal skills.

There are a lot of benefits to making a career change or starting your own business–but where to start?

How to change careers

Consider your options 

There is no need to start full-time. Working part-time is a chance to gain some experience, and assess whether or not doing it full time is a viable option.

Of course, the learning process will be a bit longer, but it can be a good option if you’re having any doubts about your new career.

Alongside working part-time, there is also the option to study or attend courses–giving you insight into what it will take, and the necessary foundations needed to make it a successful full-time job.

Be realistic

At this stage, think about all the effects a new job might have on your life, not just professionally-speaking.

Your work has an affect on your personal life and those around you whatever your age. So be sure to factor it in when it comes to making a choice.

When going down the route of setting up your own business, it’s vital to get into the details before fully committing.

Do it for the right reasons

There are multiple reasons to start a new career… 

But don’t use starting a new career as an excuse to run away from a problem. Not every issue will be solved by moving on to something new. First, try to solve the problem. If you've taken action and the situation still hasn't improved, then it could be time to consider the next move.

Go for it

With all things considered, it’s time to go for it.

Commit to your choice, and give yourself the time to see if it works out. 

If there’s a chance you'll love doing it, there’s no reason why a career change at 50 shouldn't involve setting up your own business.

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Alex Thumwood