Take a look at the following list of words. Can you figure out what they have in common?
Guide, facilitate, advocate, research, discover, collect, consult, select, coach, advise, analyze, navigate, match, find, compare, edit, curate and review.
These strong, powerful verbs are about sorting through information and making choices. They also represent many of the solo careers being created by encore entrepreneurs over 50.
The Vanishing Intermediaries
As data — and then Big Data — has become more prevalent over the last 30 years, many of the nation’s vanishing jobs have been intermediaries. Think travel agent or bank teller.
Almost anything you might ever want to know is now out there, accessible and digitized with information on the web increasing exponentially daily. But while search engines help us look for things, they don’t always help us make smart choices.
In fact, they can overwhelm us with choices. Plus, we know that the selections that rise to the “top of the page” are there because of complex mathematical algorithms and advertising fees paid to search engine companies.
Monetizing Your Expertise
Encore entrepreneurs, however, are bringing a valuable gift to this new world of information. Many of them have become consultants, taking on the former intermediary role and instead offering themselves out as guides. I like to call this “monetizing your expertise.”
Encores are using their wisdom and lifelong learning to transform a morass of data into viable choices for people. They’re dipping into their life experiences and helping their clients turn information into knowledge. And they are good at it — assisting others in navigating the world of data to find, compare, review and, finally, select…which is exactly what their clients need.
Let me give you some examples:
Take Kathy, who had years of experience as a credit and collections professional. These days, as an encore entrepreneur, she’s consulting with organizations on the development and implementation of collection and credit systems to keep unpaid and past due accounts at a minimum while keeping customers happy. She is sharing her hard-won life experience and wisdom for a fee.
Then there's Roland, who knows how to navigate the competitive world of paper purchasing, making choices involving quantity, quality and pricing. He has taken that knowledge to teach small businesses — who aren’t big enough to get such support from big companies — how to get the best deal.
Kenneth is becoming a medical advocate to help his clients through the complex health care system when they’re facing difficult, confusing medical issues.
After years in the ministry, Jim is creating and performing life celebrations and ceremonies custom-designed by the participants under his wise care and guidance.
Matching Life Experiences With Client Needs
These are all real examples from my classes for encore entrepreneurs. They’re all synthesizing their unique life experiences and wisdom with their clients' needs and wants, emerging from the swamp of information with relevant, customized knowledge that people will pay for.
I see a world of possibilities and opportunities for many 50+ people who want to stay active, earn money and “give back” in a meaningful way.
The way we interact with the world is changing, but we will always need guides, advocates and navigators. Encore entrepreneurs help their clients turn data into knowledge, choices, and decisions. Their clients help them earn a stream of income due to their passions, talents and skillsets. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Jackie B. Peterson is an author, speaker, and business coach specializing in encore entrepreneurship. She is the author of Better, Smarter, Richer: Seven Business Principles for Encore, Creative, and Solo Entrepreneurs, which guides small business owners to greater creative and professional fulfillment and financial stability. Her companion book, Wiser, Smarter, Richer: Inspiring Stories from Encore Entrepreneurs, is coming soon to Amazon Kindle. Learn more at www.BetterSmarterRicher.com.