50+ Ways to Generate Income in Semi-Retirement
One of my favorite childhood memories is of a restaurant called Sweden Towers, which back in the 1960s was known as the smorgasbord restaurant on the south shore of Long Island. At the time, the concept of an all-you-can-eat restaurant was relatively new, and I can still remember my mouth watering as I walked around the buffet table surveying all the delectable choices: little Swedish meatballs swimming in gravy, butter cookies with chocolate sprinkles, and wiggly red Jell-O salads garnished with mini marshmallows. I must have asked my parents at least three times, “You mean I can take anything I want as many times as I want?” To which my parents would reply, “Yes, but don’t just fill up your plate with spaghetti. Try a few new things for a change.”
Reading the first part of this book is a bit like going to Sweden Towers; it offers a smorgasbord of possibilities designed to whet your appetite as you begin to ponder your second-act career. Some of the ideas—like consulting, working a part-time job, or teaching—will be quite familiar to you. Others—like creating your own informational products, training as a mediator, or working as an extra on a movie set—might seem a bit unusual. I’ve strived to present a well-balanced menu of options, although I must admit that deciding what to include made me feel a bit like that wide-eyed little girl in the restaurant all over again—it was difficult to limit myself! Nonetheless, the opportunities in part one all meet the following six criteria:
1. Work-life flexibility. These are work options that can realistically be done on a flexible schedule. You can decide to work them on a part-time or full-time basis, as you prefer. Knowing that many of you hope to be able to travel or work from home during your semi-retirement, I was also careful to include opportunities that can be done on a virtual basis and steered away from brick-and-mortar businesses like restaurants, bakeries, farms, and retail shops that typically require full-time attention (and a large upfront capital investment).
2. Scalability. These ideas can work as stand-alone income streams or you can combine several options together to generate multiple income streams (also known as a “portfolio career”). For example, whereas you might be happy teaching just one class a semester as an adjunct professor, another reader might want to teach and/or write a book and/or create a webinar, and/or teach on a cruise ship. Many people start off with one income stream and then slowly add on other profit centers as their time and circumstances allow. You can mix-and-match the options to best meet your lifestyle.
3. Range of income potential. The careers in this book offer a wide range of earning potential. For example, there are bloggers who barely earn a few hundred dollars a year and others who generate a solid five-figure monthly income; temps who earn a few hundred each month and others who get paid the equivalent of a full-time professional salary; direct sales people who are happy making just a few thousand dollars a year and superstars who generate six-figure incomes. When possible, I have included income information with the profiles (current as of the time of this writing), but it’s important to remember that, although traditional jobs have somewhat standard salary ranges, the amount you earn as a freelancer or entrepreneur is ultimately determined more by your individual effort, background, credentials, marketing abilities, and personal circumstances than by the restrictions of a specific job category.
4. Low start-up costs. The vast majority of the entrepreneurial ideas in this book are service-oriented options that require minimal start-up capital (often as little as a few hundred dollars and generally no more than one thousand).
5. Limited additional training requirements. Most of you will need to invest in some form of additional training (workshops, seminars, certificate programs, and the like) as part of your career transition. That said, I intentionally eliminated any options that would require you to go back to school for an advanced degree. If you want to pursue a bachelor’s or an advanced degree, I applaud you, but I assume that most of you, if given the choice, would prefer to not have to invest in yet another expensive and time-consuming college degree.
6. Age appropriate. I hesitated to include this because almost any job can be done at any age, and I know of many people who are actually in better shape at age fifty-five than they were at age twenty. Nonetheless, I deliberately chose to avoid jobs that are physically demanding and could prove taxing as you age. Conversely, I favored jobs where age, experience, and maturity are perceived as a competitive advantage.
There are more than fifty different career and business ideas for you to learn about in part one. But you are certainly not limited to these choices; just like an apple can be baked into a pie, crushed into applesauce, or chopped into a cobbler with equally delicious results, each of these career ideas can be sliced, diced, and assembled in hundreds of different ways that satisfy your unique interests, goals, and income needs. As you read through this section, please remember that while the descriptions provided are designed to give you a “taste” of each career, they do not cover all the specifics (licensing requirements, income potential, zoning restrictions, and so on) that you’ll need in order to make a truly informed decision. Every career and entrepreneurial option, no matter the focus or industry, comes with its own set of risks, regulations, and rewards; it is up to you to research and fully consider every aspect. I have included information about income potential and licensing requirements when possible, but the specifics change over time, and I encourage you to use the resources provided alongside these descriptions and profiles to help you continue to explore and learn more on your own.
And now, with that understanding in mind, I invite you to pull up a chair, take your seat at the table, and get ready to work up an appetite. It’s time to sample the smorgasbord of semi-retirement careers. Bon appétit!