Adapting to Changing
Life and Business Circumstances
As you move into your ‘golden years’ as a home-business owner, you will need to make changes due to aging, life circumstances, new technology, and the marketplace that will take you out of your comfort zone.
This article continues the discussion begun in another article linked to at the end.
MOST OF US go to great lengths to resist change because it automatically takes us out of our comfort zone and makes extra work for us. But when we run our own business, we must either change or suffer financial loss.
Each subtle shift in the way I’ve worked or managed my business over the years has automatically repositioned me for something else that wouldn’t have come my way if I hadn’t moved in the first place. As a case in point, I offer my own experience in the kind of changes I’ve had to make years past as a writer, editor, and self-publisher on the internet. The steps I had to take in response to changing life circumstances, the marketplace, and changes within my industry offer ideas on what both service and product sellers alike need to consider.
Health Issues. When my husband’s health and physical strength began to decline and he could no longer help me with our book-selling business, I first hired a fulfillment center to ship book orders for awhile. Later, I had to completely close the mail order division because I couldn’t put out bulk mailings and do all the order processing and mail list maintenance work on top of my new responsibilities as a care giver. Then I had to figure out how to make up for this lost income, as well as that which I lost later on when I had to cease speaking professionally because I needed to be at home all the time.
Death of Spouse and Business Partner. After my husband died in 2005, like all widows I had to look at my life and work in a totally new light. I knew I had to keep working if I wanted to stay in my home, but exactly what to do was the question, because by then, the been-there-done-that feelings were quite intense. I spent much of that year making adjustments in my personal life while also maintaining my website and fulfilling regular business commitments.
Changing Technology and New Options. The following year, I began yet another intense period of self-study and exploration as I tried to figure out what I needed to learn and do to start publishing electronically. I also learned how to build new websites from scratch and do a better job of optimizing my website to attract more visitors to specific service pages. At that time I was working on my second manuscript critiquing and editing job for a client who would ultimately change my life and propel me forward in exciting new directions.
TIP: Never underestimate the importance of new people in your life. Working with just one new client or customer can prompt many ideas and open new doors of discovery.
Finding a New Niche. As the self-publishing industry began to heat up due to the ease of POD publishing and I got a steady stream of editing and manuscript critiquing jobs, I began to see that I was filling a special niche in my industry by focusing on helping authors self-publish. In my continuing lifelong study of the publishing industry—and seeing how the book publishing world at large was changing—I then began to plan for how I could tap into the growing market for Kindle eBooks.
TIP: Never cease looking for niche markets that you might fill.
BY 2003, I was extremely tired of writing only about business. I was wishing I could spend my time writing about things other than home business, but that kind of writing wasn’t of interest to my publisher, so to keep my income flowing in, I was forced to stick with the topics I’d always written about: arts and crafts and homebased businesses in general.
It took me a long time, but I finally “broke out of the mold” in 2010 when I self-published my first non-business book, a print-on-demand (POD) memoir, the writing of which changed my life and propelled me into the world of eBook publishing. By the end of 2012, I had acquired the necessary skills needed for success not only as an eBook author and self-publisher, but as a service provider and consultant to those who wanted to publish eBooks as well.
By always paying attention to how everything around me was changing—and continuing my lifelong habit of self-study—I empowered myself to be at the top of my game as I moved into my “golden years” as a writer at the same time the self-publishing industry was in its own new “golden age of self-publishing.”
The curious thing here is that I’m still doing the same basic things I’ve done throughout my home-business life (writing, publishing, teaching), but doing them in entirely new ways. And that’s only because I continually tried to develop new skills of one kind or another throughout my working life.
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
UNDERSTAND THAT the changes I’ve had to make throughout the life of my business were never easy for me, and most of them took me way outside my comfort zone . . . but all were necessary if I wanted to survive on the internet and profit from my work.
“Change doesn’t come easy, and without a major shift in your attitude, it cannot even be accepted as a possibility. You must first embrace the idea of change, and then accept with a positive attitude the stress that is likely to accompany any intense period of learning. Take it from one who’s “been there, done that.” It is worth the effort.” – Barbara
It’s always hard to leave our comfort zone to explore new territory, but every time I’ve had the courage to do this, I’ve reaped benefits galore. As I’ve learned from experience–and as you will learn, too–the real secret to success is wanting to do a particular thing and having a good reason for doing it. Once you get to that point, you’re halfway there. I’ve never stopped practicing what I’ve always preached in my home-business writing:
Remain Flexible . . . Go with the Flow.
Given all the computer and internet technology I’ve been able to learn past the age of eighty, I hope to be an inspiration to others who say they’re too old to learn new technology. Remember this:
You’re never—repeat NEVER—too old to learn;
you just have to have a REASON to keep learning.
In my case, I not only had a financial need but also a reputation to maintain. At the turn of the century when I had long been a leader in the home-business field—a so-called “expert”—I felt I was too old to deal with the internet and changing computer technology and just wanted to throw in the towel. But my ego simply wouldn’t let me just fade away like an old soldier for lack of that kind of expertise, so I began another period of intense study to learn how to do everything I needed to do to deal with one technological challenge or problem after another. And that study never seems to end.
I wrote many how-to articles for my old Computertalk department that I decided not to move to this WordPress site because there are plenty of other people on the web writing about such topics. Suffice it to say that I plan to keep learning as long as I live, and I will continue to pass on to others new lessons I’m learning about life, self-employment, business, technology, and working on the web. Join my mailing list if you’d like to learn along with me, and also take advantage of the wealth of information. encouragement, and resources you’ll find in 14 topic categories in my ARTICLES archives (linked to below).
First published 2013; updated in 2021
The Need for Change as You and Your Business Grow Older. Because you work at home, your business will always be affected by changes in your personal or family life, and you’ll need to keep revising your life and home business plans as you age and the world around you keeps changing.
Will You Still be Working in Your Seventies? A story about retirement planning with the simple financial exercise that changed Barbara’s life and the way she was looking at her future and work itself. It might change your retirement outlook too.
Home Business T/C