Why are more and more 50+ women (and men) giving up perfectly respectable and often well paid jobs in favour of the unsecure world of self-employment? The reasons are I suppose many and varied but in my case (and yes, of course I am one of these risk takers – otherwise why would I be writing this?) it stemmed from a realisation that time is short and working to someone else’s rules (often a much younger someone) wasn’t something I wanted to do until the day I dropped dead during a lengthy commute. So, just over a year ago I negotiated a redundancy package and left, without a backwards glance, to fulfil a dream to finish a novel I had started several months earlier.


That novel was completed (although I still haven’t ‘done’ anything with it) and a further one (which could actually be split into a trilogy) drafted before the dawning realisation that as much as I enjoyed writing, it wasn’t going to keep a roof over my head and food on the table. Time to think again…


Whilst the evaluation went on I took another employed position (only part time and from the word go I could see and plan for an exit route which somehow made it bearable) and then, in that serendipitous way that sometimes happens, I was looking at something online and came across an opportunity which seemed to suit my skillset and personality…a franchise, not something I had considered after a brief but disastrous dalliance 10 years previously.


It’s still very early days for me and my cashflow is in the negative (slightly worrying but hey – I am the eternal optimist and something ALWAYS comes in when I need it!) but the freedom I now have is undeniable; I call the shots, set up meetings, attend networking (which, by the way, I am loving) and plan my strategies around my own strengths. If I want to start my day at 6am and finish by 2pm I do; conversely if I fancy a lie in (subject of course to a clear schedule) then I can do that too. I may not have the salary I once had and we have had to compromise on things like nights out and holidays but I am happier by far then when I had to dance to someone else’s music.


So, back to my original question; ‘why are so many over 50’s opting for self-employment?’. Here’s an acronym I have compiled, if any of these resonate with you then perhaps you too should be thinking about working for yourself!


  • Freedom – yes, you will have to work hard, very hard but it will be for your own benefit and not a corporation so somehow it feels less arduous.
  • Insecurity – not perhaps a comfortable thought but I guarantee having to think on your toes will make you feel much more energised and alive!
  • Financially independent – your efforts should be rewarded exponentially to what you put in.
  • Truly yourself – perhaps for the first time in a long while.
  • Younger!!

It’s never too late to start again…

Laura Billingham

Laura Billingham

Virtual PA

Laura is a partner with SmartPA network, the UK’s leading provider of outsourced business administration and PA services. 

Tel: 07736351341

Email: laura.billingham@smartpasupport.com

Website: www.smartpa.com