The Rise Of Greypreneurs: Freelancing After 50 (infographic)

Age discrimination, much like any other form of discrimination, has no place in a professional setting. Yet 60% of workers aged 45 and up have said they've seen or even experiences ageism first hand. From offensive offhand comments to being passed up for a promotion, older workers may find themselves and their skills reprioritized as employers begin to favor incoming Gen Zers. But with the reality of four in five Baby Boomers expecting to keep working rather than retire due to financial necessity, how can they stay ahead of the curve?

Starting in 2013, the IBM corporation has shifted over 20,000 employees, aged 40 and up, out of their workforce. In a policy that "corrected seniority mix," these positions were later filled with younger workers, as the terminated employees were forced to enter unexpected retirement. As a whole, American workers who say they have experienced workplace age discrimination, 19% have said it came from being passed up for a position they were qualified for, 12% say they lost out on a promotion, and 8% say they were laid off or fired for "unclear reasons." Whatever the case is for ageism in the workplace, there are ways to overcome the barriers, secure your positions, and make yourself as valuable as ever.

No matter how long you've been in your current field or how much of an "expert" you consider yourself, there's always room to improve. Keep yourself and your knowledge base fresh, take advantage of online courses and other resources to solidify your professional know-how. For older professionals who plan on working past retirement age, looking forward and growing up from a current position if possible can keep a career strong. Showcase your age as a positive attribute, as with it comes experience and wisdom while at the same time emphasize that you are willing and capable of learning new things to supplement tried and true skills. And at the end of the day, simply keeping notes on patterns of age discrimination from colleagues and management, saving dates, timestamps, and emails as proof when lodging complaints. Yet even with these measures, trying to overcome the age-obsessed professional environments of their current careers isn't enough - and Baby Boomers instead take matters into their own hands.
"I believe that rather than waiting for an employer to pick you, you should pick yourself," — Jane Jackson, career management coach and author.
"Greyprenuers," a term describing the increase of older professionals pursuing their passions with entrepreneurship, gives us interesting insight and challenges the image of what an entrepreneur looks like. Though we may think of Silicon Valley millennials developing apps or gimmicky gadgets, the truth that nearly 60% of small business owners are over the age of 50 and nearly 50% of all self-employed workers are Baby Boomers. So what makes them so special when it comes to building a small business brand? Perhaps one of the best kept secrets is how easily the gig economy and freelance work comes to Baby Boomers; their years of experience in any given industry, massive network of personal connections, and wisdom of age help them thrive.
Related: Infographic - Survival Guide For Freelancers
The roadblocks of entrepreneurship that Millennials face are not ubiquitous, in fact it's quite the contrary. Struggles to access funding, build capital, get the attention of investors, and the slow pace of "learning as you go" is not necessarily on the radar for older professionals pursuing small business leadership. Investors are often far more likely to invest their money and name into those with experience in business and more assets and better credit make it far easier for older workers to get the loans they need. Once past that gate, it's all about the connections. This generation of young professionals relies heavily on the services of social media to help build networks, but Baby Boomers never had this luxury in their younger years; for them, connections were made the old fashioned way. This leaves lasting, personal relationships and built-in knowledge for reaching clients, mentors, and potential business partners.

Working for yourself is never easy, but getting started may not be as difficult it would appear. From construction to consulting, Baby Boomers are excelling in entrepreneurship, the gig economy, and leading the way for a future of freelance professionals - and here's how they are making it happen.

Re-imagining Your Career After 50 - Infographic
Re-imagining Your Career After 50 - Infographic
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