Have You Been Replaced by a Twenty-Year-Old?

May 19, 2014 § 1 Comment

whatsnextI am finding more and more people my age, who have been assistants for years, wondering “now what?” “Is that all there is?” “I can’t work for someone 1/2 my age,” and even worst, “but I can’t afford to retire.”  This is a common and very real situation. But like most of us, unless you trained to be a doctor or lawyer or entrepreneur, there is an expiration date for your career. The newer Hollywood types are hiring the younger assistants who they can better relate. You would think they would want experience over youth, but I have found that is not so. I repeat, as the needs of older people are winding down, most new employers are younger and want someone who they can relate to. And frankly, if you’ve been an assistant for five-plus years and are a quick learner, you have what it takes to navigate the needs of celebrities or a younger employer because they don’t know what they’re missing.

When I talk to my fellow assistants, many of us wished we had put aside more savings or taken advantage of other opportunities that came our way. The real problem for Americans is that when retirement comes knocking, we can’t afford to retire. If you worked for individuals instead of corporations, you may not even have a 401K or pension plan (pension what?).

So my advice is no matter how young you are, set up your own retirement plan by cultivating talents you have now that you can make a business out of later. Start doing the business (on the side) and while you have a safety net. Here are some thoughts: Do you create amazing parties; find cute and unique party favors? Do you handle gift buying and have sales people in all the top stores as resources? Do you have a list of the top vendors in your city to use? Do you edit or write for your employer? Do you organize your employer? How are you at booking travel and setting up unique experiences for your employer? Light bulb alert! Any of those things could be a business.

The playing field is more level than ever before for new business owners due to the receptivity of online businesses. No longer do you need to pay rent for a brick and mortar store. Now people do everything online. So I strongly recommend that while you are employed, figure out what your exit strategy will be and work towards that. While the people we support are wealthy, we are not. Get a plan in place and make that a priority—remember to do something for you.

Do you have an idea to transform into a business? Please share it by leaving a comment.

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