In today’s increasingly gig-centric economy, there are endless ways to repurpose your professional expertise into a more lifestyle-friendly career. For example, you could consult, freelance as an independent contractor, temp, or work as an adjunct professor, just to name a few.
It takes time to find just the right fit. But with drive and creative thinking, you’re sure to craft a satisfying solution. So, if you’re eager to expand your world of possibilities, here are 10 questions to ponder:
1. What services or products are being overlooked in your industry that you could fill? Within every industry, there are opportunities to create new and needed products and services. For example, you might sense a need for a new training program, a niche job board, or a specialized recruiting service, just to name a few.
2. What skills could you market on a freelance and flexible basis? Think in terms of your favorite and highest-value work related skills. What are you best known for? For example, perhaps you’ve been a star salesperson who could now coach entrepreneurs on ways to generate more sales. Or, you could leverage your bilingual skills to work as a translator for local law firms.
3. Do you have strong tech skills that you could offer on a freelance basis? Businesses and individual consumers hire freelancers to assist with a variety of tech-related tasks, including programming, web design, social media outreach, and others.
4. What tools can you create to make it easier for people to do their jobs or enjoy their hobbies? Here again, take a look at what’s missing and figure out how you can plug the gaps. For instance, you might build a new tool, import a useful accessory, or develop a mobile app.
5. How can you help mentor the next generation of talent? As the boomers move into retirement, more companies will look for help training the next generation of leaders. Perhaps you could offer individual coaching services or develop a mentoring program to assist their efforts.
6. Could you leverage your industry expertise as a consultant, board member, or advisor? Companies pay well for counsel from seasoned industry leaders.
7. What services, events, or initiatives can you create to make your industry more inclusive for all? More companies are focusing on diversity these days. Think about services or products — such as training sessions, conferences, or guidebooks — that you could offer to promote diversity and inclusion in your professional world.
8. Is there a creative way to blend your professional expertise with your personal interests? There might be a novel way to use your professional skills in a totally different way. For example, I recently heard about a rabbi who now gets paid to lead tours to Israel for people of all faiths.
9. Have you developed a successful step-by-step business process that you could teach others? For example, if you created a successful executive onboarding program at your old company, you might be able to turn that proprietary step-by-step approach into a book or online program.
10. What events or platforms can you create that will help connect your professional peers? People are always looking for ways to network with their industry peers. Perhaps you can create an association, conference, event, or online platform to help connect them.
Remember, there is almost always some small piece of your professional background that can serve as the foundation of your next act. Happy brainstorming!