After submitting my first article for Sixty and Me, “What Should I Do? Confessions of an Overthinker,” I wanted to affirm my next step. I had decided to enter the blogosphere, but found myself overthinking, again.
This week, I’ve been feeling pressure to move faster with defining content areas for my new blog. Let’s say I’ve been busy. While frustrated initially by lack of progress, I am now sorting and prioritizing ideas and developing the range of content to include. But it takes time!
Sure, I could pay a site development service to help me get everything set up. But I’m unsure where I want to end up. Instead, I’ve decided to do things myself, at my own pace.
I started off doing research, being the overthinker that I am. Browsing websites that cater to women of our generation, here’s what I found.
There are some common topics for content among the high traffic blog sites, and these topics do seem to repeat over time, indicating some salient interest for readers.
Learning and staying current with technology, co-living arrangements, relocating for retirement, travel, career pivots, purpose and meaning in retirement, health, nutrition, exercise, wellness, beauty, sex, hair color/style, grief, loneliness and friendships and social security and retirement benefits are among popular articles.
With my history in career management and counseling, the notion of managing life “transitions” is familiar. The space between our jobs or careers; adapting to free time in retirement; overcoming the loss of a loved one; adjusting to becoming a caretaker; recovering and adapting to a life altering illness; divorce; adjusting to an empty nest; and finding new interests and activities are among the life changes we all experience.
Based on how recently we’ve experienced similar changes, the intensity varies. A person furloughed, laid off from their job, or facing a business closure can experience the loss with a range and cycle of reactions from shock and disbelief to denial, bargaining and depression through to a new beginning where they’ve accepted their change and see their future in a new way.
Terms like portfolio careers and contract assignments emerged first and then with economic fluctuations, gig economy, side hustles, side gigs, etc. became familiar. According to the US Census Bureau, when Covid-19 hit people responded by starting small businesses in great numbers.
4.4 million new businesses were created in the US during 2020 and a half million were started in January 2021 alone! It is very common to read in AARP and elsewhere about seniors starting businesses in retirement years. Maybe they call those the Silver Tsunami businesses?
When I started a small company making scarves, turbans and hats for chemo patients in 2010, the process was swift. I was bald, my head was cold, and I knew how to sew. It was natural for me to make my own headwear, and when requests came in, the business emerged and grew steadily.
I didn’t know about getting a resale license, website development, and online marketing strategies. But with each step along the way, I was encouraged by reactions to my products, asked vendors at the farmer’s market about getting the resale license and “Googled” my way through other business questions.
The US Office of Small Business Development has offices nationwide providing free consulting to anyone interested in beginning a small business for the first time or improving or expanding an existing small business. I attended a few workshops and took a few appointments with their “SCORE” advisors, who are retired executives specializing in various business areas.
By expanding my line of products to six, I ensured larger wholesale orders and things seemed to flow; I kept getting next steps indicated to me by people’s comments, requests and demands from hospitals and stores.
As I write this, I do recall pressuring myself to come up with new designs soon! Unlike handling the colorful fabrics, patterns and styles involved in the chemo hat business, launching a blog seems more thought-based and I have thought, re-thought and persisted to think about getting started with it!
Writing draws from a lot of my prior experience and is enjoyable, but I don’t want to work 80 hours a week at it!
Determining EARLY how to monetize a site or blog is important. Communicating with artists from UpWork.com on design proposals and images for a couple potential products has been fun. It’s way more fun than the web design stuff, I can tell you that!
As I progress into my 71st year, and make progress with this blog effort, I appreciate the personal life experiences that have taught me how to find my way through uncertain situations. Clearly, I am doing this myself and not reporting to someone else, and that’s a good thing.
Recognizing the unfamiliar and then taking a few deep breaths, stopping to enjoy a cup of herbal tea; making a phone call to a friend; writing in a journal or reading the journal to find how I found my way through the last big changes, prepares me to walk through the unfamiliarand know I can trust myself. I DO trust this is going to all work out.
Trusting ourselves and our own wisdom is one of the perks that comes with aging!
What new endeavor have you started recently? Have you tried setting up a website or blog on your own? What was the most difficult part of it for you? Do you have tips to offer to those who tend to overthink every step?