Senior Australians were a big focus in the 2018 Federal Budget and rightly so. I have always believed we should respect and take care of older generations (whether it is a ploy for votes or not).
What really stood out for me was the incentives created to encourage older Australians to stay engaged in the workforce. Be it through the “restart” wage subsidy and/or the “skills and training” grants for those over 50, the “olderpreneurs”.
As far as I am concerned 50 is the new 30, with all the added benefits of wisdom. We are living longer, looking younger and social norms are changing rapidly. Ideally, retirement should be a choice, not a necessity due to age discrimination or lack of confidence in the ways of a new world.
Whether it is remaining in the workforce or starting their own business, there is no need for Australian olderpreneurs to question their ability to fulfill all of their ambitions. In fact according to Dr. Alex Maritz from LaTrobe University, in an interview with ABC News, his research shows seniors seem more capable of starting a business than younger people.
With capability and experience not in question, the one thing I have found, through my personal branding consultancy, is baby boomers and those over 50, generally struggle with self-promotion. It makes sense, words like “selfie” and “personal profile page” have only become part of our vernacular in the last ten years. Reality is, however, a personal brand is an essential element to staying relevant.
So here are my 3 top tips for anyone still coming to terms with the world of personal branding:
Embrace self promotion– Once a faux pas, self-promotion is now considered a trend and it has its benefits. You get to tell your story and shine a spotlight on the vast amount of experience you have had. There are also new ways to monetise your wisdom. According to Dorie Clark, author of “Entrepreneurial You” and a regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, “The internet and our globalised economy have given us the possibility of reaching millions of people, working on our own terms, and enjoying unlimited income potential”. How you tell your story, what you focus on and how you promote yourself, may give you the ability to stand out and be open to new opportunities.
Be tech informed– Social media plays a big part in promoting your personal brand. It is important to get informed but I always advise my clients to take it at their own pace. Consistency is more important than frequency.
Be “unconventional”– Challenge convention and let go of ideas of “it’s too late” or “it is not age appropriate”. Naturally, your personal brand will determine how you position yourself. I personally love stories of individuals who break through conventions. I think of Maye Musk, the 70-year-old supermodel, and Tao Porchon-Lynch, the 98-year-old yoga teacher. Let’s not forget the glorious Richard Branson, who seems to get more outrageous as the years get on. I urge you to think outside the box if you know you have never fit into the box to begin with.
Age really is a state of mind and being “old” is a decision we make for ourselves. It might seem easy to blame society, but unless we take matters into our own hands and revolutionise how society views olderpreneurs then nothing will ever change. In the wise words of David Bowie, “Aging is a extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been”.
Carlii Lyon, Director, Carlii Lyon Public Relations