Second-Act Careers Are The New First Careers

Second-Act Careers Are The New First Careers

Here at Food Tour Pros we encounter a lot of new business owners each year in our Courses. A variety of people come to us to start their food tours, including men, women and couples young and old. Among the the group though, we’ve realized that people are increasingly starting Food Tour Businesses as Second Careers.

What’s a Second Career?

The first step to second careers is understanding exactly what that term means. While it may immediately spring “retirement” to mind, that’s actually only one scenario. Second careers apply to anyone who may be in restart mode after following an unsatisfying career path for too long, or yes, in retirement and not ready or able to completely stop working. Alternatively, a second career can literally be a second career in addition to what someone already does.

What kind of job is it?

Frankly it can be just about anything an individual decides to turn into a career. Many times second-act careers are built around personal interests and developed into small businesses of some kind. These careers allow independence, fulfillment and in some cases a very lucrative income. Another description you may hear is “lifestyle career,” which is just another way of saying

Who takes on second careers?

In our experience the kind of person who takes on a second career really runs the gamut in both age and situation, as you may have already gathered from our definition above. Below is a breakdown of a few profiles of who generally may look into a second career.

Retirees – Gone are the days when retirement exclusively meant sitting back and relaxing. Those who can afford retirement aren’t always ready to slow down, and for others continuing to bring in income is a necessity to live the lifestyle they want or to fund travel and other hobbies.

Flexible Workers – What do we mean by flexible workers? Think careers where employees don’t work the regular 9-5pm or go on hiatus once a year like real estate employees, teachers or freelancers. These are examples of workers who look for additional income and fulfillment in addition to their chosen careers.

Stay-At Home Moms and Dads – This might as well also be filed under flexible workers because being a stay-at-home parent is itself a job. We run into a lot of stay-at-home moms and stay-at-home dads who take on second careers as a means to bring in a little extra income as well as add another fulfilling career in addition to raising their children.

Those Floating In-Between Careers – Sometimes people go to college, graduate and jump into a career before realizing 10-15 years down the line that it’s just not for them. While it’s easy enough to just keep going down the path you’ve selected, some opt to explore their skills and how they can use them “reboot” for a new career or owning a lifestyle business.

Millennials – This most buzz worthy generation is not the first you may think of with second-act careers, but their motivation tends to come from a place outside of necessity. Much like the in-between careers crowd, millennials are increasingly looking for careers that are personally fulfilling. A means of doing that can be a second career to replace or supplement their current career.

How do you find the second career that’s right for you?

If you’ve found yourself at a crossroads, certain you need another supplemental career, in need of a new career or interesting form of extra income you may be considering your options. A really important aspect about second careers is approaching them different than you may have your last job. Below are some basic tips for figuring out just what you’re looking for.

Evaluate Your Passions & Skills

Many second careers grow out of unexplored interests and untapped skills. Think about your hobbies or how you spend your free time and ask yourself; Is there a career here? Is there a possible source of income? Choosing a second career almost lands in-between job searching and entrepreneurship. So whatever you choose will likely be partially independently run by you.

Ask Yourself What You’re Looking For

In our experience those who start Food Tour Businesses as a second career are often fulfilling a longtime interest in local food, supporting local economy, passion for tourism or even just the idea of owning their own business. The key is looking inward and realizing what it is you are looking for in a second career. Is it more money? Fulfillment? A happier day-to-day? Independence? A different lifestyle? Once you answer that question you can decide how you might use your skills and passion to create a new career.

Need help getting started? Here are some second career ideas:

  • Food tour operator
  • Freelance photographer or videographer
  • Business consulting
  • Small business owner
  • Writer, blogger or columnist
  • Selling handcrafted items

Once you know what you want to do, what’s next?

Research, Research, Research

So you’ve decided what you want to do, and that there’s a possibility you can make money with it. Now what? Based on the industry you’ve chosen we recommend doing a lot of research. Figure out if this is a viable option for you, if it will satisfy what you’re looking for and confirm if this is a right move for you. After all if you choose the wrong one, there’s no such thing as a third career. Just kidding, you can have as many careers as you like, but it’s important to figure out the right one for you…thus the research.

Find A Game Plan, Get Educated

Whatever path you choose there will likely be a learning curve involved, whether it’s learning to manage finances for a business, how to market what you’re doing, how to leverage your skills into an existing business, or even how the industry you are stepping into works. There are a lot of great resources and blogs out there from the large, to the smaller niche blogs like Nancy Collamer’s Resources like this can help you apply business principals to whatever you choose, but also be inspirational as you take this new step in your career.

Did you take this career path? We want to here from you! Let us know in the comments your process for finding the new career that was best for you.


Photo Credit: ‘Career Advice‘ by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr under CC BY-SA 2.0. Size & color adjusted.

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