For Your Second Act, Try a New Career

If you’re like most Americans, your work time horizon is much longer than it used to be. As a result, there’s less reason than ever to stick it out with a go-nowhere job or to sink into despair after being downsized out of a job as many were during the Great Recession.

Surveys show that most of us don’t have enough retirement savings, and we can’t really retire the way our parents or grandparents did because we’re living longer and require more money to make it. Many don’t plan to ever retire.

More than half of Baby Boomers expect to work at least to the age of 66 or older, and two-thirds expect to work for pay in retirement, according to a recent Gannett Poll for the Wall Street Journal.

Like many, Ed Flanagan, of Huntington Valley, Penn., who started a new business with a franchise in his 50s, said he intends to work “until I die,” though in Ed’s case it is because he enjoys his work, not because of financial need.

Ed had risen to Chief Financial Officer for a real estate developer, but that industry started collapsing with the market crash in 2008. Ed needed to start looking for new opportunities. He hoped to parlay his financial experience into a new career that he could control.

After consulting a franchise coach, he decided that purchasing a franchise had great upsides, from a ready-to-go system already in place to a network of support that would help him get through the start-up phase.

A couple of weeks later, he went to a Franchise Discovery Day at Expense Reduction Analysts of Addison, Texas, and took the leap.

Five years later, he couldn’t be happier with his new business, in which he helps his clients find cost savings, which translate into a fatter bottom line for their businesses. Using a network of analysts, his fellow franchisees, Flanagan is able to obtain an average savings of 20 percent for his client.

In his new career, he’s achieved a higher income with far more freedom to allow him the lifestyle he desires, but, he acknowledges, it wasn’t exactly an easy transition.

Of course, at the time of his purchase, the U.S. economy was still struggling to recover from a crippling recession, and many business owners were loath to think outside of the box, even for a service that Flanagan realized was a no-brainer that could make the difference between profit and loss for many businesses.

“When you’re your own boss, it’s all on you. You have to get up in the morning and do the work. You’ve got to keep plugging away,” he notes. “Nobody manages you, it’s up to you how productive you will be, particularly at the beginning.”

While acknowledging the difficulties he faced, noting that in his mind it “took too long” to achieve profitability, his business is now rolling along quite well, growing by 20 percent each year.

“The best thing is getting referrals,” he said. But that takes time, through making contacts and establishing networks and business relationships. So that after five years, 70 percent of his clients result from referrals.

Best advice Flanagan’s got for those about to embark on a new career as owners of your own business:

“You’ve got to have thick skin… Expect to have at least a year of living expenses set aside at the start. You might not need that much, but you sure don’t want to get caught short. If you’re willing to work hard, you can really have a nice lifestyle and make good money. I never had a job before where I could look out the window and tell myself ‘It’s a beautiful day. I’m going to take the afternoon off to play golf.’”

Of course, not all business types travel the same trajectory, so consult a good franchise coach, and do your research so you are prepared to succeed for the long haul and achieve the career and lifestyle of your dreams.

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Contact Dan Citrenbaum to help you create the career you’ve always wanted. As a franchise coach, Dan brings years of experience helping people select and buy a franchise or existing business. You can reach Dan at or at (484) 278-4589.

© Dan Citrenbaum 2022