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The nation’s employment picture became a little brighter last month on a number of measures, and there were some positive trends for seasoned workers. But if you’ve been seeking work without success, you may be thinking that it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

Jobs expert Kerry Hannon reports that the number of self-employed Americans age 55 to 64 rose by 5 percent. Many start on this path as an interim step to bring in some income. Others discover that they’ve found their niche and they wouldn’t want to work for someone else. So how do they get there?

The key seems to lie in answering these questions: What areas can you offer valuable knowledge? What are you passionate about? Is there a market locally, or online? 

Get some inspiration from Kerry’s article, which highlights folks who are earning money from selling crafts to doing project management to direct sales to patient advocate to coordinating moves for seniors. She notes experience needed, pay ranges and earning potential, and ways to get started.

Have you found yourself in the role of caregiver and advocate for a family member or close friend with an illness? You’ve learned the ins and outs of dealing with everything from navigating the medical bureaucracy to handling the insurance piece to finding support groups and useful resources for patients and their families. Along the way, you may have thought, “I wish I had someone who could have guided me through this.” Someone may be willing to pay you to be a patient advocate.

Have you moved a loved one from their long-time home into a smaller housing unit or an assisted living facility? You can imagine the planning and the headaches involved…especially when distance factors into the equation. Lots of people fall into the ‘sandwich generation,’ where they’re dealing with raising kids at home, working full-time, plus worrying about an aging parent hundreds or thousands of miles away. Senior move coordinators can help save a ton of time and make the process smoother for everyone.

Let’s all hope that the employment picture continues to improve for all generations. Meanwhile, learn more about being your own boss with helpful self-employment resources from AARP.

Photo courtesy of Muhawai001 via Flickr Creative Commons.