A lot of women reach a plateau in their career due to taking familial responsibilities or lack of growth at workplace. What does it take to shake up things and start growing again in your 30s?
“My promotion is overdue and my annual compensation is 30% below the market average,” told my 32 years old friend who I have known as a super achiever in college and high school. Not only did she crack leading companies for placements right after college but also scored high on GRE exam required for applying for higher studies abroad.
Yet, here she is, in a tier 2 city in India - wondering where did she go wrong. And this is not her problem alone. Many women take a break from their career to raise kids and even when they don’t, their focus shifts to marriage and family after a certain point, making them less attractive for regular employers. As a result, the promotions are hard to get and there is always some excuse to deny raises at par with their male counterparts.
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But, thanks to the Internet, this does NOT mean that your career should be over. Dealing with a lot of career women around me, I know that they are as driven, if not more, than men in their age group. From personal success, I can tell you that there are lot of good ways to channel this drive into meaningful careers in your 30s.
Here are five ways you can break out from this plateau and reinvigorate your career outside regular corporate jobs:
Think of the key skills you used in your last job and try to find opportunities where those can be applied. Ideally, you wish to pick a skill that you can deliver as well as enjoy delivering.
Be it tax planning, accounting, running affiliate marketing for a startup, there are ton of stuff that freelancers are making money in right now. And some of the most profitable margins occur in service based businesses. Were you into HR? You can start your HR sourcing freelancing business and help companies recruit online. Were you a CA? Then, there is no reason for you to not help people file their taxes right from your home!
Get started on Upwork or Fiverr and find a niche that you can start building a portfolio in. There are many websites to help you get right back into the game.
2. Writing & Blogging
As someone who was blogging for more than 8 years, I wrote my first novel in 2014. Agreed that books are not the best way to make money, it eventually got me taken seriously and now I contribute articles regularly to big dailies.
Coming to the financial aspect, it was my reference book for engineers who wish to pursue their Master’s from USA that made me money off writing. However, I had already established a tight knit audience of students through my counseling business that knew me and trusted me. Book, then, became an additional point to establish my credibility and now adds to my passive income.
Even if you are not someone with patience for writing a book that can take months or years, you can still try your hand at creating content in your area of expertise. Food blogs with recipes, do-it-yourself fashion ideas, blogs for how to raise kids etc can be a good place to start and many women have made serious brand by doing these.
3. Remote Working
Gone are the days when one had to swipe card at a company to register attendance. Companies, especially startups, are more interested in getting stuff done and they would rather pay for talent than degrees and physical presence.
The fact that virtual assistants are so much in demand is a testament to the power and efficacy of ‘remote working’. While freelancing also involves remote working, it involves finding clients regularly for your work. Here, we are talking about being hired by an employer as a full-time or part-time employee but who can work remotely.
Web designing, development, testing, administrative assistance and many other opportunities are available for remote employees.
4. Turning Hobby Into Business
Remember the adorable Sridevi from English Vinglish and her laddoos business?
While service based businesses are easier to kickstart due to lower investments requirement, one can always try her hands at a product or e-commerce based startup. There is no dearth of role models in this regard as many Indian women have taken the very problems they were facing to heart and found a solution that might work for the masses too.
In my own network, I am seeing women coming up with baby friendly clothes, handcrafted bags, jewelry, hand printed scarves and what not. If you have a product that you wish to try selling, use Zepo or Shopify to get your online store up and running in no time!
5. Certifications & Higher Education
A graduate or postgraduate degree remains one of the popular ways to switch gears in your career. While MBA is the most prominent choice to help advance the career in early 30s, one can also look at some other less expensive degrees.
With Information Systems ruling almost every industry now, there is a surging demand for people who do not need to be expert at computer science but who can run most common software and make the business processes more efficient. This gave rise to courses in MS in MIS (Management Information Systems), Data Analytics and other programs in the west.
If you are not looking for a part or full-time course, there are also a huge number of online courses available at your disposal through sites like Coursera, edX & Udemy.
If you feel rusty and are looking to catch up on the skill sets that are most in demand today, do a certification or full course in growing fields to add to your resume. Some areas worth checking out can be digital marketing (including google analytics, SEO, adwords, social media marketing etc), data analytics (excel or programming heavy), project management professional certification etc.
As you can see, we are living in an age that facilitates growth right within the confines of your home. The only thing you need to get started is to ‘think big and believe in yourself’.
Remember. This is just a sample.
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