It’s not just mid-life career changers who are re-creating their future

Photo by Vale Zmeykov on Unsplash

What is an Encorepreneur? The Urban Dictionary defines an Encorepreneur as “ a person nearing retirement and undertaking a new venture.

Just a few months back, the term Encorepreneur might have been used to describe people who were abandoning a career they may have had for decades to pursue a business or passion. Most likely these people were either burned out, furloughed, or simply ready to move on into another way to earn an income stream but not ready for retirement.

That has certainly changed now. The economic fallout from COVID-19 has created a new flow of Encorepreneurs onto the scene and they are anything but retirement age or leaving a decades-old career.

That might have been true a few years back but this is 2020 and there is a whole new face of Encorepreneurs that I think deserve a different definition.

In the past 3 months, I have coached a 26-year-old graduate student who was ready to start a position this summer in advertising. She had interned at a well-known company and had accepted a position upon graduation.

As the company’s revenue began to shrink when clients boarded-up businesses and halted advertising campaigns, she was notified that the position was put on hold, indefinitely.

Some 5 months later, she has decided to use her love of photography and her skill of capturing memories into a new business offering photoshoots and teaching lessons online as well as in person. 

She shared that she recognizes it may take a while to earn the revenue she was offered at the advertising firm but she will be able to pay her bills and build something she loves especially when she is far from certain when or if she will choose a corporate position.

While the World Economic Forum has documented what the effects of a pandemic have been on many economies, it doesn’t take a genius to realize there are jobs that have been lost that are not coming back. In August, Fox Business News reported only 37% of workers furloughed in March had returned to their positions.

Owners and workers in gym, restaurants, and hospitality services have seen a steep decline but society’s education, financial and cultural platforms all teeter on decline or extinction due to the domino effect of the crisis.

As we look back over perhaps the last ten years, we saw an increase in Encorpreneurship from post-career business and executives looking for what was next in their lives. Most of these people fell in the Baby Boomer range.

Not so, with the 26-year old, I worked with this summer or the 42-year-old mother of 4 who left her job as a Nursing Supervisor this Fall when her own parent became ill and she had no idea how she was going to handle caring for father and working to educate her children who were all in digital education.

Then there is the 37-year-old teacher who got his teaching degree after being laid off from a corporate banking position in 2011. He taught for 6 years and this year has been trying to handle teaching online in an inner-city school in a large metropolitan city. He was forced to moved when his wife lost her job as a pastry chef in a restaurant and found another in a different city.

He discovered he was unable to continue to provide digital learning due to restrictions about his teaching certification in their new location and by the time he talked with me all he could say is. “ I am so done!”

These are the faces of the new Encorepreneurs.

They are so done with what they thought was their future.

So. Done.

Aren’t we all, in some way.

Aren’t we all so done with masking up, shutting down, and doing over?

Aren’t we so done with social distancing, social restricting, and avoiding many of the things we once embraced; including physically embracing friends, colleagues, and even family members.

It’s all this “so done” that has created the faces of the new Encorepreneurs. 

Some will not return to their previous careers or homes or schools or even their previous lifestyles.

Yes, I am sure these will also be the faces of the New Encorepreneurs.

The Nursing Supervisor is working to build a career in an entirely different field. The 26-year-old is starting her photography business and the teacher is making friends in a new city and considering starting a small business funding group with some new colleagues.

It’s a different world out there now than when 2020 began.

We have to realize resilience is demanded more than just desired now.

Everyone is being evaluated on how well they cope and how well they adapt.

College students are rethinking how and where the best place to get a degree might be.

Those with degrees are wondering if the cost was worth it.

And, while there never may have been assurances everyone with education would find a job in their field, 2020 has brought a whole new wave of unrest to those who are earning a living doing anything today.

So, are you prepared for becoming an Encorepreneur?

Even if you feel secure in your field or believe you will never have to think about an alternative, I suggest you become one.

Encorepreneurs aren’t necessarily those who have already lost or left careers or jobs.They are anyone who is ready to leave one career for another. 

Actually, they might be anyone who is ready to leave earning an income in one way for another

Encorepreneurship can be something pursued because you HAVE TO do something else to earn a living or because you WANT TO do something else to provide income.

Encorepreneurship is not re-invention. I like to think of it as more of a “Re-direction.”

Maybe the new definition for Encorpreneurs should be “People who leave a career or position they are formally trained in for a new career.”

But, then that would leave out people who use their formal training to create a business.

So, maybe Encorepreneurs are better identified as “People who start new ventures after being in a specific role for an extended time.”

But then, the 26-year-old who never really started her career would not be considered an Encorepreneur although she obviously is starting a new venture.

So maybe the better definition of an Encorepreneur is “Someone who does something they have never done before to earn an income.”

That means a construction worker turned taxi-driver is an Encorepreneur.

It also means a dentist turned yoga instructor or a teacher turned doggie daycare owner also is one.

Maybe even the mom turned “now your classroom instructor” in a way.

So if you have ever wanted or needed to change direction, this is your golden opportunity.

Encorepreneurship can mean a very lucrative venture or even a very interesting venture. 

Anybody can and should become an Encorepreneur.

It may be the only way to save yourself in the future.

Jobs will become obsolete. Degrees may become obsolete.

What you do today, a robot might take on tomorrow.

So what about looking at a different way to earn income than what you are doing right now?

This doesn’t mean you have to leave your current job or even commit to making an income one way.

It simply means you decide not to put your eggs in one basket and realize how many different ways you can earn money should you have or want to leave your current form of employment.

It’s unlikely the future will hold a guarantee that what you are trained in today will take you 20 or even 10 years into the future.

The new Encorepreneurs have changed the definition of what we think an Encorepreneur to be. COVID has helped change that and I don’t think we are returning anytime soon if ever to job security.

We now know we can do many things online instead of on-site.

We realize we can connect universally instead of one to one.

And we also know careers and jobs are dependent on the world staying pretty much typical, which we should already know is not going to happen.

So if there was ever a time to try and see what you can do with the talent, skills, or even dreams you have, you are in the vast majority of people who have realized they are more creative than perhaps they ever believed.

Many of the clients I have talked to in the past 6 months have had to develop a new venture but perhaps you believe you were lucky in being able to hang on to your position.

But luck is not the way to survive the future. In fact, luck may make you complacent and docile and most of all reduce you to being irrelevant sooner than expected.

Planning to be able to provide is smarter than hoping you will be able to.

I think we need to teach everyone how to be an Encorepreneur.

Seek new ventures because you can, not because you must.

Realize how much power you have before you relinquish it easily to be snuffed out from years of loyalty, stress, and monotony.

This is a choose your own adventure time in your life even if it doesn’t feel like it because we tend to get comfortable in the mundane and the ordinary and before we know it 30 years goes by quickly.

Don’t think your future is bleak because it is not what you expected.

Expect your future to be what you work to have it become and most importantly, expect it to be continually in flux.

We can change want we want when we are proactive but we usually settle for what we have when we are inactive. More about that here.

Yes, some people have to become Encorepreneurs but most people should try and develop that mindset as though it were part of living well.

Because those who are going to survive and thrive well into the future are those who know how to create a new venture whether they have to or not.

Here are six ways to Grow Into an Encorepreneur

1. Observe the world’s needs and start to develop ideas about how to meet them. (Keep a notebook, start a vision, focus on what you could really do to create change)

 2. Find a hobby or passion that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. Spend some time growing it daily.

 3. Don’t dismiss ideas as foolish. Ideas should be “fuelish” and fuel your creative juices to explore what they can become.

4. Take advantage of learning “free” skills to peak your interest if you are not sure of what you might want to do. There are all kinds of “free” training that will introduce you to many new opportunities and every state has free classes for senior citizens or adults who want to learn a new skill.

5. Take some risks. You don’t have to dive into the water but you certainly can dip your little toe in or perhaps wade around and try something new. (A friend who is former military and always wanted to write, just had a large publishing firm give him an advance on a novel he is finishing and his degree was never as a journalist!)

6. Choose resilience over regret. The worst that can happen is that something you try doesn’t work. Fail to ever try and the worst that can happen is a gnawing realization that you will never know what was possible

Become an Encorepreneur, maybe several times, whether you have to or not.

Life is too short not to.

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  • Kathy Brunner

    Entrepreneur and Business Coach, Author, Speaker

    Last Brand Standing

    I'm a Career/Business Coach with a passion to help people move from day jobs to Dream Work, often by creating a side income that turns into life-changing business. I'm the author of Finding Your Fire, living fired up not burned out! I love writing, coaching, dogs, repurposing furniture, reading, traveling and a good Margarita. Come visit me at