If you're over 40 and in career transition, you're probably wondering, "What's next?" Feeling scared and uncertain are common emotions, especially if you're not sure what's around the corner. If you're in this position, I want to pass along an "out of the box" idea for this transitional time that could be the difference between a frustrating chapter and one that helps you get to the next step with confidence. This "out of the box" idea is "vlogging".
Vlogging, in its most basic form, is an online video diary. The term comes from combining the word "blog" with video. Vloggers share their lives and in turn, interested people subscribe to their posts. It's estimated that 10% of YouTube subscriptions are for vlogging channels and the beauty is in what can be achieved through the medium. It's a way to create and belong to a community, a platform for doing business or both of these put together.
I've been vlogging weekly on YouTube since 2013. In my updates, I share my thoughts about life after 40 in a way that helps others going through the same thing. Through video, people get to know me beyond articles, books or Facebook posts and as I've gone through the learning curve of online video, I've been able to see how empowering this medium can be for those of us in any transition of life - especially career.Credit: By Runner1616 (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
You don't need a fancy camera - your smart phone will do
Initially I didn't want to do videos at all. I was afraid of what people would think and wasn't sure if I had anything to say. I've since learned that these are very normal feelings for beginners. Despite nerves and lack of knowledge, I jumped in. It took a while to get the hang of. I didn't start with any fancy equipment. In fact, you most likely have all you need to create a vlog today. I jwrote a draft of what I wanted to talk about, used my iPhone (which has a fantastic built in video camera) and uploaded straight to YouTube via their free app. I kept it all simple so I could put my energy into being consistent. Consistency is important because it helps you get used to the process and builds trust among viewers. The effort paid off. My weekly videos eventually helped to create community, connections and non-stop business inspiration.
Credit: Susan Paget
So, what should you vlog about?
Vlogging is the perfect venue to start experimenting with that idea that's been in the back of your mind. It's a medium where you can virtually take any topic you love and create content around it in a way you feel most comfortable. "How To" videos are one way of creating content. All you need is to be able to explain how to do something. For instance, If you've dreamed of being a chef, you could teach viewers how to create your special dish. If you love fitness, you could make videos about your experience trying out new work-out routines or give tips.
If you're unsure of your interests, you can take a "video diary" approach, basically talking to a camera and sharing your thoughts. If you're stuck for ideas, simply use YouTube's search engine and type in whatever interests you have. Once you find something you like, watch how it's done, read the description, notice what it's titled. These give clues of what's possible. And while it takes time to build a community (I had zero subscribers for a long time!), your vlogs could provide a foundation for a new career. It's a low risk way to test drive an idea.
Vlogging helps smooth career transition in the following ways:
1. It strengthens your communication skills
In addition to helping you build a profile in an area you're passionate about, vlogging gives you great practice for job interviews and networking. In many ways, being able to talk to a camera is a virtual version of a public speaking course. I'm still working on my "ummm's" and "you know's" but I've grown leaps and bounds since my first shaky attempts.
2. It helps you find your people
When I started, I really wasn't aware of an "over 40" community. Since then, I've become friends with video creators and subscribers in this genre. It really is a community where we're connected on a global level. Something many of us never experience in a traditional office.
3. It provides an outlet to share your passion in your own unique way
Today I was watching one of YouTube's most popular vlogs by a woman who just opens packages of toys. You don't even see her face but supposedly, kids love her. She reportedly earns a six figure annual income from her channel. What do you love to do? Don't underestimate the power of sharing something that you love doing.
4. The potential for successful midlife vloggers is a "blue ocean"
I got this term from video guru, Gideon Shalwick, who explains that when trends are saturated, they become "red oceans", meaning, the competition is just too stiff. What we want to look for in business is the "blue ocean", the place where there aren't a lot of swimmers! While the overall trend of vlogging is somewhat of a "red ocean" because so many creators are young, the niche of midlife vloggers is still wide open. The "blue ocean" of video is looking for you!
5. It keeps you working
Yep, it's not paid work but this helps you stay in the game. When I was in the thick of career transition, I can't tell you how many times learning and trying new things helped keep me sane and feeling good about myself. I knew that in my own way I was moving forward. Vlogging can allow you to keep carving the momentum of your new career path.
Have I inspired you to start vlogging? What idea's been in your head that you can start now? Post your comment below.
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(price as of Jun 26, 2015)