Building a Credible Reputation for Future Self-Employment

Building a Credible Reputation for Future Self-Employment

It takes a lot of thought and  effort to transition into a new life. Even with a clear vision and a plan, it is important to make consistent efforts to gradually adjust behaviors and activities so that we start becoming the person we want to be.

I now have only 14 months before I retire. I am making strides in different areas, but realize I must keep my eyes focused on where I want to be. At the same time, I also must remember the present is a gift. I don’t want to be so future-oriented that I forget to enjoy the moments I get to share with people I care about or forget to appreciate a harvest moon or a pleasant October afternoon.

After retire I want to make a little money while I play at what I love doing – writing, speaking, developing training materials, and conducting workshops. Because I will be self-employed after I retire, I need to build a credible reputation separate from my current professional reputation. To do this will take time and a lot of effort.  I’ve already started making some small efforts in this area while continuing to stay focused on the present and my current responsibilities.

I try to be mindful about what I say and what I write about across social media platforms. The topics I am writing about are also consistent with the reputation I am building.  My second article for Sixty & Me was just posted this week. I wrote about the difference between goal setting and vision mapping. This topic is consistent with the work I’m developing. I also write and speak about social justice issues. On my FB page, Strong Women, Past and Present, I post stories about women who have succeeded against the odds or who are fighting for social justice.

In the next two months I have a couple speaking opportunities outside the classroom. I’m giving a community presentation related to the TEDx talk I gave last July. Then the next month I’m dressing as Susan B. Anthony and channeling her spirit for a presentation for a local Rotary Club.

Over the summer I developed a self-contained course for an online platform called Udemy. I offered it for free until I had over 1000 students. Then I started charging a small amount. When I get another break from teaching, I’ll develop a course on vision mapping. These courses do not require any active teaching. I periodically add information, but they are basically a source of passive income and also allow me to continue building a consistent reputation. So far, my course ratings have been 5/5 stars.

Consistent with the other work I am developing, I’ve partnered with a colleague and friend to conduct workshops that link visual journaling and art to vision mapping. Last month this same friend and I gave a keynote based on our workshops.

I am limited as to how much I can do and when I can do it since my first priority until I retire is my teaching. Nonetheless, I find bits of time here and there to slowly make my transition into my new life. I am feeling more confident about my new best life.

How about you? What are your future dreams? How are you making them a reality?


I am an associate professor of communication in Southern Oregon. I'm also an ancient spirit who has learned how to create positive changes in my own life and use unexpected changes to become more of the person I believe I am meant to be. My vision is to help empower others by sharing how to dream big and develop measurable action steps to achieve those dreams.

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