Tips for changing your career in later life

Launching The Urban Botanist and becoming my own boss four years ago was a very spontaneous career move, but I don’t regret a thing.

I had travelled to Canada to visit family following the breakdown of my marriage and fell in love with a terrarium hanging in my aunt’s house. I hadn’t seen anything like it before and frantically started researching them online. I thought there was huge potential to bring these products to the UK and Europe, and immediately thought of the brand name and secured the website domain within a day.

Before taking a career break to raise my two children, I had worked in the pharmaceuticals industry then moved into aviation – and I quickly learned that running my own business would be very different to the roles I had previously taken on. My approach to changing my career in later life was far from conventional, but here are some of the things I’ve learned along the way.

Embrace the change

It can be a struggle to ‘let go’ of the old version of your professional self but it’s really important to adapt to your new working environment, especially if you’re launching your own business. It’s natural to implement strategies, processes or approaches that you became accustomed to and comfortable with in previous roles, but to be successful on your new career path, you should fully embrace the change and try as hard as possible to start with a clean slate.

Switch off

Many people struggle with switching off from work, but a career change provides the perfect opportunity to establish positive new habits. As a society, we spend so much more time online and so it’s increasingly important to take a digital detox. Switching off is especially hard if you work for yourself, as you are the person who is ultimately accountable, but dedicating some time each day to spend with your family or friends and not talk about work will serve you well in the long term.

Be fearless and flexible

Embarking on a new career in later life is understandably nerve wracking, and you will undoubtedly face hurdles, but don’t let fear hold you back. One of the biggest challenges for me, similar to many working parents, was balancing work with childcare. But I found a way around this by getting my kids involved with what I do; they come to the warehouse with me to help out and they have even designed our kids’ range of terrariums. It was just a matter of taking a step back and being flexible that enabled me to find a solution.

About the author

Lucy Serafi is the founder and managing director of The Urban Botanist, a company that manufactures and supplies a stunning range of terrariums and living art to bring any space to life. Lucy previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry, then aviation, before setting up her own company in 2014. 

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