Old Skills for New Opportunities

Have you heard the old saying “Can’t see the wood for the trees”? It was one my mother used when my father, my brother and I could not see or realise something that was obvious to her.

unseen opportunities

unseen opportunities

Four examples of finding opportunities in unusual places came to my attention in the last few days. Real examples of finding not just wood, but real gems hidden in the trees.

Right now there is huge concern about the loss of the “old” working model of lifelong steady employment with one or a few employers. Finally the expectation a pension at the end to provide for a graceful slow down through the golden years until the end.

That era is fast disappearing, has already for many.

There is also – certainly for most of us over 45 –  a concern at the loss of face-to-face communication skills and the ability to write with a pen. Other casualties of the addiction to small electronic screens are hobbies requiring a degree of manual skill – knitting & crocheting for women, art for both genders.

Add the intolerance displayed in social media, and we have all the ingredients for rearing generations of depressed, narrow-minded people lacking basic communication and life skills.

This article The Coddling Of The American Mind in The Atlantic explains that topic far better than I can.

But I have noticed a few things this week that give me hope. People seizing opportunities, building on old skills to capture new business.

New opportunities from old skills

In a conversation after church last Sunday, Zentangling was mentioned, intrigued, I asked what it meant. It’s a more interesting term for doodling with a pen or pencil on paper. Zen tangling is a much more structured and purposeful art form than the mindless doodling many of us did while on the phone before the days of computer games and email.

There are books on Zentangling, workshops and webinars. A whole new industry full of opportunities for those who can connect the old skills of drawing with pencils to on-line marketing.

The conversation moved on to “Adult Colouring”. The word Adult before an activity or service raises warning bells and I must confess to a brief period of wonder at the term.

Adult Colouring is as innocent a term as Adult Education. It is a version of another art form which kept generations of young children occupied on rainy days and long car journeys before the invention of the small electronic screen. Colouring books and crayons.

new opportunities

Old Hobbies new opportunities

The Adult description refers to the complexity of the designs to be coloured in, not the suitability of the subject matter for all ages.

There are Adult Colouring books, organised groups of Adult Colouring fans. An old hobby revived, another range of opportunities for leveraging old skills and hobbies with new media marketing.

I have noticed many more women knitting and crocheting recently, skills I thought unknown to any one under 60. There are apparently knitting groups for men. New craft shops for wool, yarn, patterns and other materials, brick and mortar and online are thriving.

It is not only old hobbies, skills and crafts that are providing new opportunities when combined with the on-line world.

I recently met someone who has set a brilliant example of finding opportunities in a highly specialised market. An example of following her passion to start her own business and leave the corporate world. Debbie Wojcik is one of the largest of only four commercially successful suppliers of Rosary Making Supplies in North America. Visit her website AveMariasCircle.com to see the huge range of supplies she provides from her on-line store.

Debbie started her business when the Internet was still a novelty for most people. She had to find sales the hard way by actually talking to customers, accepting cheques and packing parcels herself.

There you have four examples of business opportunities which combine the resurrection of old skills with the magic of the on-line world.

What skills that you abandoned years ago could give you opportunities for a business or new ways to enjoy life more?

Leave a comment.

Forest photo courtesy Phaitoon / freedigitalphotos.net

Boy colouring photo by Tuomus_Lehtinen /free digitalphoto.net

Note links to books on amazon are affiliate links.

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  4 comments for “Old Skills for New Opportunities

  1. August 15, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Great post, Peter,
    I agree with the premise ther are so many opportunities today for so many to apply action and create successful enterprises based on avocation and/or hobbies.
    Our Talk Show has interveiwed many and surprisingly most wer over the age of 50 when they launced their FUN voyages to Abundance!

  2. August 16, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Agree with Chuck.

    I also think it is wonderful that so many folks my age (69) just use a computer and post on both Twitter and FB. Many like me have blogs too.

    I think ‘older” people have a better perspective on computers. We are not on it all day 24/7. We have a bit of perspective of balance in life.

    • August 17, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Agree again Roberta and Peter, especially regarding the ‘experienced citizen’.
      My mother found cyber space in her eighties. Was able to connect and chat with her ‘maid of honor’ and she enjoyed an hour of bridge with a diverse global group and they became freinds.
      That was a true Success!

  3. Peter
    August 18, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Thanks for your comments Chuck and Roberta. What is interesting is that many of those “discovering” the old hobbies, crafts and skills like, colouring, drawing, knitting and crocheting are from the younger generations of under 40 s & 30s.

    The very age groups who grew up with computers, video games and little electronic screens.

    Are we seeing the same balance and perspective Roberta refers to, emerging?

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