4. Sales representative
The nitty-gritty: Marketing and sales are the heartbeat of a small business. But as the company expands, it's tricky. If the owner's time is spread too thin, he or she has trouble devoting enough time to continually pump up new business and follow up on leads. An energetic and skilled salesperson adept at cold-calling, networking for new clients and keeping existing accounts happy can keep things rolling while the owner focuses on big-picture strategies. This can be grueling work if you're thin-skinned, especially when it comes to cold calling. So slip on your persuasive shoes and polish up your confidence and composure. It's meet and greet time.
Median pay: $27.22 per hour base. Many positions are structured with base pay plus commission.
Qualifications: Business owners look for candidates who know their market, have experience in their industry and have established relationships and contacts. Experience with "customer relationship management" software such as Salesforce.com may help. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many people in this occupation have either the certified professional manufacturers representative (CPMR) certification or the certified sales professional (CSP) certification, both offered by the Manufacturers' Representatives Education Research Foundation. Obtaining these credentials typically involves completing formal technical training and passing an exam.
See also: 5 great jobs you can do from home.
5. Web strategist
The nitty-gritty: A website is the public face of a firm and a prime marketing tool for most businesses these days. Potential customers want to be able to find a company on the Web and conduct business online - without ever picking up a phone. A savvy small-business operator will want to bring on board an expert who can pinpoint the best ways to leverage the Web and social media to grow the business. That's where you come in. You may be hired to do one piece of a plan, but many start-ups need someone who can do it all. You may be a techie and create applications like a retail checkout tool or write software code. Your creative side may be called on to design the layout of the website and incorporate audio, graphics and video. The job might entail monitoring website traffic, answering comments, updating content and fixing broken links.
Median pay: $36.37 per hour. The range can be $35 to $80 per hour for Web designers and developers, depending on technical skills. Social media and Web content pros can command $25 to $40 per hour.
Kerry Hannon, AARP's jobs expert, is a career transition expert and an award-winning author. Her latest book is Great Jobs for Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy…and Pays the Bills.
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