Are you thinking about starting a business after 50? If you’ve never done such a thing it can be a mighty scary thought.
There are many aspects of starting a business at 50 or at 60 that need to be preplanned and thought out. Usually, there is some type of monetary investment involved, although with some small business ventures it is minimal. You might need to be licensed, register with your local government agency, etc. Lots of things to check off the list.
As a woman in your 50’s, you may have enjoyed a long career with a company that wasn’t the perfect job, but it offered a consistent income, possibly benefits (maybe some really good benefits) and other perks that go along with working for someone else. So the thought of being ‘out there on your own’ could be sort of terrifying. But it’s also exciting, isn’t it? Joining the ranks of the ‘over 50 entrepreneurs club’ would be pretty cool.
I know. I started a small interior decorating business at the age of 50 when my husband and I moved full time from Michigan to Florida…here is my story.
My Experience Starting a Business as a Woman Over 50
I’ve always been the type of person who was willing to take a risk. Well, a calculated risk anyway.
On the one hand, I stayed with one company for 20 years and worked my way up the ladder from entry-level to Vice President. It was a good career, I learned a lot and was able to work close to home, earn a good wage and enjoy the typical medium-sized company benefits.
It was a long time to remain with one organization, and the decision to leave that company spurred me on to do some things that I would not have dreamed possible. So leaving was the best decision for me, even though it was terrifying.
I experienced working at a small design shop in town, then helped start a new bank (that was a fascinating thing to do!), then partnered with my husband to start a residential building company. All of these experiences, the ups, the down, the good and the not so good, helped prepare me for taking that leap of faith and starting my own small business in 2007.
When I made the decision to start Simply Designed…decorating to fit your budget! I was working full time in an administrative position (hated every minute of it but it was financially necessary at that time in our lives), didn’t have any money to invest or to lose, and our lives had basically been turned upside down with the economic downturn. We lost everything.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know that you don’t have to, and don’t want to, wait until everything is perfect in your life before you start on a new business venture. If you wait for that perfect time, you’ll never do it.
My friend, if you are thinking of starting a business as a woman over 50, I say go for it! Be smart, about what you do, but don’t hold back at this time in your life.
Start Small and Grow…or Not!
Starting your own business after 50 isn’t necessarily simple or easy, and in fact, it’s neither for most women. As they say, if it were easy everyone would do it!
But here is the beauty of starting, and owning, your own business. YOU’RE THE BOSS! Yep, the buck stops with you, Babe. And, as I said before, it’s exciting and terrifying at the same time!
When I started my interior decorating business I was working full time, so any clients I obtained were handled after hours or on weekend appointments, or when I could schedule time off from my job.
I remember creating a color tri-fold brochure, printing it off of our home printer, and sending it out as a mailer to neighborhoods I had selected as potential clients. And guess what? That’s how I got my first client!
I was so new to the Fort Myers area that my client had to tell me where to find some of the stores he had been looking at for his project. So I found my way around, completed the project and it turned out really well.
Online marketing also became part of my advertising plan and over the years my website has gained substantial local influence in my niche of interior decorating and home staging.
My business stayed rather small for several years as I worked another job and my husband grew his business in Florida. Finally in the fall of 2013 I was able to stop working for others and devote all of my time to my own business! Yay!
Discover Your Passion
So enough about me…let’s talk about you…what you are pondering, how to hone in on the niche that will be best for you and your lifestyle.
You will be much happier, fulfilled and probably more profitable if you can discover your passion or passions, and from there determine how it relates to a business that other people will want. Whether it’s goods or services, you have to offer something of value that other people want and are willing to pay for.
You don’t have to recreate the wheel, you know. If you love to look beautiful and put on makeup, take care of your skin, for example, maybe you want to become an independent rep for an online or local skincare or beauty product company.
I was in my 40’s when I discovered that interior decorating was what I loved to do. I’d always been creative, but it was at this time in my life that I narrowed it down to this niche. Home staging came into play in my 50’s and both niches have served me well, providing a six-figure income for the last several years.
It has been a lot of hard work, long hours, stressful times and monetary investment. But it’s mine. I’m the boss. And I love it.
Now, I’m at the point in my life where I am changing directions completely. It’s been 11 years since that first client back in 2007, and at 63 years of age I am switching my focus from a local perspective to a much wider (and much less physically demanding) income opportunity. Is it terrifying? Absolutely!
The business I know well and make a good income with is no longer where I want to spend my energy in life. So I am slowly phasing parts of that business out, keeping the area that is the most versatile and suitable for me at this time.
And, my income opportunities going forward will be based on a much larger, online market.
I am now a midlife blogger, which was a decision I made about six months ago. I love what I do with this blog, and am working on other opportunities to use my interior decorating, home staging, communication and business skills to help others who have a similar passion.
For me, an online focus with a much larger market is where I am headed. Inspire My Style is the first step in the process.
After almost of year of learning, planning and creating, my first online course, a motivational and self development course for women in midlife, is ready for enrollment. I’m excited and nervous at the same time, but I know that I have something to offer and this is a wonderful avenue to share information.
Fast forward almost two years, to June, 2020, and I’ve been able to create a package of personal development materials for women in midlife. It’s challenging, sometimes frightening (will anyone actually BUY what I have to offer??), and very rewarding.
But it all comes down to this, my friend. If you never try, never put yourself out there, you’ll never know if you can do it.
What is the Take Away?
- As a woman over 50, you have something to offer!
- Discover your passion and how it can earn you some income. Do some research for business ideas for over 50 women if you need a jump start.
- Decide whether it will be a local, physical presence, online, or both
- Determine the marketability of your idea – are there potential customers who will pay for what you offer?
- Decide how much money you are willing to invest in your company.
- Set realistic goals – you don’t have to aspire to be a huge company. It might be more like a hobby on steroids 🙂
- Remember to consider your lifestyle, availability, your spouse/partner if applicable, family, travel…all the things that can become part of our lives when we’re women in midlife. All good things for sure, but give them the appropriate thought before plunging into a new business venture.
Owning a business is not for everyone, but if you think it’s for you, then go after that dream. Is it too late to start a business at 50? Of course not! You are never too old to start something new!