Women Over 50 Are Starting Businesses Left and Right. Should You?

*Guest post by Lucy Reed

You’ve spent years in a career that doesn’t fulfill you, and frankly, you’re tired of it! Now that you’re getting older, you’re serious about spending your time in ways that count.

Does that sound like you? You’re not alone: Lots of women over 50 are chasing their entrepreneurial dreams now that they have the time, confidence, and financial capital to do so.

Why Women Over 50 Start Businesses

Some women start businesses out of necessity. Older women who have recently lost a job or who are reentering the workforce find themselves disappointed by job prospects and decide to create their own opportunity. Other women discover they finally have the time and energy for a passion project now that they’re older. And with fewer people depending on them, older women have more freedom to take risks and fully commit to a business.

The Traits of Successful Female Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. You have to be willing to take on financial risk, put yourself out there, and juggle a ton of responsibilities. For some people, it’s a role that comes naturally, while others have perfected the art of faking it until they make it. But if entrepreneurial traits like tenacity, dedication, and risk-taking aren’t in your playbook, business ownership might not be for you.

That doesn’t mean you have to be a cutthroat business woman or a natural salesperson to be a successful entrepreneur. Plenty of over-50 women start businesses in the nonprofit sector or become consultants and solopreneurs. However, whether you’re running a multinational corporation or a one-woman bookkeeping service, you need to be comfortable with marketing yourself and maintaining a public image.

Financial Considerations for Older Entrepreneurs

Starting a business can be a way to grow your income add to your nest egg after 50, but it’s no guarantee. Launching any business is a financial risk, and it’s even more so for women, who are likely to tap personal savings for startup capital. That’s because women entrepreneurs have a harder time than men raising startup capital for business ventures.

While it’s possible to tap retirement savings to start a business, the process is convoluted, and a mistake could lead to hefty IRS penalties. There’s also the risk that your business doesn’t succeed and the loss sets your retirement back years. Before going this route, explore other funding options like Small Business Administration microloans, alternative lenders, or even crowdfunding.  

Steps to Starting a Small Business

There’s a lot of work that has to be done before getting to the fun parts of business ownership, like building a brand and pitching your product or service. If you’re interested in starting a small business, take these steps to get started.

  • Assess the feasibility of your business idea. You have a great idea, but is it a profitable one? It doesn’t matter how much creativity or passion you have if you’re selling something no one wants to buy. Conduct research and surveys to evaluate who your target market is, what their needs are, and how much they’re willing to pay to have those needs met.
  • Obtain licenses and permits. The licenses and permits you need depend on the nature of your business. At minimum, you’ll need to register your business and file for an EIN.
  • Identify key partnerships. Strong networks make strong businesses. Establish relationships with suppliers, retailers, local businesses, and other partners who can help your business grow.
  • Create a marketing plan. Websites, social media, local marketing–today’s entrepreneurs have a lot of opportunities to get their ideas in front of an audience. Before launching campaigns, determine which marketing channels are best for your target audience.

There’s no expiration date on entrepreneurship. Whether you’re 26 or 55, if you have a good idea, you can turn it into a profitable business venture. While starting a business after 40 can feel like a leap of faith, sometimes that leap is just what you need to bring purpose and passion to your life.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”–look before you leap.

*Lucy Reed has been starting businesses since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s drivway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college. She created GigMine.co because she was inspired by the growth of the sharing economy and wanted to make it easier for entrepreneurial individuals like herself to find the gig opportunities in their areas.

Reset and Reinvigorate by Rethinking Your Career in 2019

*Guess post by Eva Benoit

If you’re stuck in a rut, there’s no better time to pull yourself out than now. It’s never too late to make changes that will improve your quality of life. Starting a new career is one of these changes, and it’s a big one that comes with both enthusiastic anticipation and fear for the future. However, you can’t let fear of the unknown get in your way. Keep reading for a few tips on how to cross this fragile ground no matter where life has taken you to this point.

If you are stuck in a rut, there’s no better time to pull yourself out than now. It’s never too late to make changes that will improve your quality of life. Starting a new career is one of these changes, and it’s a big one that comes with both enthusiastic anticipation and fear for the future. However, you can’t let fear of the unknown get in your way. Keep reading for a few tips on how to cross this fragile ground no matter where life has taken you to this point.

Do You Have What It Takes?

What do Oprah Winfrey, Sofia Vergara, and Arianna Huffington have in common? They are all successful female entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to take risks, they’re all tenacious and a little stubborn, and they give of themselves 100 percent of the time. They are adept problem solvers who aren’t happy unless they’re on the move. If this sounds like you in more ways than one, you were undeniably born to be the boss.

You Are Not Alone

Our mothers and grandmothers were expected to stay home, raise babies, and make life better for their men. These social standards weren’t necessarily bad, but considering that women-owned businesses are growing at a rate of more than twice that as standard businesses, it’s safe to say that we got restless. Coupled with an ever-growing need for dual incomes, women-owned businesses, according to American Express, are more prominent than ever, with approximately 39 percent of all US businesses being led by women.

Despite the rise in female entrepreneurship, it’s not always easy. Today, experienced women are offering their guidance to new business owners. Reaching out to a mentor is one of the best ways to access information and receive help navigating the seas of success. Experian touches on mentorship, funding obstacles, and other statistics regarding women in business here.

Like a Boss

Starting your own business isn’t something you do on a whim. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll have to take stock of your skills and define your niche. Have a heart-to-heart with yourself by drafting a business plan and recognizing your strengths and weaknesses. Test the waters by seeking clients via word-of-mouth and working on small projects first. FindLaw.com underscores this point by stating, “By starting small, you ensure that you can survive the inevitable hiccups associated with running a small business.”

Once you get into a groove, you can take steps to nurture and grow your business. This is achieved by being consistent and having the right tools at your disposal to get the job done. If you work from home, for example, you’ll need to set up a well-equipped office space with a comfortable working area and a computer that can keep up with your demands. Further, don’t make the mistake of thinking you know everything; listen to your customers. They will tell you what you’re doing right and what you need to change. As the face of your business, it is your responsibility to hear these voices and to provide services that will add value to your relationship. It can help to take a customer service training course to help you learn how to communicate and respond to both praise and criticism.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been in your current profession. Even if you’re retired, it’s still possible to earn an income doing something you love. It may be a rocky road in the beginning, but with determination and a willingness to adapt to an always-changing market, you can both love and live your passions this and each new year.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. It’s a new year, and time to reset and
reinvigorate your purpose by rethinking and your career.

*Eva Benoit is a professional life, career and wellness coach. She specializes in helping people with anxiety and welcomes working with people from all walks of life.