So where do we start? We start by dismantling the belief that if we just tough it out, things will return to normal. The truth is that we’re not going back. The normal we knew is gone.Elizabeth White, author
Elizabeth White is an author and former nonprofit executive with domestic and international expertise in economic development, aging solutions, and gender equality. At 55, she found herself jobless and broke despite her years of experience and rich education. Because she felt ashamed of having fallen so far, she tried to hide it as much as possible from friends and family. She set out to recover her self-esteem and her financial wellbeing which inspired her to write her book, Fifty-Five Unemployed and Faking Normal.
Take Back Your Power
Life can be filled with change especially when it comes to women 45 and beyond. For many, this is a time when children are very nearly or full grown. There’s an expectation of having more disposable income and time. Unfortunately, it can also bring unpleasant life transitions like divorce or job loss. In these instances, the loss of financial stability can be swift and severe. What women 45 and over sometimes abruptly and rudely discover is that they are considered disposable and invisible.
There is one solution that has the potential to put the power back into your own hands and that is entrepreneurship. While it’s true that there are risks associated with starting your own business at any age, there’s actually good news for women in 45 and older.
David Deeds, the Schulze Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis offers a positive take on this idea in his Forbes article, 7 Tips For Women 50+ Eager To Start A Business. He “believes women over 50 are well suited to starting their own businesses. “First,” he says, “they are willing to learn. Men, as we get older, tend to be set in our ways. Women, in general, are more open to learning and are collaborative. Entrepreneurship is a team sport, and women are good at working with others. That gives them a little advantage.”
The Good News
While the idea of starting a business may feel daunting, there are actually a number of really great reasons it’s a step in the right direction for many women.
6 Best Reasons for Women 45 & Beyond Start a Business
- You Decide: There’s no age discrimination.
- Greater Resilience: Your life experience puts you at an advantage and you won’t be put off by adversity.
- Higher Succes Rates: Statistics show that businesses started by women 45 and beyond are more successful than those launched by younger entrepreneurs.
- Brain Health: There’s nothing like the mental challenge of learning new skills, creating new relationships, and growing your network to maintain brain agility.
- Enjoy Your Work: Choose something you want to do and get paid to do it.
- Additional Financial Security: You increase your ability to provide for yourself during your later years.
Model Your Plan On Success
It’s important to remember that there are definitely risks that come along with starting your own business. That’s why it’s essential to have a plan that’s modeled on success. Read the success stories of women who’ve already done it. Spend time understanding who your customer would be and how you can help them.
Step 1) Identify who your potential customer is and what their most urgent problem is
Every business relies on providing an answer to someone else’s problem.The greater the need, the greater the likelihood of your success. Learn about your potential customer and see their world through their eyes. Get familiar with the words they use to describe themselves and what it is they most want.
Step 2) Define the solution you’ll provide based on your skills, talents, experience, and education
Take a thorough inventory of everything you bring the table and connect the dots to show how you can be a uniquely qualified, highly valued solution provider to your new customers. The more clarity you have about why you’re the best choice for your customers, the more effective you’ll be in delivering your solution.
Step 3) Get to know their ecosystem-where they live, work, and play
When you understand the influences in your customer’s life, you’ll have a greater ability to provide an effective solution that feels good to them. You’ll also be more successful in connecting with them. Like any relationship, getting to know someone takes time and forms the basis for a solid and lasting connection.