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10 Epic Reasons You Should Start a Business in Your 40s

Start a Business in Your 40s

One evening a close friend and I were enjoying margaritas. We talked about how at midlife, we feel like we’re not doing what we’re truly meant to do. We
still have a lot left to contribute to society. My friend has a couple of decades of experience building successful business partnerships and I have about the same amount of experience developing compelling content and marketing
programs.

Then a light bulb went off. We wondered if other women in their
late 40s, early 50s, felt the same way. After talking with a lot of our
colleagues and friends, they also agreed they feel like there’s something
else they should be doing.

And I’m proud to say that at 50-something, we’ve launched our baby, Bon
Faire. We help women over 40 use the skills they’ve accumulated either at a job or raising a family to take the leap into something new: taking an idea or passion and turning it into a business with the intent of doing good for society.

Some of our family and friends think we’re crazy. Why the heck would we
want to do start a business at our age? It’s hard work. There’s no guarantee.
What if we fail? We’re doing it for all those reasons because we’re not done…
we’re just getting started. We have valuable insights and wisdom to share,
and there are a lot of women who need our help. There’s no better time to start a business in your 40s or 50s…especially with the state of the world the way it is today.

What if every woman at this stage of life tapped into her power to do good? What if these ladies used their skills, experience, and know-how to launch a business with a social purpose in mind? Wouldn’t that be exactly what the world needs now?

If you’ve had an idea that’s been vying for your attention, here are 10 reasons why you should take action and start a business in your 40s or 50s:

1. You Have Life Experience

The mere fact that you’ve been on this planet for 40+ years means you’ve
experienced a lot in life. Just because you aren’t a billionaire or
have an alphabet soup of credentials following your name doesn’t
mean that you don’t have something of value to share with the world.
Because you do.

2. You’ve Already Done Hard Things

Whether you’ve been at a job for the past 25+ years or you’ve been
raising a family, you’ve learned how to navigate through the pitfalls
and trials that life throws your way. It’s a challenge to start a business in your 40s or 50s but we’re pretty sure you’ve made it through some tough times in your life.
This kind of character and tenacity is exactly what you need to make a
company work.

3. You Know a Lot of People

If you sat down and wrote a list of all the people you know, you’d be shocked at how long that list would be. These people are your network, which will be critical for you to leverage as you get started. Don’t be afraid to tap into this network because somewhere down the line, you’ll be able to help them too. Business is successful when people help each other.

4. You Know What You Want—and What You Don’t 

A key to success in business is clarity and focus. When you’re tuned into what you want, and what you don’t, you won’t be spreading yourself too thin by saying “yes” to everything you think will help you reach your goals. You’ll know what is right for you because you’ve “been there, done that” and likely don’t want to go through it again.

5. You’ve Failed Before

By the time you’ve reached your late 40s, you’ve made some mistakes. You’ve learned some hard-won lessons. And you also know you can’t stop. The willingness to try and fail is a critical characteristic you’ll need as an entrepreneur, but you’ve got that covered because you’ve been doing it your whole life.

6. You’ve Got More Money Now

To start a business in your 40s or 50s, you’ll need some capital. Luckily, you won’t need much if you start an online venture. You’re in a better place financially now since you’re likely not juggling the cost of starting a company with other major life investments like repaying student loans, buying a home or raising kids, though you may have some in college.

7. You Don’t Care What Other People Think 

This is probably the most liberating part of midlife: you don’t give a rat’s patootie what other people think of you. This freedom gives you the courage to take your passion and turn it into profit…even if that passion is painting ceramic frogs. When you were younger, you’d worry about what your parents or friends would say but now you simply don’t care, you’re ready to take the leap.

8. You Know How to Take Responsibility

You may have had to care for children, a friend, family members, or yourself. You know what you have to do to pay the bills so you’re not averse to doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Taking responsibility and ownership will be an important skill you’ll need to ensure success.

9. Your Options Are Limitless 

Because of your network, knowledge, experience, and skills, you can start any kind of business you want. This is more challenging when you’re younger because you haven’t earned a lot of money, developed a set up transferable skills, or experience. At this stage of your life, you have more options on the path to entrepreneurship. You can start from where you are now and move forward freely.

Related Reading: 5 Innovative Franchises Under 100K

10. Your Time is Limited 

This is a good thing, especially if you procrastinate or are easily distracted by that shiny new object. You no longer have the luxury of the “someday syndrome.” Your time on this Earth is more limited than it was 20 years ago. You have an idea, a passion, a purpose and it’s just waiting to happen. All you need to do is take that first step.

Maybe we’re crazy. But we think you’re crazy if you allow society to tell you what midlife should look like, and if you believe that since you’re over a certain age you’re just supposed to sit back and fade away. You’ve got skills and value to contribute. And there’s still work to be done. Now, let’s get to it! Visit Bon Faire and take our quiz to see what kind of Bon Faire woman you are.

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5 Innovative Franchises Under 100K

franchises under 100k

I work with women every day who are dying to get out of their 9 to 5 straight jacket. They frequently say they have always wanted to own a business, but the time was never right… until now. The time is often right because a woman’s asset base is now large enough to give a bit of cushion, but sometimes it’s due to a layoff or she feels the universe is giving her a nudge.

Unfortunately for a woman in this situation, the investment parameter is usually tight. The most she could come up with (either out of pocket or with me helping her get a little SBA express loan) is under $200,000. No startup business is so magical that when you open your doors the cash and profits just flow. Having 200K in available capital means the total cost to launch should be well under $150,000. And ideally under $100,000 because – surprise – there are bumps in the road and marketing costs to consider.

And at that investment level, (franchises under 100k) you are priced out of trendy brick and mortar stores where you envision yourself as the hostess having fun every day. Plus, that’s a delusion. No business is fun every day.

Simply put, at this price point your options are home-based businesses with no inventory or service businesses. You will be starting out in your home office offering some sort of service to entrepreneurs or homeowners. That is what is commonly referred to as ‘B to B’ or ‘B to C’ (business to business or business to consumer).

B to Bs generally require you to get out there and do business development – that’s code for networking your rear off and/or making cold calls or scheduling appointments. B to C means you are dealing with the public who can be picky. But those businesses can be advertising driven – i.e. you throw your money into marketing campaigns and, hopefully, your phone rings with potential customers.

So, with that in mind, here are a few franchises under 100k that I think are great and maybe even fun to operate:

#1 Just Between Friends

This one gets the award for lowest investment with a franchise fee of just $17,900 and a technology fee of $1,500. Just between friends is a ‘pop-up’ consignment business. You will put on large (and I do mean large – like you need to find a space with at least 10,000 Sq Ft to stage your events) consignment sales two or three times a year. You won’t make enough income to replace your salary – but you can bring in some serious spending money with what is essentially 2 months of work a year.  Learn more about this opportunity here.

franchises under 100k

#2 Spaulding Decon

Okay, admittedly this is not for everyone. As an owner of a Spaulding Decon franchise, you are offering meth lab, crime scene, and hoarding cleanup services. Some people think that’s sexy, ok? You’ll own a tremendously profitable business and as a bonus, you’ll hire EMT’s and firefighters to be your contract workers. Who wouldn’t want to work in with a bunch of physically fit guys and gals wanting to make extra money?

This type of company is a good fit for public speakers, networkers, and workers who have empathy. You will be in close contact with families on the worst days of their lives. But you will be providing a needed and valuable service to your community.

#3 Senior Placement Referral Businesses

Referral companies offer a free service to families who have an elder or disabled person who needs more assistance and are no longer capable of staying in their home. You’ll be providing value and getting paid nice commissions by the network of assisted living facilities that you refer.

Like a realtor, you’ll learn the client’s needs and budget, go into your database and generate a report with two or three local providers that are good matches. Then you’ll tour the facilities – and the client picks one. Once they have signed up the facility pays you a hefty fee.  This industry entails plenty of networking and calling on the referral sources. Who are, for the most part, happy to learn about what you can provide.

#4 Patrice and Associates (Recruiting with a Niche)

Patrice and Associates is the nation’s largest and oldest hospitality recruiting firm. Talk to any restaurant or hotel chain of size and chances are they already use their services.  As an owner, you can start at home and hire one recruiter to come with you to training sessions. These businesses can scale easily by hiring more recruiters and opening an office. You are recruiting management positions and calling on your local large restaurants, hotels, and casinos to land their placement business.

You will also interview and maintain resumes of folks wanting to move up the career ladder. This can be very profitable if you are willing to be on the phone for as much as eight hours per day. We’re talking headsets on and dialing for dollars.

#5 Challenge Island

This is one of the only franchises under 100k offering after-school enrichment programs that are on the cutting edge of S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). Challenge Island’s proprietary curriculum has earned countless accolades from schools, teachers, and parents.

You will hire teachers who are looking for extra pay to lead your classes. Many owners do not lead a class of their own. To provide additional revenue streams you can offer to hold birthday parties, summer camps, and girl scouts events through a national partnership the company has with the Girl Scouts of America. This is a fun business and you can achieve a great return in short order. The investment is low and the profit margins are high with little to no inventory or overhead.

Related Reading: It’s Never Too Late for a Startup

There are many other franchises under 100k to consider. Make sure to fully explore the alternatives with an expert, like me, to identify the right one that will incorporate your interests and transferable skills.

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It’s Never Too Late for a Startup!

Never too late for a startup

Let Your Entrepreneurial Spirit Flourish

One of the most exciting things about the world of entrepreneurship is that initiatives are not bound by a retirement age. Business owners are often stereotypically seen as young twenty-somethings straight out of college (or dropouts in some cases), however, the spirit of entrepreneurship should not be limited by this perception. It can be argued that late-life entrepreneurship might be better than starting early since individuals can learn from their work and life experiences to make much more innovative and critical decisions of problem-solving.

So whether you want to start your own brand management or compete with marketing companies, know that it is never too late for a startup and here’s why:

1. Aspirations Do Not Have an Expiration Date

Shun the traditional ageist view that only the young can have aspirations of their own. The bottom line is that hopes, dreams, and aspirations do not expire and you should not let societal expectations hold you back.

Entrepreneurship provides you with an opportunity to give back something of value to your next generations – be a role model for your children and grandchildren. Contribute as much as you can while you can! Moreover, startups at later age also allow you to act as a mentor for the young people you will involve in your initiative, a chance to train those who will respect you for your wisdom and experience.

2. There Are Examples of Midlife Success

You are never too old to seek a new venture and the following people are prime examples of this statement. From the exemplary founders of Starbucks and McDonalds who were both in their 50s to Harland Sanders who founded KFC when he was 62 and Charles Flint who started IBM when he was 61. There are countless examples of success stories; people who did not let their age hold them back and polished their ideas to successfully launch businesses.

startup

3. In Today’s Era, There Are Endless Opportunities

Technology has penetrated the traditional framework behind startups in such a way that it is now easier than ever to take an initiative with a solid business idea. In today’s business environment, there are a variety of ways to enter the realm of entrepreneurship as long as you are taking up a relevant challenge and giving solutions for the needs of your consumers.

There are a plethora of options available for your startup venture, aided by the increasing involvement of digital technologies. The virtual world is inextricably linked to the business world and has emphatically altered the way we used to view entrepreneurship by reducing the bounds of time and space as well as organizational agility.

Things can be done, plans can be made and implementations can be carried out, all from the comfort of your home now. This can be even more effective if you plan to initiate an online business. The opportunities are truly endless.

Related Reading: How to Care for Yourself While Running a Startup

You can take it easy and enjoy a more leisurely routine. But if you envision something different for yourself as you enter midlife and beyond, know that the only thing holding you back is your will. All that is required is for you to have a clear vision of what you want to do and combined with initiative, it can take you a long way toward your own successful startup business!

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5 Steps to Avoid a Professional Midlife Meltdown

midlife meltdown

From time to time, we all experience feelings of boredom, dissatisfaction or even exasperation in our jobs.  Most of us muddle through, knowing these feelings ebb and flow, as they often do throughout a long career.  But what should you do if those feelings persist and grow stronger with each passing week?  When you are longing for change and beginning to resent work, you might be on the road to a professional midlife meltdown.  In other words, you’re approaching career burnout.

You realize it’s important to be careful in this situation. You’ve probably known people who faced a similar dilemma and took leave, not only of their senses but their jobs as well.  These restless souls decided suddenly to resign and jump without looking.  Gutsy and a bit foolish, yes?  But that’s not you.  At least you don’t want it to be.

Well, what can you do to keep from going through this type of crisis? Let’s break it down. There are five steps you can take to avoid a midlife meltdown, thus saving your career, relationships, and mental state.

#1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

As the old saying goes, “Perception is reality.” You don’t need anyone else to validate your emotions or tell you that you’re wrong.  There’s a reason for your angst or malcontent, even if you haven’t discovered what it is yet.  Let the feelings flow, and you may discover the cause of or solution to your problem.

midlife meltdown

#2. Add a Few Minutes of Mindfulness to Your Routine

Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique used by successful professionals to avoid stress, negativity, and frustration.  When you focus awareness on the present, it becomes impossible to dwell on the regrets of your past or the worries of your future.  Meditation, yoga, and relaxation exercises are all popular forms of mindfulness.  Consider adding one or more of these activities to your daily regimen to stave off a midlife meltdown.

#3. Determine if the Situation is Temporary or Not

Once you have accepted and pondered the situation for a while, consider whether it’s a temporary irritation or one that’s bound to continue.  How long are you willing to tolerate the current state of affairs?  If your job is unbearable or you dread Monday mornings, it might be time to make a plan or take action and make positive changes.

#4. Investigate a Different Career 

Do you daydream starting a more fulfilling career?  If so, check out this epic list of potential jobs and resources: 11 Midlife Career Change Ideas that Don’t Suck.  These positions take less than two years of education and pay a starting salary of 40k – 76K.  You may discover a more satisfying professional life is not out of reach.

#5. Plan to Become the Entrepreneur You’ve Always Wanted to Be

If, however, you long to start a side-hustle or become a full-time entrepreneur, you will need to do some investigation and devise a plan.  Do you know what type startups to consider?  If so, have you researched your competition?  How much money can you get your hands on to fund a potential business?  How long can you afford to go without a steady income?

All are critical questions to answer before leaving your current position.  Check out this basic guide from the Small Business Administration to help you start a business plan.  While some people don’t think a structured plan is critical to success, I firmly believe even a shortened version can save you thousands of dollars and countless headaches throughout the first few years of your startup.

Following these five steps regarding your career can help you steer clear of a midlife meltdown.  You can have a satisfying professional life again.  But it will take patience, research, and commitment.  Let’s face it, anything worthwhile does!

Remember, life is better when we lift each other up.

 

 

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5 Hottest Franchise Opportunities for Successful Women

hottest franchise opportunities

In my practice, I work with women who express the desire to have more control and flexibility in their work hours and want to build something for themselves. I hear it over and over again, and it’s some iteration of this: “I work hard. If I’m going to continue to work my butt off, I want it to benefit my bottom line and not someone else’s.”

In a recent survey conducted by Franchise Business Review, (the leading surveyor on franchisee satisfaction) 90% of female franchisees surveyed said they enjoy operating their business. So, here are 5 of the hottest franchise opportunities for you to consider that cover the spectrum of industries and investment ranges:

1. Blo Blow Dry Bar

Blo is North America’s original blow dry bar. They launched the original ‘no cuts, no color’ concept. Their distinctive hot pink branding and cute slogans like “you’re not cheating on your hairdresser” and “so you say you want a blo?” attracts rabid fans. This is a hot beauty category that continues to attract customers with convenient and affordable blowouts. Additional revenue streams are provided by makeup and some other retail offerings.

The investment range is reasonable at around $300K “all in” for one location. It’s easily scaled, and as you add locations to your budding empire, you will begin to work less and oversee the managers. A super fun business to run if you don’t mind a staff of young artists.

2. Huntington Learning Centers

With a 40-year track record, Huntington knows what works. This tutoring center offers test preparation and subject tutoring.  The company boasts that utilizing their system, students improve over two grade levels in reading and math in just three months and an average of four ACT points or one hundred ninety SAT points.

The centers are accredited by the same organizations that accredit local schools, a recognition of excellence that few other tutoring companies earn. With a claim that their centers earn 63% more than their next closest competitor, this is an obvious must-see for anyone interested in giving back to their community and helping students achieve. The overall investment range is $125K to $225K, depending on your location and buildout.

 3. Just Between Friends

This is the dominant brand in the rapidly growing consignment sales event industry and the leading pop-up consignment sales event franchise in North America.

Franchise owners collect sellable items from consignors and hold at least two large (VERY large – like 20K square feet large!) consignment events a year. People seeking bargains purchase the items, and the owner makes a percentage of every item sold.  It’s a great win for all parties involved. Consignors can earn money back on unused baby clothes and gear, maternity items, and kid’s clothes in great condition, as well as children’s toys and games.

Investment in a Just Between Friends franchise starts at $14,900, making it very affordable. Franchisees hold a minimum of two events a year, which makes for an easy-to-manage, flexible business. It is excellent for anyone looking for supplemental income, and a good choice for the stay-at-home parents who want to generate more money – or even someone currently working and looking for a way to own his/her own company. This is a more or less ‘part-time work for supplemental income’ type of business.

4. Oasis Senior Advisors

Oasis Senior Advisors provides a free resource to seniors and their families to help them find senior living communities, whether that be an assisted living, memory care, or independent living community. The communities pay a referral fee (to the franchisee) that is typically 70%-75% of a community’s monthly bed fee.

Oasis franchisees focus on the model’s three simple components: Build an inventory of communities, then develop referral partners (social workers, hospital discharge nurses, geriatric professionals), and help families. This is a business you run from home, typically by yourself with no employees to start.  You are helping seniors and their families by providing an extremely valuable service during a time of extreme stress in their lives.

With a low investment of just $60-$80K, it’s one of the hottest franchise opportunities for someone wanting to work from home with no employees. I recently profiled a successful owner in my “She Owns It” series. You can find Connie’s story here.

5. Showhomes

Showhomes is America’s largest home staging provider with a unique five streams of revenue approach. It’s not your mother’s staging business anymore! Showhomes began in 1986 with the concept of transforming unappealing, vacant houses into fully-furnished, inviting, valued Showhomes. Now in their third decade of service to homeowners and their realtors, they’ve become America’s premier home staging service coast-to-coast.

Every major national media outlet in the U.S. has praised the work of Showhomes, and the company’s work has also been featured on The Today Show, HGTV, and the Travel Channel.

Related Reading: How to Write an Elevator Speech That Rocks

With an “all in” investment under $80K, this work from home model appeals to anyone who loves homes, looking at homes and improving the appearance of homes. You are required to have at least one employee to attend training as one of you will be sales and the other admin. You should also be prepared to network with realtors and home builders in your area. The homes you service will be the very cream of the crop in your market (the top 20%).

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Midlife Reinvention; Is It Time For a Professional Pivot?

midlife reinvention

Imagine, if you will, you have about ten years remaining on this Earth.  It could actually be a few months more or less.  The point is, you know with absolute certainty you have approximately a decade to look forward to before you pass on.

This leaves too much time and not enough money to indulgently submit your two-week notice or cash out and sell your business.  Although, the thought of retiring and traveling the world crosses your mind more than once.  Alas, there are bills to pay and family members to feed.

The situation is distressing.  You always assumed you would have ample opportunity to begin a midlife reinvention when it felt right.  But you don’t have the luxury of time anymore.  The inevitable truth sinks in and tears fall as you grieve.  Eventually, you accept your destiny and your focus narrows on quality rather than quantity.  Serious decisions about how to spend the balance of your life need to be made.

Will you:

  • find a more satisfying job in your current field?

  • go back to school for a new career in a different industry?

  • switch to a part-time position and spend more time with family?

  • sign up for more volunteer or charity work?

  • start the business you have always dreamed about?

  • revamp your existing business to better reflect your interests and values?

  • stop working with difficult clients or stop taking on impossible assignments?

Clarity comes quickly to those on a deadline.  You discover making these life-altering choices is both terrifying and liberating.  The constraints that held you in unsatisfying situations seem to loosen and fall away.  You are suddenly less willing to tolerate toxic people and negative environments.  “Life is too short,” you tell yourself.

Alright, time to come back to reality.  The truth is, you probably have more than ten years to live.  You likely have plenty of time to plan and implement a midlife reinvention, should you want to.  However, think deeply about how you will spend your remaining days no matter what your age.  Not to be morose, but they ARE numbered.  Nobody knows when they have reached the half way point.

Related reading: 11 Midlife Career Change Ideas that Don’t Suck

Acknowledging this, what profound changes do you want to make in your professional life?  Are you ready to make a plan and take the first step?  Tell me about your career goals in the comment section below.  Putting your ambitions in writing might help get the ball rolling.  Remember, you are the author of your own story.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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17 Powerful Quotes from Pioneering Businesswomen

Sometimes it requires great effort to stay motivated in your career.  Experiencing frustration or discouragement is a common occurrence in the lives of most professional women.  The path to success is fraught with obstacles like unconscious bias, sexism, racism, and ageism.  It’s no wonder we feel deflated or defeated from time to time.  It’s at those moments that we need to hear powerful quotes from pioneering businesswomen like:

 

1. Barbara Walters – Journalist, author, and the first female co-anchor of a network evening news show, ABC Evening News

“I was the kind nobody thought could make it.  I had a funny Boston accent.  I couldn’t pronounce my R’s.  I wasn’t a beauty.”

2. Madame Curie – Physicist, chemist, and first woman to win a Nobel Prize

“I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, of how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career.  Well, it has not been easy.”

3. Joan Rivers – Comedienne and first woman to host a late-night television network talk show, The Late Show with Joan Rivers

“I succeeded by saying what everyone else was thinking.”

4. Annie Oakley – Sharpshooter and renowned international star

“Keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect.  Finally, you’ll hit the bull’s-eye of success.”

5. Ursula Burns – First black-American woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Xerox

“I’m an advocate for change and eager to break a little glass when needed.”

 

6. Agatha Christie – Author and Guinness World Records holder as best-selling novelist of all time

“As life goes on, it becomes tiring to keep up the character you invented for yourself, and so you relapse into individuality and become more like yourself every day.”

 7. Jennifer Lopez – Actress, singer, and first woman to have the number one film and album in the same week

“Things don’t always turn out exactly the way you want them to be and you feel disappointed.  You are not always going to be the winner.  That’s when you have to stop and figure out why things happened the way they did and what you can do to change them.”

8. Lucille Ball – Comedic actress and first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu Productions

“I’m not funny.  What I am is brave.”

 9. Indra Nooyi – CEO of PepsiCo and consistently ranked as one of the most powerful women in the world

“At the end of the day, don’t forget you’re a person, don’t forget you’re a mother, don’t forget you’re a wife, don’t forget you’re a daughter.”

 10. Julia Child – Award-winning chef, author, and television personality

“I think you have to decide who your audience is. If you don’t pick your audience, you’re lost because you’re not really talking to anybody.”

Related Reading: Why a Physical Attractiveness Stereotype Crushes Opportunities

11. Vera Wang – Fashion designer and business mogul

“Don’t be afraid to take time to learn.  It’s good to work for other people.  I worked for others for twenty years.  They paid me to learn.”

12. Nellie Bly – Trailblazing investigative journalist

“Accept praise for its worth – politeness.  Be brutally frank with yourself.  It’s safer.”

 13. Aretha Franklin – singer, songwriter, first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

“We all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white.”

 14. Mary Kay Ash – Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics and award-winning businesswoman

“Every achievement, big or small, begins in your mind.”

 15. Sara Blakely – Founder of Spanx and billionaire businesswoman

“I think my story says that, when women are given the chance and the opportunity, that we can achieve a lot. We deliver.”

16. Amelia Earhart – Aviation pioneer, author, and first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.”

 

 17. Estee Lauder – Co-founder of Estee Lauder Companies and the only woman on Time magazine’s 1998 list of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century

“When I thought I couldn’t go on, I forced myself to keep going.  My success is based on persistence, not luck.”

 

So, did you think those were powerful quotes?  Do you feel empowered?  If not, tell me what words of wisdom or iconic women inspire you and keep you moving forward in your career.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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5 Easy Ways To Boost Your Tech Savviness

Not that long ago, I was contemplating starting my blog.  I was dutifully writing my business plan and taking an in-depth course to make certain it would be a viable business.  Yep, I am organized and disciplined like that.  However, there was this 800-pound gorilla in the room I was ignoring; building and maintaining my website.  Gulp!  My stomach would tighten every time I thought about it.  I looked forward to it as much as a root canal.  At that point, I would have given my tech savviness a low grade, indeed.

It seems, with each year that passes, I’ve gotten braver about trying new things, but not technology.  I resist it.  For example, I put off opening a Facebook account as long as possible, and I don’t know how to use the camera on my iPhone sufficiently.  If you are like me, you have relied on the tech wizards in your life to save you from digital disaster.  And I’m certain they just loved fixing your problems, right?  Fortunately, I’ve discovered other resources available to reluctant learners and late bloomers.  Here are 5 easy ways to boost your tech savviness:

1. YouTube Videos

YouTube.com is my go-to for computer and website issues because I need visuals to comprehend instructions of a technical nature.  It’s difficult for me to follow a technician’s direction over the phone.  Frankly, it fries my brain.  With YouTube videos, I can pause when necessary and proceed at the pace I want until the task is complete.

With technology, you’re going to want to filter your search on YouTube.  I don’t bother with anything older than one year.  Although, I suppose it could be nostalgic to watch a tutorial about flip phones from 2007, but not relevant.  I also look for a good thumbs up to thumbs down ratio, so I know it’s informative and high quality.  However, most videos don’t have many viewer ratings when they’re new.  Below is an example of an instructional YouTube video on how to start a subscription box business.

 

2. Read All About It

So, you’re saying you don’t need images or video to broaden your skillset or graduate from digital ninja school.  All you require are daily or weekly posts to keep you in the know.  Lucky for you, the web is packed with quality articles from trusted tech blogs, each with a different personality.

  • Women Love Tech blends product and app reviews with industry news and tips about social media.

  • Mashable mixes tech, social media, and entertainment into a bit of a “tech stew” that is quite digestible.

  • Gizmodo is funny and snarky and caters to a youngish audience.

  • TechCrunch profiles startups and up-and-coming companies and reviews products.

  • Girl About Tech offers how-to articles, buying advice, and product reviews.

  • Social Media Examiner brings you the latest news about platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

3. Take A Class or Two

Maybe you’re not intimidated by technology, but your skills are questionable.  Your friends have shown you amazing pictures or movies produced on their devices while you take ho-hum photos that impress no one.  Family members share messages, invitations, and calendar events with ease while you struggle with the same.  Coworkers create presentations quickly, and you find it difficult to compete.  Well, there’s a simple solution to those dilemmas.

CreativeLive is an online streaming education provider that supplies free and low-cost classes on topics like photography and video to website and WordPress.  The sheer number of courses for you to choose from is impressive.  Blog Village offers writers hundreds of video lessons to browse, live chats to participate in, a private Facebook group to join and more.  You can choose from beginner, intermediate, and advanced workshops to suit your needs.

Several large retailers offer free or inexpensive courses for their smartphones, tablets, cameras, and laptops.  The Apple Store holds classes for all experience levels on Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, photography, videography, iCloud, and Keynote presentation software.  Best Buy provides training seminars to help master your digital camera and many Samsung devices.  Verizon offers Wireless Workshops for Android, iPhone, and tablets.

Related Reading: 7 Innovative Sites to Help You Crush it in Business

4. AARP TEK

Most of you who are fifty or older are familiar with AARP and its services.  But, did you know the company has an online education program called AARP Academy that can boost your tech savviness to new heights?  Best of all, the courses provided are free and available to all ages.  Most of the training is targeted to novices and newbies.  However, the number of videos and webinars accessible is impressive.

Not surprisingly, there are the standard classes on social media, tablets, and smartphones.  AARP also offers courses about online safety, including wifi, email, and passwords.  Interestingly, the company also promotes informational webinars on topics like medical apps, wearable health devices, and on-demand access to medical experts.  Pretty thorough, don’t you think?

 

5. Listen Up

Okay, so you’re not into watching videos or reading posts (except mine, of course).  I get it; you’re an auditory learner, also known as a good listener.  Perhaps a few weekly podcasts will pique your interest and raise your tech IQ.  Plus, you can enjoy them in the car which is not recommended for blog readers.  Here is a sampling of a few great shows:

  •  Nerdette is a “safe space for nerds.”  The hosts explore the digital universe through compelling interviews and interesting chats.

  • TedTalks Technology is exactly what you think it is.  Speakers give inspirational and informative talks about research and breakthroughs in tech.  Think of it as an uplifting, educational, and perhaps geeky speech.

  • This Week In Tech is a popular, long-running show with roundtable discussions about trends, the latest products, and new technologies.

  • Rocket is hosted by three clever ladies who focus their energetic conversations on books, movies, games, comics, and a litany of other topics.

So, there you have it; my list of 5 easy ways to boost your tech savviness.  These resources will improve your digital skills in no time at all. You might even be entertained along the way.  Perhaps you have suggestions on how I might take my game to the next level.  I’de love to know.  Please share your ideas in the comment section below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.