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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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Overcoming Shyness After 40; Why Now Is The Right Time

Have you ever scheduled an interview, a date, or a meeting and needed to give yourself a pep talk before the big moment?  You took a deep breath and swallowed hard, telling yourself, “I can do this.”  Suddenly a wave of nervous energy crashed over you, and a familiar voice flooded your mind with doubt.  “What if they don’t like me?  I’m going to make a fool of myself.  I can’t do this.”  Then reluctantly, yet with a sense of relief, you canceled the event.  By not overcoming shyness you have missed out on countless life experiences as well as business opportunities.  You are not alone.

According to Dr. Bernardo J. Carducci, P.h.D., head of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast, about 40% of adults worldwide believe they are shy.  And as a result, they are less likely to advance in their careers and not surprisingly, have fewer social connections.  Does this scenario sound familiar?

 

Don’t Play Coy With Me!

At this point, you might be asking, “Was I born this way?”  That’s a good question.  While Scientists debate whether there’s a gene that causes shyness, Carducci does not believe people are born with it.  He writes, “shyness is characterized by three major features: excessive self-consciousness, excessive negative self-evaluation, and excessive negative self-preoccupation.  All three characteristic features of shyness involve a sense of self.  And the sense of self does not develop until approximately 18 months of age.”  And there doesn’t appear to be one single cause for this affliction either.  Perhaps your shyness stems from your temperament, personality, upbringing or a combination of all three.

Keep in mind; I am not referring to a social anxiety disorder.  That’s significantly more serious than being bashful.  If you hyperventilate or need to make a pitstop for adult diapers at the thought of attending a social or networking event, you should probably get some professional help.  I battled both shyness and panic attacks in my life.  And I assure you, they are completely different.  You can read about my struggles here. 

I’m not talking about introverts either.  They feel comfortable spending time alone and prefer solitary activities.  Timid people, however, long to interact and participate in activities and gatherings, but don’t feel capable.  So, what’s the secret to overcoming shyness as a mature adult?  You have probably tried to conquer it in the past or hoped to outgrow it by now, but shyness isn’t going away on its own.  Perhaps the time is right to consider a few new resources.

 

Podcasts: Keep Calm And Listen On

I listen to several podcasts on varying topics each week.  I find them to be educational and entertaining.  Whether in my car, on the treadmill, or cleaning the house, hitting the play button on my phone makes these mundane tasks seem more enjoyable.  Here are three highly rated podcasts that may help in overcoming shyness.  You can find them on iTunes.

 

Shyness.com: Plant Food For Shrinking Violets

Shyness.com is a comprehensive catalog of resources for those seeking treatment for this problem.  Sponsored by The Shyness Institute in Berkely, California, this website is packed with helpful information.  You can find suggested books, research, therapists, training programs, meditations, and more.  Dr. Lynne Henderson, P.h.D., is the director of this research facility.  Listen her speak about shyness in the workplace in a fascinating radio interview here.

 

Hypnosis: You Are Getting Very Sleepy-

The fair-minded part of you may be intrigued by this potential remedy while your skeptical side may have a few doubts.  As it turns out, clinical hypnosis, self-hypnosis, and sleep hypnosis have been used successfully to treat everything from shyness and anxiety to asthma and irritable bowel syndrome.  Famous athletes and top business people have used this focused, guided imagery for years to enhance performance.

The British Medical Association has concluded that hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for phobias and anxiety-related issues.  While it does not work for everyone, it may well be worth a try.  The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists can help you locate a professional near you.

 

 

Related Reading: Midlife Reinvention; Is it Time for a Professional Pivot?

 It’s never too late.  You don’t have to live your remaining years on the sideline and continue to miss out on social experiences and business opportunities.  What have you got to lose?  Overcoming shyness after age 40 is possible if you are willing to be open-minded and consider trying new techniques.  Or, perhaps you have already conquered this demon.  If you have, please help us all and share your secret in the comment section below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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11 Midlife Career Change Ideas That Don’t Suck

Want to know what’s wrong with most lists of midlife career change ideas?  They SUCK!  That’s right; I said it.  That is unless you inherited a large sum of money, don’t need to rely on a realistic income or you relish the idea of starting a four-year degree program in your forties or fifties.

Many similar lists describe great, high paying positions requiring a bachelor’s or master’s degree or are full of jobs that almost anyone can qualify for, but the pay is lousy.  My guess is, you have a pile of bills to pay.  I understand.  There’s a mortgage, car payment, food, medical insurance, and cell phone plan to contend with every month.  Some midlifers are also footing the bill for their kids’ college tuition.  Ouch!

So, let’s get real.  In order for the majority of midlife career changes to be possible, they have to be long on financial rewards and short on educational requirements.  Face it, if you’re reading this post, you’re no spring chicken.  Sorry.  Yet you still might be looking at over twenty years of full-time employment.

How do you make the most of the time you have left in the workforce and still make a decent wage?  By choosing a new profession that pays at least $40,000 annually and won’t take more than two years of additional education to qualify for.  That’s a tall order, but not impossible to fill.  So, without further delay, here are my 11 midlife career change ideas:

1. Surgical Technologist:

Scrub techs, as they are sometimes called, prep patients and operating rooms for surgery.  In addition, they sterilize instruments and supplies and hand them to surgeons during procedures.  Obviously, to be a good candidate, the sight of blood shouldn’t make you light-headed.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for this position is a surprising $44,330 and the job outlook for the next several years is good.  Training programs of one or two years are available at community colleges and vocational schools. Learn more from the Association of Surgical Technologists.

2. Wind Turbine Service Technician:

You weren’t expecting that one, were you?  With the expansion of the green energy industry, job openings for this position are on the rise.  If you don’t mind working several hundred feet in the air in tight spaces, this could be the career for you.  There are even offshore wind turbines to be fixed and maintained if that tickles your fancy.  The typical annual salary for technicians is $51,050.  An associate’s degree from a tech school or community college is required.  Most companies will offer and require additional on-the-job training.  For further information, go to WindTurbineTechnicians.net.

 3. Paralegal Assistant:

No, you won’t get to make objections in court or make an emotional closing argument to a jury as a PA.  They work behind the scenes conducting interviews, drafting documents and verifying information for lawyers in their firm.  While the legal field is not as glamorous or dramatic as shows like Law & Order would have you believe, this is a respectable position with a median pay of $48,810 .  An associate’s degree or certificate in paralegal studies is required.  ParalegalEDU.org has additional details on the courses and training you may need.

4. Licensed Practical Nurse:

LPNs usually work in hospitals and are supervised by registered nurses.  Duties include taking vital signs, administering medications, changing dressings, and performing CPR in emergencies.  Is it just me, or does this sound remarkably similar to the job description of a parent?  Yes, but the pay is better.  The median salary for an LPN is $43,170 per year but varies by region.  Training programs at colleges take one or two years to complete and most states require licensure.  Due to shortages in certain locations, employers may even offer a signing bonus, tuition reimbursement or other incentives.  Get additional facts from the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses.

 5. Computer User Support Specialist:

That title is a mouth full, don’t you think?  Otherwise known as help desk technicians (HDTs), they troubleshoot and provide assistance to computer users, usually via phone or email.  These specialists identify and solve hardware, software, and operating system problems for people within their company, clients or end users.  HDTs are the techy super-heroes you call after banging your head on your keyboard in frustration.  They make a good median salary of $51,470 per year.  Education requirements vary widely.  Many employers ask for a bachelor’s degree in computer science while others only require a two-year degree.  For information on how to become a computer user support specialist, click here.

6. Social Media Manager:

Yes, you can earn a decent living by becoming media and tech savvy.  That will be handy when you want to spy on your kid’s Instagram account.  A thorough understanding of programs like PhotoShop and social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest is a must.  Larger companies will require a bachelor’s degree in marketing or communications.  However, some smaller businesses will accept a two-year degree.  Classes can be taken to fill in any skills gaps you have.  For a list of several certification courses, click here.  Candidates with little experience or education should not expect to make the median salary of $47,190.

 7. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer:

This might be my favorite of the health-related jobs on this list because it pays well and involves almost no handling of body fluids.  Yay!   A medical sonographer operates equipment that creates images through the use of sound waves.  The images are recorded and given to a physician to aid in the diagnostic process.  This field requires at least an associate’s degree and certification or licensing from your state.  The median salary is a whopping $63,630 per year.  Learn more through the American Registry for  Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

8. Court Reporter:

Stenographers or Stenotype operators, as they are often called, produce transcripts of court proceedings using voice writing equipment or machine shorthand.  The 2015 median pay for this position is decent at $49,500.  Great listening skills are a must.  In other words, chatterboxes need not apply.  Candidates must complete a court reporting program at a community college or dedicated court reporter school.  CourtReporterEDU.org can answer any additional questions you may have.

 9. Occupational Therapy Assistant:

OTAs work under the supervision of an occupational therapist.  Duties include guiding patients through exercises and making them cry.  Or, perhaps that was just my own personal experience.  In any case, they provide treatments to clients, monitor progress, and report the results to the therapist in charge.  OTAs earn an impressive median salary of $54,520 and need only an associate’s degree in occupational therapy assisting and state licensing.  Not a bad return on investment.  The American Occupational Therapy Association has more details.

Related Reading: 25 Fantastic Facebook Groups for Midlifers and Boomers

10. Criminal Investigator:

Remember the campy detective shows you grew up with like Magnum P.I. or Charlie’s Angels?  Well, this career rarely involves car chases, black-tie events, or bathing suits.  Bummer.  Private investigators gather information through interviews, court records, surveillance, and the internet.  They report their findings to law enforcement, corporations or the individuals who hire them.  The median pay for this job is $45,610 per year.  The education needed can vary from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.  Professional Investigator Magazine lists the license requirements for each state.

11. Dental Hygienist:

I personally get the heebie-jeebies when I think about reaching into someone else’s mouth, but maybe you are mentally tougher than me.  If you are on the fence about this one, know that the median pay is an eye-popping $72,330.  That might get you to say, “Open wide!”  Hygienists clean teeth, make dental impressions, remove orthodontic appliances and perform a host of other tasks.  You will need to complete a two-year degree in dental hygiene and get a state license.  Learn more through the American Dental Hygienists Association.

Well, there you have it, my list of 11 midlife career change ideas that don’t suck. What do you think?  Did I leave off any well-paying jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree or more?  Let me know in the comment section below.

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