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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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Chrometophobia; How the Fear of Spending is Hurting Your Business

chrometophobia-fear-of-spending-hurting-your-business

Starting a business is not for the faint of heart.  The reality of inconsistent sales and paychecks should scare the hell out of anyone with a brain.  Yet, according to the most recent U.S. Census data, over 450,000 Americans dive headlong into the dark, unpredictable waters of entrepreneurship annually.  About half of them sink within four years.  Why?  It is almost always due to a lack of planning or funding or both.  A thorough business plan will adequately address the former, but the latter is not as easily overcome.

Financing a successful startup consists not only of your access to money but your psychological relationship with it.  Do you hoard cash or spend it too freely?  Are you willing to or capable of investing extra capital when it is needed?  Do you suffer from a slight case of chrometophobia; the fear of spending or managing money?  If so, it could cause your endeavor to go under or keep it treading water.  You could be setting yourself up to fail by:

  • Limiting your exposure on social media channels without an advertising budget

  • Not spending money on the development of new products or services to sell

  • Not learning or improving skills through courses or coaching

  • Appearing unprofessional with low-end branding, photos or website

  • Not investing in software and programs to eliminate unnecessary tasks

Let’s face it.  Our financial situations cause many of us a substantial amount of stress and anxiety each month.  The pressures that come with handling money affect our personal and business decisions every day.  Saying you can’t afford ‘x’ for your business while planning a vacation or trekking to Starbucks every day is nonsensical.  Yet, we can all make strange choices like these and then have the audacity to justify them.  Are you guilty of this?  I know I am from time to time.

 

Making a mental shift is scary and often necessary to grow your startup and prosper.  But what if you’re not in a position that will allow you to change your financial strategy immediately?  If you can’t actually afford to increase the support of your fledgling business, then maybe it needs to become or remain a side hustle.  There is no shame in that.  That is a decision only you can make after a bit of soul-searching.

Related Reading: Overworked and Underpaid? 9 Free Apps to the Rescue

However, if you want to succeed and prosper, you’ll need to find a way to overcome your chrometophobia and make some room in your budget for your dream, your baby, your business.  Is it time to make some fiscal changes and a commitment to yourself?

Personally, I need to increase my advertising budget. I have understood this fact for a while but have resisted the change until now.  The decision means something in my private spending will have to be cut.  So be it.  My business is worth the sacrifice and I am ready to flourish.

What are you willing to give up in your personal life to succeed professionally?  Tell me about it in the comment section.  If you know a business owner who is struggling with this issue, please share this post with them on social media.  Life is better when we lift each other up.

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How Diversity in the Boardroom is Boosting Employee Morale

When I was a little girl, I knew men made more money than women and almost always held higher positions too.  It was a fact of life.  In my neighborhood, fathers were the main breadwinners while mothers either stayed home or filled the financial gaps with part-time or temporary jobs.  Full-time female workers were few and far between.  Even rarer was the woman who managed to land a management position.  I can count on one hand the females I knew with any legitimate professional power and influence.  I can’t even imagine how small those numbers were for minority women at that time.

As I grew, I noticed a distinct change in the societal norm.  If you’re older than thirty-five, you probably experienced the same dramatic shift.  Moms either needed to or wanted to work.  And with that, ladies began to find role models.  Whether it was Geraldine Ferraro, the first female vice presidential candidate representing a major American political party or famous business icons like Oprah Winfrey and Martha Stewart, girls finally had multiple women to emulate.  In turn, we began to proclaim, “if she can do it, I can do it.”  Anything was possible.

It may seem obvious to you then that boosting employee morale is as easy as placing more women and minorities into influential positions.  Well, you’re not alone.  2020 Women on Boards is a national campaign to increase the percentage of females on U.S. boards to 20% or more by the year 2020.  Malli Gero, co-founder and president says, “research shows that gender diversity is good business and results in higher sales, greater corporate morale, and better return on investment for stakeholders.”  Those are three seemingly compelling reasons for companies to hurry up and get with the program.

Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

Sadly, diversity in the boardroom and upper management remains at what you might call a deplorable level. Globally, women hold between fifteen and eighteen percent of the available director positions, depending on which study or survey you read.  This is partly because turnover on boards is low.  The good news is that the numbers have been growing steadily, if not quickly, over the last decade.

Recent pressures from activists and investors have prompted boards to increase their number of minorities and females.  The alternative is to face backlash and criticism from the media and other powerful groups if these changes are not made.  Perhaps you’ve heard of organizations like the Forte Foundation, the Thirty Percent Coalition, and the Professional Diversity Network that are not only shining a much-needed light on this topic but providing resources to underrepresented professionals in an attempt to speed up the process of parity.

A Reason to Smile

Minorities and women are taking notice of the recent changes in corporate demographics.  Research shows that role models have a positive effect on stigmatized and under-represented populations.  Having someone to look up to in a company setting increases motivations, the number of goals set, and interest in advancement by those in lower positions.  You might not be surprised by any of this, but it’s nice to have evidence for the obvious, right?

Additionally, businesses with relatively high percentages of female managers and board members tend to take on issues important to stigmatized groups.  Corporate programs that spotlight and address equal pay, flexible work schedules, mentorship, and charitable contributions are increasingly popular.  As a result, the future is looking a little brighter for us and will probably continue to do so.

Related Reading: 7 Deadliest Sins of the Struggling Career Woman

Career expectations for women have certainly changed and grown over the past thirty years.  Gone are the days when we put absolute limits on our professional potential.  Big business is likely to continue boosting employee morale with improved representation of marginalized groups in positions of power.  Do you think we are headed in the right direction?  What other actions should corporate America take to ensure equality?  Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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Overworked and Underpaid? 9 Free Apps to the Rescue

overworked-and -underpaid

Are you overwhelmed and routinely pulled under by day-to-day tasks?  Perhaps you are drowning in a sea of expenses too.  Well then, you have come to the right place.  Most of us can certainly identify with these struggles.  Let me throw you a life preserver of sorts by revealing a few of the tools I’ve found to reduce chaos and keep my budget afloat.  Stop feeling overworked and underpaid.  Here are 9 free apps to the rescue:

 

Hey, Money Bags – Earning & Saving

1. Wagespot – Salary Searcher, Wage Calculator, Job Finder

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android

Maybe it’s time to cast a wider net and bring home a bigger catch.  This real-time app allows users to anonymously or publicly share their salary and compensation package for their current position. The data provided will empower you to negotiate a fair wage or ask for a raise.  No more wondering what you’re worth or if you’re undervalued as an employee.  The newest feature offers lists of job openings to browse and analyze.

 

2. Money Lover – Money Manager, Bill Reminder, Budget App

Compatible with: iOS, iPone, iPad, Android

You won’t go belly up if you utilize this expense tracker to manage your personal finances.  Easily customize spending categories and generate reports to get the big picture.  The bill reminder feature will keep your payments up to date and on time.  Upgrade to Money Lover Plus for $4.99 to obtain access to premium options.  Control your money.  Don’t let it control you.

 

3. RetailMeNot – Coupons, Discounts, Deals

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android

After you have organized or created a budget, you’ll want to cut expenses where possible.  I use this app every time I head out shopping.  It has saved me hundreds of dollars.  Offers and deals are available from over 50,000 retailers and food chains.  No more clipping or forgetting coupons or digging through your purse to find them.  It’s as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.

Business As Usual – Productivity

4. Wunderlist: To-Do Lists, Reminders, Errands

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows

Do you have the sinking feeling you are forgetting something?  This amazing app will put your mind at ease as you create a shareable list or organize your work projects.  Set reminders, assign tasks or delegate household chores to family members.  You can access Wunderlist from anywhere, as the app syncs between your computer, tablet, and phone.

 

5. Forest App – Improve Focus, Avoid Distraction, Increase Productivity

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, Chrome, Firefox

This nifty little program puts me back on course and allows me to work uninterrupted for twenty-five minute periods.  I set a timer and the app plants a virtual seed.  If I manage to work on my assignment for the entire time, the plant will grow into a tree.  If I leave my task, the tree will wither and die.  The goal is to create a larger forest each week.  It may sound silly, but it works.  The phone app is $1.99, but I use the browser extension on my laptop for free.

 

6. Waze: GPS Navigation, Maps, Traffic Alerts

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android

When I forget to open this tool during my commute, I usually regret it by waiting impatiently in a sea of cars.  Waze is a real-time traffic and navigation app that provides the best routes with community-edited maps.  You can avoid construction, speed traps, accidents, red light cameras and other obstacles as you journey around town.  Also, as a Waze driver, you’ll save money on gas by navigating to the cheapest pumps reported on your route.

The Daily Grind – Errands & Honey-Dos

7. Big Oven: Recipes, Grocery Lists, Menus

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, web

Do you hear the theme song from Jaws when your family members start to circle the kitchen and ask, “What’s for dinner?”  This fantastic app is packed with over 350,000 recipes from which to choose.  Save your favorites, make grocery lists, and create meal planners too.  The paid version allows you to follow friends and your favorite food bloggers as well.

Related Reading: 5 Easy Ways to Boost Your Tech Savviness

 

8. Daily Workouts: Exercise Routines, Instructional Videos

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac, Windows

Daily Workouts is stuffed to the gills with full-body and targeted exercise routines. Instructional videos guide you through unfamiliar moves as you tone, tighten, and break a sweat.  Now you have the convenience of your own personal trainer wherever you go.  The upgraded version offers a greater variety of exercises and is ad-free.

 

9. TaskRabbit: Chores, Cleaning, Home Repair

Compatible with: iOS, iPhone, iPad, Android, web

You probably have a tsunami-sized lineup of improvements, repairs, and household duties to be done.  If you can spare the money, use TaskRabbit to lighten the load.  Hire a pre-screened Tasker to walk your dog, mount a TV, deliver a package or anything else you desire.  There’s no need for cash because you pay through the app when the assignment is complete.

 

What do you think of my list of tools to rescue the overworked and underpaid?  I know you have a few helping to keep your chin above water.  Don’t keep those programs a secret.  Share them with the rest of us below.

Life is better when we lift each other up.

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Why A Physical Attractiveness Stereotype Crushes Opportunities

Nearly everyone understands by the time they’re adolescents that appearances matter.  You see beauty and sexuality emphasized consistently in ads, movies, television shows, and social media.  Dating services portray people on their sites as attractive and eager to meet you.  Anti-aging products are hocked to women by twenty-something-year-old models with no spots or wrinkles.  Viagra ads suggest to men if they take the pill they’ll be able to bed a gorgeous woman, just like the one in the commercial.  We’re barraged with messages that reinforce the notion looks trump substance.

The pressure to be attractive extends to your professional life as well. But, landing a job you’re qualified for or getting the promotion you’ve earned shouldn’t depend on the size of your waistline or the prominence of your nose.  After all, you don’t comb your hair with a fork or require a formal introduction to dental floss!  However, growing evidence supports the theory that looks play a significant role in your career development and income.  Therefore, it’s imperative to learn why a physical attractiveness stereotype crushes opportunities for most people.

Who’s The Fairest Of Them All?

Let’s say you’re in the market for a new job.  You get your resume reviewed and edited by a professional and eagerly apply for several positions.  This, along with a snazzy cover letter ought to secure you a few interviews.  Beauty isn’t a consideration at this point, right?  Alas, most companies have been using ‘social screening’ for years to evaluate applicants.  It’s a process where hiring managers use your social media accounts to determine if you’re a viable candidate.  And unless you have picture-free profiles, your appearance is part of the package.  According to a recent poll conducted on behalf of CareerBuilder, sixty percent of employers surveyed used social networking platforms for hiring purposes.  Maybe this is old news to you.  No biggie.

Well, there is an abundance of research that emphasize the advantages of being good looking.  In a field experiment conducted by the University of Buenos Aires, researchers found that resumes submitted with photos of attractive applicants were 36 percent more likely to be given a callback.  If that’s not discouraging enough, studies by economist Daniel S. Hamermesh found that beautiful people are often offered higher salaries.  In fact, Hamermesh wrote a fascinating, yet disturbing book on the topic, Beauty Pays.  In it, he explains how companies can justify and afford to pay a premium for attractive employees.

 

 

Eyes Without A Face

Obviously, hiring based on a person’s looks is wrong.  The practice squanders human resources and reinforces stereotypes.  We can only wonder how often brilliant applicants are passed over for eye-catching mediocrity.  You also have to wonder how it affects office morale.  How can we reduce this type of discrimination?

Both businesses and governments have shown increasing interest in implementing blind or anonymous processes to review applicants.  This means more companies are attempting to reduce cues for conscious or unconscious bias in hopes of hiring more women and minorities.  It stands to reason this approach will also benefit older and less attractive prospects as well.  Current trends and strategies used include:

  • Omitting name, gender, and photos from resumes

  • Offering online questionnaires

  • Conducting telephone interviews

  • Positioning a candidate behind a screen during an interview

  • Eliminating social screening from the hiring process

Perhaps these tactics bring more diversity to the workforce and result in better positions and more money to those who have previously been discriminated against based on their looks.  However, instituting these procedures is purely voluntary on behalf of companies.  There are currently no laws mandating blind or anonymous hiring practices in the United States.  Also, businesses may be reluctant to change existing systems based on the added expense.  As a result, progress in the area is bound to be slow.

Related Reading: 11 Breathtaking Cindy Gallop Quotes About Equality

It’s easy to see why a physical attractiveness stereotype crushes opportunities for job seekers.  Pretty people continue to have the upper hand for now.  Perhaps in time, the statistics will change.  In the meantime, we’ll have to continue keeping up appearances to receive the highest pay possible.  Just like Mom always said, “Life isn’t fair.”

What are your thoughts?  Should companies be legally obligated to use blind interviewing to reduce stereotyping and increase fairness in hiring practices?  Share your experiences.