Thursday, October 17, 2013

Becoming an Entrepreneur After 50 is Challenging

“Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away. Move on to something else that’s more productive.” – Donald Trump

Walking away from anything is never easy. It wasn't during my first marriage, although I knew it was the best thing for me. It wasn't when I walked away from television news, although I was totally burned out. The same holds true now as I prepare to walk away from my consulting business.

Seven years ago, I had a passion and a vision. Although the vision wasn't in clear focus at the time, I knew I had a media/communications expertise and I wanted to share it with others. I was convinced the "how" part would come over time.

I spent a lot of time networking and trying to get my name out there. I automatically assumed that once people talked to me and looked at my credentials, they would know I was the REAL DEAL and light years above any other competition around.

Initially, I made some great contacts which led to business. That business generated referrals and life was good. I just assumed word of mouth and my hustle would provide a steady income but that would not be the case. Here are some of the lessons I've learned:

Know Your Market: This means knowing more than the people you want to sell or provide a service to. You need to understand the community you live in and what the trends may be for what you offer. Being black and female is definitely not an advantage in the South. A few "tokens" get through but unless you're truly connected, you will find yourself operating in the red more often than the black. How ironic!

Network in the Right Circles: This may take some time because when you first get into the networking game, you'll find yourself going to many different events to find your perfect fit. I spent way too much time networking in the WRONG circles, only to discover that someone else who offered similar services was being heavily promoted by someone who was highly respecting Inside our 919 community.

Don't Sell Yourself Short: Often times business failures results from the sales of goods and services below cost price. Sometimes in business, cash crunch, fierce competition or economic factor make businesses sell their goods below cost price and this can ruin your business. It certainly did mine.

Be Adaptable to Change: Change is constant, so you either you align your business with the trend and ride to the top or you remain stagnant and eventually fold up. You also need to constantly upgrade your technological strengths as swiftly as possible.

Lack of True Entrepreneurial Skills: When an entrepreneur lacks the necessary skills such as leadership skill, cash flow management, sales, persistence and self belief and so on; such an entrepreneur is bound to fail. An entrepreneur is the head and pilot of the business. I had the leadership and persistence skills but lacked a steady cash flow and sales.

When you know the odds are stacked against you sometimes the best thing to do is walk away but DON'T EVER GIVE UP. I don't want to make the excuse that aging, race, or sex had anything to do with my failure to succeed as a boomerpreneur. After all, I'm Beverly Mahone--a boomer woman on the move and making a difference at midlife.

I have moved on.


Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen said...

Oh Bev! Ain't all too true! I'm sorry to hear of your disappointments,,, I switched to writer, author, speaker at age 50.Talk about the total uphill struggle! I think the part that has surprised me the most is how LONG it takes to get anywhere. That's why I love that quote from Lawrence Welk: “It took me twenty years to become an overnight success!”
I'm not giving up, but it's a battle I fight most days...

Robert at 55 Community Guide said...

HI Bev! Learning through our experiences is good; not everyone does that. As a business owner for a long time myself, I have learned some of the same lessons and like all of them you pointed out.