So there I sat, enjoying my freedom — the last of my three children had just toddled off to nursery school and I was free! Free to do whatever I wanted to do for three hours a day, for two whole days a week. Let’s see, should I play tennis? Go for a swim? Learn how to knit? Or maybe I should start a business! Yes. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll start a business.
Doesn’t that sound nuts? Well, it really was nuts, but I did it anyway. I had some writing experience and thought the world might need my help. But “back in the day” the more profitable choice was to open a secretarial service, which would combine my ability to type on a typewriter (a what?) and my love of writing. So, here’s what I did …
I got help. I called SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses, to get me going in the right direction with a business plan and some great business management advice and I was determined to succeed. And as nuts as it was, I did succeed, and 40 years later, I’m still doing what I love to do.
But as you can imagine, my life is very different now than it was then. I was young, had a house full of children, and coached soccer in my spare time. Now I’m old (relatively speaking), I live alone, and my only involvement in sports is an occasional walk to the mailbox.
So here I sit, again, enjoying my freedom — closing out a career that spanned four decades. I am again free to do anything I want! So what is it I want? I want to do what a lot of 70-somethings want to do — I want to build another successful career! So I’ve again taken my experience and created a new venture for myself. I’ve established “Threefold Chaplaincy Volunteer Training,” which prepares people to go into their communities and serve those who are unable to get out on their own.
These free, two-part seminars prepare volunteers who work with community organizations, churches and healthcare agencies that are involved in providing visitation to “confined care” citizens. A confined care citizen is any person who cannot get out on their own due to many reasons such as illness, accident, surgery or age.
Face it, 50- 60- and 70-somethings are smart, have great experience, and typically have the financial stability to start their own businesses. Even if you’ve never been in business for yourself, I’ll bet you’ve got some great experience in your life that you could develop into a business with a little expert help. So, if you’ve been toying with the idea of working for yourself but might be a little hesitant because of your age, let me give you some encouragement: Do it anyway! Now’s the time. The help is there for you and it’s free! Go ahead and dream about your new venture and then reach out to SCORE (https://www.score.org/) or AARP/weVENTURE (http://bit.ly/2paCEfb) to help you establish a good foundation upon which to build your new career.
It’s not about age, it’s about doing something you love and being smart about it!
Carol Drake Wheatley is a Certified Business Mentor with SCORE and is also Senior Chaplain at Power in the Workplace Ministries Inc., a nonprofit community-centric training.
Columnist series are sponsored by weVENTURE at the Florida Institute of Technology College of Business. weVENTURE has locations in Melbourne and Rockledge. The Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. For more information, visit weventure.org or call 321-674-7007.