Last weekend, NextTribe rocked the house at SXSW, the mega-gathering of over 70,000 innovators, creators, media types, and music fans in our homebase of Austin, Texas. Wearing a “Sheroes” dress featuring high-flying females in politics and culture, co-founder and editor-in-chief Jeannie kicked off the panel on the topic of “How Midlife Women Work Their Entrepreneurial Mojo,” to help other women 45-plus realize their business dreams. Over the last decade, the number of entrepreneurs age 50 or older has ticked up from 20 to 30 percent. Jeannie was joined by Tammy Shaklee, H4M founder and LGBTQ matchmaker; Lyndie Benson, CEO/Founder BleuSalt apparel; and Ricki Fairley, Founder/President, Dove Marketing.
Dropping Some Midlife Wisdom
They shared the ups, downs and most important lessons.
You have so much more at age 50 than at 20—skills that you don’t even know you have.
- Recognize your midlife power: “You have so much more at age 50 than at 20—skills that you don’t even know you have,” explained Benson.
- Own it: It’s okay to start and stay solo! “I didn’t want partners or investors—I had done that. I didn’t want any overhead. I worked at home and wanted to only be accountable to myself, be my own rainmaker,” said Fairley.
- Eliminate the “no” people and the “maybe” people: “I worked with an older white male attorney for a while, but he did not believe in the business, thought I was just playing, and it came through,”Ralston shared. “It was my lowest moment, so I fired him and a friend connected me with a female lawyer and she was like, ‘Yes, let’s make this happen!’ One of the things you learn is you need the right people to work with.”
- Get smart about what you don’t know: “Sales training, SEO, business-plan writing, financial—train up or tap your network,” said Shaklee, rather than getting intimidated. There are all kinds of on-demand/online learning opportunities as well as connecting through your community of friends and colleagues to help you access the info and skills you need to get your idea off the ground.
Watch the whole panel here for more great, hands-on advice!