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by Sonsoles Gonzalez
October 29, 2018
Until a year ago, I was the opposite of an entrepreneur.
I had worked at huge organizations with offices around the world. I had worked at some of those companies for more than fifteen years. I worked in massive departments and led teams of over 100 people, some of whom I never met in person. I had 20 days leave, some of which I never took. I never saw my phone bill. I had an expense account. I existed in a world of corporate structure and processes.
The world of start-ups felt a million miles away. My main reference points were shows like Shark Tank or brands that I saw advertised on Instagram. Start-ups were for people my children’s age, people who had computer science degrees.
They weren’t for people like me who were in their 50s.
So, it feels very weird to be writing this now, talking about life as one. It still feels weird to say it and a lot of days - I feel like an imposter. It’s almost as if everyone can see all the years of experience on my face. I miss my healthcare and my 401k. I miss being in an office heaving with people.
At the heart of every entrepreneur though is a belief that there is a better way. That the current way of doing things isn’t good enough for people. And after so long in the beauty industry, that’s how I felt. This is something I had to do and it’s how ‘Better Not Younger’ was born.
I founded Better Not Younger, because I felt there was a better way for women over 40 who are being grossly underrepresented both in terms of product, marketing and are being let down by the big organizations.
So, what are the best things about being an entrepreneur, or fiftypreneur as I prefer to say…
As you get more senior in big organizations, politics get worse and worse. It becomes less about doing the right thing and more about what you need to be seen to be doing. As I’ve got older, I’ve become less tolerant of BS. I don’t want to be surrounded by negativity or emotionally draining individuals.
Make the decisions that you want to make
We’ve been formulating products at BNY, and there have been times when I could have gone for cheaper ingredients but chose to go for the best. I’m the boss and I want to be proud of my product range. Yes, the margin might not be as good, but I’d rather deliver a superior product that makes the world sit up and take notice.
Choose your team
I’ve worked with so many amazing people over the years. When you are working all the time on something, you want to be doing that with good people. I’ve been able to choose to work with people I love spending time with so that work never feels like work.
My office is my kitchen table in Miami! If I need a change of scene, I can work at my sister’s house. I can work when I want, where I want. If my daughter is home, I can talk to her, then pick up where I left off when I left.
A new challenge makes me feel energized. Sometimes people think being burnt out means you are physically exhausted, but for me, it is when you have lost your purpose. When you don’t know why you are getting out of bed anymore. Starting BNY has given me my purpose back.
Faith in people
I have been amazed by how many people have offered to help me. It really restores your faith in humanity. People naturally want to help and I’ve been staggered by the generosity of spirit and time that has come my way. So, thank you everyone!
Knowledge is power
The truth is that older entrepreneurs have a better chance of success. I’m backing my ability to pull together a team, my understanding of supply chains, logistics, accounting, formulation. I’m also backing my understanding of myself to know what I am good at and what I am not.
I hope this shares an insight! I may not be a younger entrepreneur but hopefully, I can become a better one.
Get in touch if you are thinking of becoming a fiftypreneur. I would love to talk and share perspectives. You can reach me at email@example.com
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