Fiftypreneur: Lessons I learned my first year
Mark Twain said, “The two most important dates are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”
As we celebrate the first anniversary of Better Not Younger on March 8th, I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few of the lessons I learned in this first year for anyone in their 40s, 50s or beyond who might be considering starting a second career.
1. Success has no age limit. No matter what society tells you, just because we reach a certain age or lifestyle doesn’t mean it’s too late to achieve your dreams. In fact, I’ve seen plenty of research that shows that older entrepreneurs have a better chance of success than their younger counterparts. Why? As a fiftypreneur, I believe I’ve gotten better with age in so many areas: more confident in my power, more aware of what I’m good at (and what I am not), and more resilient when faced with the invariable setback. My network is better. So is my experience in pulling together a talented team and the expertise I’ve gained across all areas of running a business from supply chain to logistics, accounting to formulation. Aging has definitely unlocked my potential; this would not have been possible in my 20s.
2. Do what you’re good at. When I first started thinking about becoming a fiftypreneur, I knew it would have to involve changing society’s narrative around women and aging, because at 50 I wasn’t ready to disappear and I wanted my daughters to grow up with the freedom to live life on their terms, not how society told them to. I had my passion and purpose worked out before I even knew what the product was going to be! Then I thought, well what am I good at and what do Iove? Haircare naturally rose to the top given all my years running the global Pantene business at P&G. I knew the changes hair went through as we aged, that it is one of the top drivers in how we feel about ourselves and that no other brands were addressing aging hair. And voila! Better Not Younger was born.
3. Quality is the best business plan. All my years working in the beauty industry told me that the product has to be the best. Our consumer has been there, done that and has a high BS meter and plenty of other choices. That’s why we went through at least 15 to 20 rounds of development until I was satisfied that these products delivered what they said they would.
4. (Im)patience is a virtue. I’m always one or two steps ahead wanting to try new things or explore new innovations. Newness and change make me feel energized because it means I’m learning and growing smarter. I want to constantly improve in everything because I feel that stagnation and complacency are deal breakers for success, especially in today’s world where what works today is not always guaranteed to work tomorrow.
5. Just ask. One of the biggest things I have had to do since starting Better Not Younger is ask for help. Starting my own business was a step into the unknown and there were (and still are!) so many things that I have never done before. I have been amazed by how many people have offered to help me over the last year. It really restores your faith in humanity. So, thank you everyone!
As we work together to turn tired stereotypes on their heads and show the world what being a 40+ woman really looks like, I would love to hear YOUR story.
Has your experience starting a new career in your 40s, 50s and beyond been the same or different? What do you feel has gotten better as you’ve gotten older? Are you breaking stereotypes in how you are living your life – how? What products would you love to see that just aren’t out there?
Looking forward to hearing from you!