Who starts a business after age 60? That would be me! Today, I’m sitting at my computer, writing about something close to my heart. It’s a little scary, putting yourself out there. But maybe someone out there needs to hear this, just like I did a few years ago.
Retired educator to small business owner
After college, I worked in the world of finance for about 10 years and was done. I wanted more than just a J-O-B. Where could I make a difference? I love kids and thought teaching was a perfect fit. With my educator/coach husband and 2 kids, I knew it would be a struggle, both financially and practically. Many nights, everyone went to bed and I would start my classwork.
Did I mention I was substitute teaching full-time while doing this? Yep, juggling lots of balls, and I have to admit, some dropped. But somehow, I got my Masters in special education and taught for 23 years. Teaching was hard, but oh so rewarding. I decided to retire at the end of 2020. Little did I know what was about to happen.
My last four months of teaching were online, which was challenging in and of itself. But trying to engage my students with special needs was a nightmare. They were fantastic, but I’m really not sure how much they learned.
After officially retiring, I was excited to see what my next adventure would be. Starting my own business was in the back of my mind, but I knew there would be challenges. First and foremost, was….
Where do you begin?
“You’re retired-sit back and relax.” This is what I heard from so many people. I knew I was never going to just sit back and relax.
After much soul-searching and research, I knew I didn’t want a regular job. Flexibility and freedom to work anywhere on my own schedule were what I wanted. Now I was ready to check out the possibilities!
For all my teachers out there thinking, “I’m just a teacher. What skills do I have?” Are you kidding me?! I thought the same thing, but are you kidding me?! Organizational skills, coaching, training, flexibility, the ability to work with many people – the list goes on and on.
How do you start your own business?
After listing the skills I already have and what I would like to do, I saw that a Virtual Assistant might be the path I would take. I researched what a Virtual Assistant was and assumed I had to be an office assistant. Nothing could be further from the truth! I learned teachers make great VAs. We’re communicators, researchers, writers, proofreaders, editors, and skilled at technology. Our soft skills include being flexible, hardworking, responsible, creative, and quick learners.
I saw a post on Facebook to take a 5-day challenge with Expert VA coach, Kathy Goughenour. It was free, so why not? Kathy really dove into figuring out why we wanted to be a VA. She showed us all the possibilities for VA’s and what companies needed and wanted. I decided to take the leap and sign up for her paid program. My small business adventure was about to begin!
What do you need to consider
Being your own boss is challenging. Here are some of the basics you need to think about as you get started:
- $$ – Start-up costs can be daunting, but you can find ways to keep the budget workable. As my friend, Joe Burns, says, think of it as investing, not spending.
- Time – no one is looking over your shoulder, so you have to be self-disciplined and manage your time wisely.
- Legal stuff – choosing your business name and registering it in your state. Consulting with an accountant (highly recommend) and an attorney to make sure you set everything up correctly.
Starting my own business owner, I have…
- Freedom to set my hours and my rates
- Flexibility to do my VA work anywhere in the world
- Satisfaction knowing I’m helping others grow their businesses
- Relationships with fantastic people I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise
- Joy in doing something I love that is needed by other business owners
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!
But seriously, if you’ve been thinking about starting your own business, don’t let anyone tell you it’s too late. I’m so glad I didn’t just “sit back and relax.” If you’re a small business owner and need help with creating engaging content for your blogs, email marketing, or newsletters, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to share your story!