It was the summer of 2006. I packed my car with all my office belongings and drove away from a 20-year career. My decent paycheck, a steady job, and a pretty cool boss were all behind me. I always had entrepreneurship running through my veins. It was now or never, but was I ready for what was ahead?

I vividly remember the first day in my home office.

It was just me, my computer, and a half-working printer. At that moment, excitement and terror coursed through my veins. Doubt whispered in my ear, questioning whether this endeavor would succeed and if I had what it takes.

But at that pivotal crossroad, I had a choice to make. Would I allow doubt to paralyze me, or would I summon the strength to create something greater than my fear? It was then that my inherent resilience and determination surged within me. However, the road ahead was not without its challenges; countless days of relentless grind.

I poured my heart into building a $5,000 website, only to beseech my friends and family to visit and support my fledgling venture. Cold calls to strangers became a regular part of my routine, pushing me out of my comfort zone. Networking event after networking event became my path to forging connections and seeking opportunities. The hurdles continued to arise—an unexpected $250 repair for the broken printer and a computer that crashed, demanding another $1500, draining my already depleted finances.

Undeterred, I pulled countless all-nighters to meet deadlines, striving to send proposals and secure projects. Pro bono speaking engagements, sales presentations, and the sting of rejection became familiar companions. And just when I thought the challenges couldn’t multiply further, menopause struck, adding its unpredictable twist to my journey.

Yet, amidst the setbacks, I found the strength to persevere. I offered discounted work to attract and build clientele, tirelessly pitching my services in sales presentations. In the midst of missing the security of a regular paycheck, I contemplated my resume and questioned if it was time to seek traditional employment.

But within me, a fire burned brighter than ever before. The entrepreneurial spirit that had propelled me thus far refused to be extinguished. I knew I couldn’t abandon my dreams and settle for the ordinary. So, I pressed on, embracing the challenges as opportunities for growth and allowing my unwavering determination to guide me forward.

The journey of entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart.

It demands resilience, sacrifices, and unwavering belief in oneself. Looking back at those moments of doubt and adversity, I now realize they were stepping stones to building something extraordinary. The road was paved with sleepless nights, financial uncertainty, and moments of vulnerability, but through it all, I discovered the depths of my inner strength and the power of resilience.

So, to those facing their doubts and contemplating whether to pursue their entrepreneurial aspirations, know this: the road may be arduous, but the rewards are immeasurable. In adversity, we find our true potential and emerge stronger than ever. Embrace the challenges, learn from the setbacks, and let your unwavering spirit guide you toward a future where success and fulfillment await.

And this is where the story could have ended.

It ends here for so many of us. We become paralyzed by disappointment, fear, and crushing doubt; the voices inside our heads tell us “we can’t,” or we don’t have what it takes. I didn’t listen to those voices and am so grateful the story didn’t end there. Despite the disappointments and hardships, I kept grinding, pushing, and moving. I learned there is something very magical about pressing on.

In those moments of doubt and uncertainty, our true potential emerges, waiting to be unleashed. We all face obstacles along our journey, but how we respond to them defines us. I remember the sleepless nights and the countless rejections, each testing my resolve and challenging my belief in myself. But deep down, a fire was burning within me, an unrelenting desire to prove those voices wrong and turn my dreams into reality.

I discovered the power of resilience and determination through the highs and lows.

I found solace in the stories of other successful entrepreneurs who had faced similar struggles and triumphed against all odds. Their stories became beacons of hope, guiding me through the darkest moments and reminding me that failure is not the end but rather a stepping stone toward success.

Every setback became an opportunity for growth, a chance to learn, adapt, and return stronger. I embraced the lessons learned from each failure, using them as building blocks to shape my vision and refine my strategies. With every step forward, I gained confidence and a renewed sense of purpose, fueling my passion to create something meaningful and impactful.

Starting a business is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who dare to dream and are willing to do the work, the rewards can be beyond measure. It’s about embracing the unknown, taking calculated risks, and persisting even when the path ahead seems treacherous. It’s about summoning the courage to believe in yourself when others doubt you and staying true to your vision when the world tries to steer you off course.

It’s been 17 years, I’m still here, and it’s been totally worth it.

During the past 17 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to start two businesses and have enjoyed every moment. Each day has been an exhilarating adventure, filled with endless possibilities and the satisfaction of seeing my ideas come to life. It hasn’t always been easy, but the journey has been extraordinary. And guess what? This incredible story can be yours too! So, to all those who have doubted themselves or felt the weight of uncertainty, I stand here today as living proof that dreams can come true. I invite you to join me on this incredible journey of self-discovery, growth, and fulfillment. Let us defy the odds, shatter limitations, and create our legacy.

Now, you might be wondering, where do you even begin?

Starting a business can feel overwhelming, like standing at the foot of a colossal mountain. But let me assure you, every great journey starts with a single step. It’s about taking that leap of faith and embracing the unknown with open arms.

Explore Your Passion

After working for many years, I understood my passion and skill set centered around marketing and technology. I knew that I wanted to stay challenged and connected to my community. And I was excited about using my abilities to become my own boss and create an offering that filled a need in the marketplace. In your later years, your passion might be right before you.

Ask yourself, “What am I truly passionate about? What brings me joy and fulfillment?” Your business should be an extension of who you are, reflecting your unique talents and interests. When you align your passion with your work, it becomes a labor of love rather than just another job.

Once you’ve identified your passion, it’s time to dive into the world of research and planning. Study your industry, understand your target audience, and analyze market trends. This groundwork will help you craft a solid foundation for your business, allowing you to make informed decisions and navigate potential challenges.

Find That “Great” Idea

Every remarkable business begins with inspiration, but that spark must ignite a flame that fulfills a need, solves a problem, or alleviates a pain point. While passion is undoubtedly a crucial component of the entrepreneurial equation, it may not always guarantee financial success. It’s essential to assess whether your business idea can thrive and become profitable by addressing an unmet need in the marketplace. Need some ideas? Here are some places to explore:

Google Trends – Google offers this tool to discover what people are searching for online, but it’s also a great way to explore high-traffic topics that might point to a business idea. Here is an example Google Trend report for the keywords “work at home supplies”:

Give it a try!

US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook -The US Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a handbook that shows which job sectors are growing or trending. Perhaps there’s a business idea centered around these occupations? Think outside the box.

Growing Business Sectors—Check out the latest reports on growing business sectors to determine if there is an unmet need. As of 2017, according to Sageworks, Information-technology firms and construction-related companies dominate the fastest-growing industries in the US.

50 Business Ideas People Are Actually Making Money From —a great post with some great ideas that might be a good bet.

Get the Help You Need

My first few years were tough. Learning about business licensing, legal issues, insurance, sales, marketing, bookkeeping, and contracts was time-consuming. Fortunately, I sought the help I needed to stay afloat. My recommendations:

US Small Business Administration The SBA has some wonderful resources. My favorite is their online guide, 10 Steps to Start Your Business which includes all the information I needed to start my business ten years ago. SBA’s online courses are also excellent.

SCORE: Score is a fantastic nonprofit association supported by the SBA and run by volunteer business counselors throughout the US. Start by visiting your local SCORE office. You can meet with a mentor for in-person advice or attend a business workshop to get started. Whether you’re considering becoming a toymaker or digital strategist, is the best place to find advice on navigating your next entrepreneurial steps. You can also be an advisor if you have business experience in a certain field.

Set up Resources for Ongoing Training, Education, and Skill Acquisition

Entrepreneurship is a journey of perpetual growth, where learning, education, and skill acquisition become your steadfast companions. As an entrepreneur, I have embraced the need for continuous learning, acquiring various skills that have proven invaluable in my journey. From mastering Photoshop for captivating graphic design to harnessing the power of SEO to generate leads and even delving into HTML for crafting impactful websites, these skills have become my arsenal in running a successful business.

The beauty of entrepreneurship lies in its ever-evolving nature, where each new skill acquired becomes a stepping stone toward greater achievements. Embracing this mindset of constant learning opens doors to endless possibilities and allows us to adapt and thrive in an ever-changing business landscape.

Here are a few places to learn and acquire new skills: is an online portal where you can take classes on almost anything. You’ll get unlimited access to all their classes for a monthly fee. It’s a great place to learn about marketing, sales, graphic design, HTML, and more.

CreativeLIVE: Another great place to take online classes. Class titles include How to Build a Memorable Brand, Storytelling: Using Story to Influence and Connect, Effective Email and Newsletter Marketing, and Growing Your Business with YouTube. Check out their schedule of daily live classes. The live broadcasts are free, with on-demand versions available for a small fee.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses for anyone to enroll. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career, and deliver quality educational experiences at scale. Courses include topics such as basic marketing and creating engaging presentations to lessons on leadership and how to use Evernote. Participating schools include Berkeley, MIT, Georgetown University, Columbia University, Harvard, and Dartmouth.

Other Resources I Love:

Harvard Business Journal


Surround yourself with a lot of support.

Your support system will get through the tough times. Over the years, I developed a support system of carefully selected (and small) networking groups and continue to get much support from family and friends. I also have many clients who are entrepreneurs, and they are a great support system. Build a network of like-minded individuals who share your vision and can guide you. Seek mentors who have walked the path before you and learn from their experiences. Connect with fellow entrepreneurs who can offer valuable insights and support when needed. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Building a network of supportive individuals can be a game-changer on your entrepreneurial journey.

Starting a business is not just about financial success; it’s about creating a life of purpose, fulfillment, and freedom. It’s about making a difference and leaving a lasting legacy. So, my friend, are you ready to embark on this extraordinary adventure? Take that first step, and let your entrepreneurial spirit soar. The world awaits your unique vision, and I can’t wait to see your incredible story unfold.

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Join our growing community of women who are breaking down aging stereotypes and
creating a fresh perspective toward embracing life after 50.