Pauley: Jini's business reminds me of a woman I read about who loved flowers, and her dream was to have a flower shop, but she wisely got a job for a couple of weeks in a flower shop and discovered how much she hated running a business. She hated the paperwork, payroll, dealing with clients whose taste in flowers may not have been her own. It turned out that she loved flowers but she didn't love running a flower shop. It took her two weeks to realize that her dream of running a flower shop needed to be amended. Do you know of stories like that Dr. Jopp?
Jopp: Absolutely. We often find that it's the entrepreneur who loves a hobby that, when they make their hobby a business, they feel it's less fun and not their interest. This is where mentoring comes in. Because entrepreneurship can be very lonely, we talk about creating a team of people a business owner can count on for advice.
Comment from Lorraine: I left the corporate world after 31 years 11 years ago. I'm busier now than ever. Retirement to me means doing what you want when you want. Jane nailed it this morning when she said you need to have been thinking about this before taking the plunge. I had been a hobby gardener and had always been able to write well. Now I'm a garden writer and have been for over 10 years with a gardening column and a recently published book. Two years ago I took some jewelry classes and have begun to sell some of what I make—just in time, too. My aging body is getting tired of digging in the dirt!
Pauley: Lorraine is leading an interesting life with a background in the corporate world, as well as skills in gardening and writing. Now she's talking about taking jewelry classes and has begun to sell some of her creations. I have a friend with a hand in the jewelry business, so I happen to know it's really, really competitive. Can a counselor help someone assess what the income likelihood is in a job or in a business they're proposing to start?
Jopp: Yes. One of the things we do initially is evaluate a person's goals and help them have an understanding of what they can achieve by starting their business. Our counselors have been there and done that. They bring their expertise and intelligence to the entrepreneur.
Comment from S. Starks: Jane, you mentioned "synchronicity" during the Today show segment. Talk more about using it to discover, explore, uncover new job opportunities and directions in post-corporate America.
Pauley: I've noticed that several people are talking about synchronicity. A person's life experience, skills set, innate lifelong interests can be redeployed in surprising new ways. When I spoke with Tom and Connie Betts at their alpaca ranch, I learned that each of them brought actual experience in marketing, in innovating and in inventing. They are each the kind of people who like doing hard things, such as learning to use a loom, which has a lot in common with playing a pipe organ which, parenthetically, Thomas referred to when said that he had been a music major in college. So he didn't just strike out to see if he could do new things he had never done before. However, he was surprised he could do the same things he had always done, but it would be on a ranch. The context was new but he was still the same Thomas, which made the transition particularly effective. His wife, I must add, was not only supportive, but she brought unique qualifications to that joint project of theirs. As I mentioned on the segment, Connie grew up on a farm. She also had experience teaching high school biology, and that science training has a great deal to do with alpaca ranching and breeding. Thomas and Connie came well-prepared to alpaca ranching.
Comment from Daniel A.: What are the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face when starting out in mid-life?
Jopp: Entrepreneurs in mid-life face a number of challenges. One of them is income. When working full-time, your family relies on that income. Making the choice to become an entrepreneur can be very difficult, not only on your finances but also on your family. Jane talked about a spouse. A person's spouse really is their most important partner in business. Making sure you can afford entrepreneurship financially, as well as emotionally, is very important. We often talk about tolerance. How much can you take?
Join for Just $16 A Year
- Discounts on travel and everyday savings
- Subscription to AARP The Magazine
- Free membership for your spouse or partner