Article by Karen Knott
I’ve always found people who ‘march to the beat of their own drum’ have an energy, confidence and authenticity which make them very attractive to be around and, as a coach, I’m lucky enough to spend an increasing amount of my time in the company of a dynamic crowd of women who are hell bent on doing just that! For many of the women I work with, the decision to start a business at a time when others are counting down the years to retirement, is their way of marching to the beat of their drum.
Trouble is, if we’re all really honest, marching to the beat of our own drum, as attractive and seductive as it sounds, is actually a lot easier to say than do – the doing bit is what scares the you-know-what out of most of us! Acting on our entrepreneurial urges and forging our own path in business takes guts but more and more women in their 40’s through to their 60’s and beyond are doing just. They are part of an exciting new breed of older women who have a motivating vision and for the next stage of their lives and are taking advantage of the fact that there’s NEVER been a better time to translate their skills and experience into a thriving business.
Unprecedented opportunities for older entrepreneurs
It’s certainly true that there are unprecedented opportunities out there right now for us older entrepreneurs – but how on earth do we find and claim our bit of those opportunities? Indeed, one of THE most common questions I am asked is, “How do I get started when I don’t know the ‘what’?”
The advice I offer in answer to this question comes courtesy of the great man Aristotle, who said, ‘Where your talents and the needs of the world collide, there lies your vocation.’
There lies not only your vocation but also the ‘sweet spot’ for your business. It is simply a matter of aligning your talents and passions to provide a service or product that people need, want and are willing to pay for. (I’m sure dear old Aristotle will forgive me for adding ‘passion’ into the mix!)
Identify your Talents
You are unique in the enormous array of talents and skills which you possess and it’s that uniqueness which sets you apart from everyone else. The thing about our talents is that when we’re good at something, we either assume it’s something everyone can do, or because we find it easy and enjoyable, we tend to completely undervalue its worth. We’re usually most effective when we’re doing the things we are naturally good at so it’s important to know what they are!
- What are you good at – REALLY good at?
- What do you currently do for your own enjoyment that other people pass comment on or get excited about?
- In what situations do you find yourself the most creative?
Passion for what you do
Having a passion for what we do is SO important, in life and in business – it’s what sets us alight, inspires and excite us. And it’s no surprise that what we’re passionate about tends to be what we’re good at… and when you consciously incorporate your passions into what you do every day, you know you’re on to a winner!
So, what are you passionate about? One thing is sure – you can’t make yourself feel passionate about something – you either are or you’re not – it’s something that stems from within.
• If you knew you could earn all the money you needed, what would you most love to do?
• What are the things you love to do and make you so happy that you lose track of time?
• If you were to pick any volunteer activity, what would you do?
Identify a market need for your business
You may have heard the saying, ‘Do what you love and the money will follow.’ I wish this were true but unless someone WANTS what you love doing – irrespective of how talented you are at it – this is NOT your business sweet spot – a fantastic hobby perhaps, but not a business. Businesses are successful because they offer a service or product that people want – you may offer a unique service or have a unique product but if no-one is willing to pay you for them it won’t make a profitable or sustainable business.
In order to serve your market you’ve got to know them. What you think people need may be very different from what they actually want. You need to understand what keeps them up at night, what their biggest challenges are, and what their big dreams are, so that you can help them sleep easier at night, overcome their big challenges and fulfil their dreams.
• Where is the value in your knowledge, skills, and experiences?
• What problems can you solve for others?
• In what ways could you package or deliver your knowledge, skills, and experiences for others?
Who amongst us hasn’t had an entrepreneurial urge… or dreamed of integrating our unique talents, skills and experience into what we actually DO? Most of us talk ourselves out it by finding a whole number of ‘rationalisations’ why we shouldn’t – but for the ever growing number of women who are choosing to ACT on their entrepreneurial urges in midlife, starting a business is one of the most rewarding things they ever do.
Click HERE to receive your complimentary copy of the eBook: How to Start a Business & Transform Your Life.
Photo credit: Ambro