ROBYN: I’m Robyn Moreno for howdini.com. Have you ever contemplated starting your own business? It can be just what your work life needs – if you go into it properly prepared. To guide us through what we need to consider is career consultant Maggie Mistal. Welcome Maggie.
MAGGIE: Thanks, Robyn.
ROBYN: What do you say to people who say, you know what, ‘I want to start my own business but I’m too old’?
MAGGIE: What I would say is, how can you get inspired? Can you join up with a few of your, your best friends and start a business together? Can you also tap into some resources such as local chamber of commerce meetings and other opportunities to see other entrepreneurs making it happen? You know, if this is something you’ve wanted to do, other people are doing it too and you can absolutely, no matter what your age, start a business that works for you.
ROBYN: What strategies do you suggest for older or downsized workers?
MAGGIE: Well most people say, ‘well I want to start a business but I don’t know in what.’ So if you’re not quite sure, one thing that you can do is, it’s one of my favorite websites, is vocationvacations.com. You can test out lots of different businesses there. From being a bed and breakfast owner, to being a wine bar owner, or a spa owner, or even, you know, figuring out how to be a private investigator. So you can test out different types of entrepreneurial adventures and really see which one’s a good fit for you.
ROBYN: What are the resources you recommend for becoming your own boss?
MAGGIE: Well, first and foremost, I think it’s assessing and taking certain tests about, are you cut out to be an entrepreneur. And if you go to the small business administration website at sba.gov, they have a lot of different entrepreneurial examples and ideas to really see what it takes. Because think about it this way: if you’re going to be a business owner, there’s a whole lot of things that you’ve got to learn. The question is, are you a quick learner? Do you like to learn? Is that something you want to do, is learn and grow. And it also might take up your nights and weekends. And is that something you’re really interested in, life-style wise? And if you’re not, how might you design that business so that you have that time and energy?
ROBYN: Is there any way to tell whether something is a hobby or a viable career?
MAGGIE: Oh, absolutely. And that’s why I recommend trying it out. Another great way to test it out, outside of vocationvacation, is to create your own experience. You can job shadow someone; that’s a phrase a lot of people haven’t heard before. You can actually follow someone around at work and see if doing that kind of business, or owning that kind of operating would be of interest to you. If you can’t get to the job shadowing, you can also do an informational interview, which is another great tool if you’re looking to investigate a business idea or a new idea. The informational interview, Robyn, is actually where you talk to folks during that kind of work. You find out, well what do you love about it? What’s challenging about this type of business? If you were going to do it all over again, what would you do differently? You know, we don’t need to recreate the wheel, especially in the age of the Internet. I mean, everybody’s doing, you know, interesting and creative things. So if you just do a little bit of research, you can actually get a lot of insight and avoid the pitfalls yourself.
ROBYN: What if I’ve been laid off, or I’m an older worker ready for a change. I’ve been working for 20 years, and it was for money, stability for my family. You know what? Now I want to do something for passion. Any tips for helping me match my passion with my career and actually make some money?
MAGGIE: Absolutely. I mean, especially if you’ve been working at a job for stability, it may not be the most exciting. You may feel a bit numb, or that you’ve lost touch with what really is fun for you. And I’ll ask people the question: what would you love to do? Or one of my favorite questions is, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? And they look at me like a deer in headlights, like, ‘uhh, I don’t know! What would I do?’ So that is a great question to consider: what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
ROBYN: Thank you so much, Maggie Mistal, really inspiring advice.
MAGGIE: Thanks, Robyn.
ROBYN: I’m Robyn Moreno for howdini.com.