Experts Weigh In: I’m an Entrepreneur in my 60s+

Experts Weigh In: I'm an Entrepreneur in my 60s+It’s the last week of our entrepreneurs by the ages series here on the MyCorp blog! From teen entrepreneurs to entrepreneurs in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, our final post celebrates entrepreneurs in their 60s and beyond as they share with us their stories about starting up a small business, the obstacles they’ve encountered, and the rewards that being an entrepreneur has given them.

1) “I began my professional career as manager of a Coronary Care unit and a Non- Invasive Cardiology Unit Supervisor in local area hospitals. In my free time I developed an interest in the science and art of chocolate. Gaining chocolate making skills through a blend of personal exploration and formal education I attended a Master Chocolatier certificate program that enabling me to learn techniques with Master Chocolatiers of the Tuscany region of Italy. My journey to becoming a Chocolatier led to my founding Donna & Company in 2005 and establishing my own chocolate brands, CocoaBee® Honey Caramels and Donna Toscana® Tuscan Style® Chocolates and Fundamental. My chocolates have appeared on the NBC TODAY Show, in the New York Times, New Jersey Monthly, Dessert Professional, Park Place Magazine and numerous other media outlets.  I was named Best Chocolatier by NJ Monthly magazine and Local Hero, Food Artisan of 2010 by Edible NJ magazine.”

- Diane Pinder, 61, Chocolatier/Founder, Donna & Company

2) “I’m an entrepreneur who is 74. I started my business at 55. After a long career in management in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, I was working as a consultant in a small firm. After several years I realized I had learned the “business” and was actually good at product development, marketing, and sales. My younger sister who had started her own business a few years before was my inspiration. So, as we say, ‘I stepped off the cliff and grew wings on the way.’ Over the past 19 years, I’ve reinvented my business several times as the needs of my markets have changed. I’ve added professional speaking, writing books, webinars, and digital products to my mix of face-to-face consulting. The best parts of being an entrepreneur at my age are: being able to use my creativity to craft new products and services for my customers and wider market, thus staying mentally active; creating my own work schedule to accommodate lots of physical activity including yoga, Tai Chi, and walking to stay physically and mentally fit; and living a life that is fulfilling on every level. I have cut back on my road warrior travel and allowed technology to help me communicate around the world more. I will never be isolated because I have made friends around the world and I keep up business and personal relationships with them. I have no plans to retire. I’ll just keep innovating, reinventing, and tapping into my imagination until it’s time to go.”

- Rebecca Staton-Reinstein, Ph.D., 74,  President, Advantage Leadership, Inc.

3) “Most of my career, I worked in administration. I am almost 70, and have now become a designer. I designed a protective bag, BORSAbag. I am in an unknown environment. The way I describe it is I feel as though I’m in a vast field of tall grass with a machete. I just keep whacking away to find my path.

At this stage of my life, I have accumulated some savings and am in a better position to finance my design. I feel secure in taking that risk, mainly because I am married, and know that if I lose my investment, I will still be okay. I have more peace of mind to take the necessary risks. I constantly think about my product, how to improve it, additional uses for various sizes, and how to introduce BORSAbag to everyone. The downside of being my age is I can’t afford to take too much time to make decisions. I  must think about it, address it, and decide, and then move on to the next step. I have made sure that my infrastructure is strong, I have my inventory, and now I must make an announcement from the highest mountain to get my word out there. Time is of the essence.

BORSAbag is a simple, yet very unique product. It can be used to protect anything. The key is: Always Inside Out. The small pouch stays clean and dry, and can be stored safely in pocket or purse even though the large protective bag is wet or dirty. The Bag For All Seasons; The Bag For All Reasons®”

- Diane Piper, 69+, President/Designer, BORSAbag LLC

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Experts Weigh In: If I Had to Start My Business All Over Again

Experts Weigh In If I Had to Start My Business All Over AgainIf you could go back and change anything about the way your business got its start, would you do it? It’s totally okay to admit you would – whether it was a logo design, hiring sooner rather than later (and vice versa), or focus on marketing strategy tactics, even the most successful brand has a few moments that might have been done differently if they knew then what they know now. Today, we have a panel of 48 small business experts on board to tell us what they wish they could go back and change about their business in the beginning.

1. “I think I’d have learned to be a manager before I made myself one. I only now am starting to realize how much better I could have been as a manager instead of thrusting myself into the position as a know-it-all. I’ve been running my firm for 23 years and I really only have one regret that is not getting trained in the sensitive art of managing human capital.”

- Richard Laermer, CEO, RLM PR

2. “The transition from a full-time employee to a full-time entrepreneur has been a combination of many accomplishments, but also challenges. The flexibility of working from my home has been phenomenal, but after working almost 20 years for someone else, I realize that an office environment works well for me, even if using co-working space. While I can work virtually anywhere, I am more productive outside of my home and it allows me to maintain a divider between home and work life. If I had to do it all over again, I would have invested in some sort of shared or office space after developing proof of concept in order to maintain the boundary and be able to turn completely off at times.”

- Kimberly O’Neil, Founder/CEO, The Giving Blueprint

3. “If I were to start MyFairyTaleBooks all over again I would have chosen a different brand name. When we started in 2009 we were exclusively selling books. Now we offer many personalized gift items including puzzles, placemats and bookmarks with plans to expand into even further categories. We have such strong brand recognition with our customers that we are hesitant to make too many bold changes to our identity, but we’ve taken subtle steps to share the news that we’re no longer just books!”

- Kelly Mistry, Owner, MyFairyTaleBooks

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Experts Weigh In: My Luckiest Moment as an Entrepreneur

My Luckiest Moment as an EntrepreneurFor entrepreneurs, luck is a lot like snowflakes – no two instances of it are alike. Today, we’ve got a panel of small business owners on our blog who have experienced some seriously serendipitous moments with their companies. From signing a deal while at the zoo to feeding Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling and plenty of appearances on ABC’s Shark Tank in between, these 45 entrepreneurs prove that everything in life is luck!

1. “Speaking internationally selling marketing training at live seminars, my luckiest moment was with a small group of 23. At the end of the 3 hour training, 21 attendees purchased additional training for $497.00 making it the highest converting training I have given.”

- Nathan Amaral, Owner/CEO, Nathan Amaral International

2. “My luckiest moment came when I least expected it. I was struggling with my bills, because I quit my job several months before to start my own web design company and it didn’t go so well. It was really hard to keep myself motivated, but then the first client appeared from nowhere basically. Till this day, I have no idea how he then managed to find my half-baked website and make a purchase. From that moment on, everything just got better and better!”

- John Perry, Owner, Muse Templates Pro Company

3. “A couple of years after I started my company I had pitched a CEO about a month before I ran into her at a networking event where she was the keynote speaker and her topic was about being a woman leader in a traditionally male-dominated business. I had followed up after sending my proposal several times via e-mail and voicemail but the CEO never returned any of my messages or even acknowledged the receipt of the proposal requested. You can imagine my shock when she announced at this event as part of her speech that she believes it is important to put your money where your mouth is and for women CEO’s to support other respected, well-run women’s businesses and that is why she has hired my firm to handle all her company’s marketing and PR! Everyone congratulated me after – it was a better endorsement than an ad in the New York Times because she was very well known and had the reputation of being very tough with high standards so I got a LOT of business from people in the room that night because they thought if I was able to impress her, I must be very good! For a young company, it was a big moment.”

- Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO, Mavens & Moguls

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Experts Weigh In: What I Love About Being an Entrepreneur (Part 2)

Experts Weigh In: What I Love About Being an Entrepreneur (Part 2)Last week, we asked 75 entrepreneurs to tell us what they loved about running their own businesses. The feedback we got was so overwhelming, today we have 76 more small business owners on deck telling us what drives and motivates them to be their own boss!

1. “I love being an entrepreneur because I am able to work from home and make money doing something incredibly fun for me. I get paid to drink tea, paint with watercolors, and watch Sherlock!”

- Anna White, Artist and Business Coach, 2dayIchoose

2. “What I love most about being an entrepreneur is being able to work every day with my wife. I know it sounds corny, especially at Valentine’s Day, but it’s true. My wife always says ‘I don’t want to be Batman, I like being Robin.’ When I was a kid, I was always Batman. That translates to an awesome working relationship. People ask us how we could stand being together all day at work and then at home again and we respond, we couldn’t stand to not be working together every day. We have a ton of fun working together and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

- Buck Smolow, Co-Founder, JustPoppin.com

3. “My story-based content marketing company stems from my passion for creative writing, and a refusal to settle for anything less than success. While in university I had come to believe that I would never be hired by a company based merely on my writing skills. I was told that I must learn a variety of additional skills such as Photoshop, etc. Things that I had zero interest in. Rather than settling for an apparent reality I chose to create my own. Here’s to finding a passion and following it without fear. If you strive for excellence in your interest, the money will always follow. Believe me! #BeYourOwnBoss”

- Sarah Walker, CEO | Cursive Remedy Media

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Experts Weigh In: What Businesses Are You Starting in 2014?

Experts Weigh In: What Businesses Are You Starting in 2014?From secret supper clubs to the first all clean comedy club in the United States, we recently polled 52 brand new small business owners about the kinds of businesses they were starting in 2014, what makes their start-up so special, and where they plan on taking their company in its first year and beyond!

1. “My name is Corecia and my sister and I are starting a unique business of a secret supper club. The premise is to announce the dinners, open them to 10 couples and its first come, first served by invite only. We already have a growing mailing list and will launch on February 2nd. Shirley’s Diner is named after my grandmother who passed away from cancer 5 years ago on February 2nd. We will be featuring many of her recipes.”

- Corecia Davis-Woo, Shirley’s Diner, @ShirleysDiner1

2. “I have recently started a new business in the speed countermeasure niche. This niche covers anything that can help you avoid getting a speeding ticket including smartphones, CB radios, radar detectors, scanners, and airplane detectors which we cover in our developing blog.”

- Chad Antill, Speed CounterMeasures 

3. “Leaving kids in stitches is not so bad if you’re at La Sewing Café! The ultimate fashion design and sewing cafe for kids located in Delray Beach, FL is turning heads across South Florida and also turning 1 year old this month! They say sewing is a dying art but it’s not true. At La Sewing Café, kids get to learn how to sew and bring their fashion designs to life. Who knows – the next Coco Chanel or Gianni Versace might be in the room making popular American Girl doll dresses and using old clothes to create new fashion finds!”

- Alicia Sanchez, La Sewing Café

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Experts Weigh In: Best Business Decision I Made in 2013 I’m Repeating in 2014

Best Business Decision I Made in 2013 I’m Repeating in 2014 Here at MyCorp we’re always happy to see businesses succeed and love to hear about the keys to their success, which more often than not includes making good decisions and repeating them in the days, months, and years to come for the company. As we wrap up the end of the year, today we interviewed 13 business experts to get their feedback on the best business decision they made in 2013 – and how they plan on repeating it in 2014.

1. “The best business decision I made in 2013 was joining EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization), a global business network of about 9,500 business owners with a very personal flavor. It’s something I’ll definitely stick with for 2014. I am a partner in a 13-year-old boutique advertising agency in New Jersey, and we have reached a steady size and comfort level, but we know we can be more. EO has a unique component called the ‘Forum,’ which is a small group of 6-10 business owners from different disciplines. Forums meet monthly and grow very close, which among other things enables them to serve as a de facto board of directors. Forum members hold each other accountable for business and personal goals, provide feedback and insight, share experiences and sometimes just offer emotional support. The monthly influx of ideas and enthusiasm is invaluable, especially for an entrepreneur like myself who started a business with professional experience but without business training. In addition to the Forum experience, EO holds learning, inspirational and just outright fun events that continuously sharpen the tools I need to be a more effective leader in my company.”

- Adam Schnitzler, Chief Creative Officer, The S3 Agency

2. “Outsourcing is the best decision I’ll remake. Outsourcing web development and SEO this year freed up time to explore other investment opportunities and meet with prospective clients. I’ll continue to invest in outsourcing in 2014 as a means to be able to focus on activities that allow us to continue to grow our business efficiently.”

- Michael Lallana, CEO, Mila Venture Group 

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