Are you familiar with the song ‘7 Years’ that topped the charts a few years ago? It chronicles how life changes through the years. The part that particularly resonates with me is:
‘Soon I’ll be 60 years old, my Daddy got 61
Remember life and then your life becomes a better one
I made a man so happy when I wrote a letter once
I hope my children come and visit once or twice a month
Soon I’ll be 60 years old,
Will I think the world is cold?
Or will I have a lot of children who can hold me?
I’m not sure whether I’m more concerned by ‘remember life’ or the implication that happiness at 60 depends on our children. I believe that at 60 and beyond we should still be living life to the full and that can mean starting, or continuing to grow, a business.
When we run a business there is no arbitrary retirement age, no externally imposed cap on our income and no putting us out to grass when we still have so much left to give. However if we’re still doing business in the way we always did it may no longer serve our purpose.
I set up my business in 1991 when my first child was a baby. My ‘why’ was to create some financial independence and brain space for me but in a way that was flexible to allow me to be there for the children. That baby and her brother are now young adults with careers of their own and they don’t need me in the way they did 20 odd years ago. I still want financial freedom and brain activity but the flexibility I now crave is not to have my life constrained by my business. I want the freedom to travel, to support my aged parents when they need it and to have fun whilst I still can!
The time has come for a fresh look at the way I do business. I love my clients and I love my work but it’s time for some brave decisions. Time to consider what aspects of my work justify the time and energy I spend on them. Time to consider whether there is a better way to meet the needs of my ideal customer whilst also meeting my needs. Time to relinquish what is not serving me well.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve adapted my business. 24 years ago I was delivering training and consultancy on publically funded programmes. The tools of my trade were flipcharts and overhead projector slides! Public money for business support has now shrunk to virtually nothing and PowerPoint has consigned the OHP to the scrapheap. My business had to adapt or go under. We’ve seen a technological revolution since I started my business. The Internet has created a global market place and ever developing technologies make it easier than ever to serve a bigger audience. The opportunities for growing my business are greater than ever if I’m prepared to continue to learn and experiment.
What about you? Does your business still serve your ‘why’? Is it time to take a fresh look at the way you do business, to seize new opportunities and to set up your business for the life you want to lead in the future?
If you have decided to explore the possibility of running a business in your middle age then you might be interested in my step by step guide, ‘Founded after 40: how to start a business when you haven’t got time to waste.’ It’s available on Amazon at £14.99 and includes a downloadable workbook that turns into your business plan.