Thursday, November 20, 2014

What to do with your great idea

After my appearance on the TODAY SHOW, I was approached by NASA to help train and mentor their aerospace employees facing unemployment with the downsizing of the space program. This new Entrepreneurial retraining program offered these technically trained employees an opportunity to find another source of income when their space center contracts expired.
NASA’s 8 week business training programs were designed to show these aspiring entrepreneurs what they would need to start a business such as:
  • a business plan
  • finding capital
  • internet marketing
  • social networking
just to name a few. Each semester I was teamed with NASA employees to help them learn how to self- market their business, product or service.

These thousands of space center employees represent the millions of other Americans who have recently received their pink slip. Baby Boomers who have a vast knowledge and long successful track record in one industry, suddenly find themselves not only without a job, but more importantly without a career. These aerospace engineers, many with 30 plus years of a highly technical training, may not be able to transfer their expertise to another industry.
You may have found yourself or someone you know experiencing this same situation. You’re 45, 50, 55 or more years old with a great resume in a wavering or non- existent industry.

Self -employment may be your best solution. Where do you start? What should you do? Who should you contact? Start by gathering information at . I have information for you, the aspiring entrepreneurs. Take the evaluation test and request my new book “How to Turn Your Pink Slip into a Red Hot Business”. Together we can accomplish anything. Call me at 800 513-2025 and let’s discuss the possibilities

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Wonder if celebrity endorsements are important?

Have you ever wondered how certain products find their way to celebrities?  You see celebrities not only wearing the designer clothes, shoes and carrying high ticket handbags, but they often wear a necklace, hat or accessory that is not a name brand or designer item.  Most often if the celebrity is photographed with that new (non brand) item on and it's published in one of the celebrity "scene" magazines like: People, Star and The National Enquirer, the product's sales sky rocket.
Why? Because the association with a Celebrity is now the universal mantra for a real or implied endorsement.

If you're a frequent attendee at business seminars or you're a student of marketing you probably have learned that WORD of MOUTH is the number one marketing tool. Social networks such as Facebook, twitter, blogs and Youtube are a great starting point and absolutely needed in the W.O.M formula.  The best form of Word of Mouth is a testimonial.   In  my opinion, the best testimonial is publicity.  Publicity can be in the form of an interview with your local newspaper - to a review of your product on a network television show.

There's nothing better than having a credible source talk about  you or your business.  By wearing your product, using your service or mentioning your business, celebrities are "by association" endorsing your business. Check out this 1 minute video from the Bonnie Hunt Show.

   If you would like more information on how you can get your business recognized by celebrities check out this article where I am quoted ( #23) regarding celebrity endorsements.
For more information on how to be your own PR agent and find those celebrity endorsements please contact me at
Live your passion,

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Are You a Fearless Boomer Starting Over?

Matt Lauer and Jean Newell

FEARLESS BOOMERS - Matt Lauer interviews Jean Newell on the Today Show.

As a Boomer'preneur, everyday I’m approached by people who ask “What’s your secret Jean and how did you do it? More importantly, how can I do it too”? Today’s financial crunch is hitting everyone from the minimum wage earner to even those who would appear to have it all. On the news recently I saw that even Hugh Hefner is affected. It was reported that he may have to say good-bye to some of his girl friends to keep from going bankrupt. If anything could be a barometer of our serious economical times, surely this would be the example!
The good news is, Americans do not have the reputation of folding under pressure. We push up our sleeves and get to work fixing the problem. While the economists and the politicians work on creating a solution or at best a band -aid for our national economy, we as individuals can do our part to keep ourselves afloat.

We know the formula for a sound economy; you can’t spend more than what you make. Simple, yet Americans have been mirroring what our country has been doing for years. We’re living on credit while our money experts like Suze Orman teach “cash is king” and Dave Ramsey preaches, "The paid off home mortgage is the new status symbol of the BMW."

As a Florida resident the imminent fear of a hurricane is always present. During hurricane season we are constantly made aware of the emergency guidelines and check lists we need to protect ourselves and our family until “help” arrives. It’s drummed into our heads that there may not be utilities for weeks, so we must have our own supply of water, food and back up power. I’ve survived dozens of hurricane seasons in Florida and what I have found is, neighbors come together to help each other during a crisis. As Americans we may be seeing a new "coming together" to ride out this financial storm as well.

As the finger pointing of blame continues, the bottom-line is, most of us can’t wait for the rescue boat to arrive.

People are taking in boarders, starting their own home-based businesses and tightening up their spending belt. Baby Boomers are especially finding these time more challenging. Those recently laid off may find it difficult, if not impossible to find another job. Retirees who have looked forward to their golden years are now standing in line with teenagers vying for minimum wage jobs.

You can survive this economic storm with this check list.

#1 Take Control of your situation. Start searching for income alternatives while you pursue you next career move.
#2 Evaluate your talents and knowledge. What is your passion? What talents can you use from your previous job or career that you could use now as a consultant. We sometimes forget about our hobbies and favorite past times. Are you a good golfer, tennis player, musician? Use these talents as a temporary income producer. Your hobby of yesterday could very well be your economic future. Have you always prided yourself with your organizational skills. Why not help organize other peoples lives.
#3 Make three lists. On a sheet of paper draw a line down the center of the page and make 2 columns.

1) On the left side of your paper write down a list everything you like to do. Make no judgments and don't edit. If you like to watch football on Sunday, put it down. By not editing your thoughts you'll automatically switch over to your creative side.
2) On the right side of the paper list all of skills you do well. Again make no judgements. If you frequently hear how beautiful your lawn looks, write it down.
3) On a separate sheet of paper ask several people you know what they feel are your strong points. Have them write them in one word adjectives. (for a list of adjectives for your test please visit my business site

Now let's look at your lists. Go back and now pick 3-5 things from each list. Is there an underlining thread. Whether you decide to embark on a new career by starting your own business or you’re simply looking for a part-time solution in-between employers, you’ll want to explore opportunities that are solution oriented.A solution oriented profession is one that can solve a problem for a person or company that they can not do for themselves because of:

* lack of time
* expertise
* interest

As the news reports everyday, companies are scaling back but still need specific services. Perhaps you can offer your services on a consulting basis. Look for opportunities that take little or no funding to get started. Look around your home, neighborhood and community.
Is there something you’ve found lacking? As an example pet owners are spending record amounts of money on their animals. Designer clothes, daycare centers and dog parks are popping up everywhere. Have you heard co-workers, golf buddies or your neighbors mentioning how guilty they feel leaving Rover at home all day. What about the family who doesn’t want to put their pets in a kennel when they travel. If you have written on your “Things you like to do list”, that you like animals, you love the outdoors and your friends have written "reliable and trustworthy" as your descriptive adjectives perhaps a pet service business is in your future.
Using the above example you’ll want to investigate the national pet organizations, affiliations and local licensing that may be required. But the point to be made is, you must stop thinking of yourself as what you were and start thinking of what you can be.

I was a 35 year veteran real estate agent. I'm now an entrepreneur. I used my knowledge, work skills and experiences from my real estate career and applied them to my own company. As a Realtor we were considered independent contractors and operated accordingly. Successful agents ran their “business” with the same guidelines as a fortune 500 company. We had operating budgets which included: marketing, advertising, expenses and projections. We had responsibilities to our clients, and had to orchestrate many people and accomplish dozens of tasks within a specific time line to facilitate a closing. I found all of these tasks and challenges would resurface time and again just in a new form within my new career. The quickest business start ups with the least amount of financial outlay are:

* Consulting
* Service
* Teaching
* Web sales (Ebay, etc)

The most expensive venture would be a storefront or business that requires equipment, a brick and mortar address, inventory, and a staff . Whatever road you explore be cautious of the Opportunists that will quickly separate you from your money. Before you invest in the advertised "work from home" business opportunities, invention companies or investment seminars, first check with your Small Business Administration, Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to make sure they are legitimate.

Before you start your business arrange a meeting with the Small Business Administration office. Your local college and SBA will have free seminars, mentoring and advice for finding new business opportunities. They also provide training classes in: marketing, computer skills and finance. Take advantage of every class made available to you. Start by visiting my website at for articles and audio links to help you on your road to success.
Live Your Passion, Jean Newell

Do you have a great idea for a product or service, but just don't know where to go or what to do with it? Call me at 800 513-2025 or email me at for a complimentary advisory consultation.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Boomers Mean Business

As the 50 plus age group postpones retirement in lieu of starting a new business, it has become apparent that Baby Boomers are playing a significant role in reshaping the look and characterization of today’s entrepreneurs. A new study on retirement from Merrill Lynch says 76 percent of the 78 million Boomers intend to continue to work into their retirement years.

Although the reasons for continuing to work or branching out on their own may vary, corporate down sizing , unplanned layoffs and diminishing investments are forcing Boomers to look for alternative sources of income.

Another segment of this age group is the “sandwich generation”. These are Boomers who are “sandwiched” between 2 or 3 generations. They may still be taking care of their own children and/or grand children while also tending to the needs of their elderly parents. Many in this situation must continue to work to offset these added financial responsibilities.

A home-based business would seem the perfect fit.

According to a recent study by the AARP, 16.4 percent of the 5.6 million working Baby Boomers aged 50 and older, are self-employed.

In the book, “The Best Home Businesses for People 50+”, the hottest self-employment careers for Baby Boomers are: service and consulting. Another popular trend for Baby Boomers is turning a hobby into income.

For Boomers like me, one of the advantages of a start up business, in lieu of our younger counterparts, is a lifetime of experience such as: people skills, business contacts, management and a strong work ethic.

After a 35-year-career in real estate, I realized the only way I would be able to offset rising inflation and the declining real estate market was to take control of my own income destiny.
I decided to develop and market my own inventions. If you are considering starting your own business, check to see if you have any of these traits associated with successful entrepreneurs.

1) A strong belief in self.

2) A determining drive and a “can do’ attitude.

3) A natural leader. Can you take charge a moments notice?

4) Quick thinker and multi-tasker. Orchestrating multiple projects is second nature to you.

5) Able to delegate when necessary. You can’t be all things to all people.

6) The will to survive. When everything and everyone is falling apart around you, you’re like a dog with a bone. You just won’t let go of the task at hand. NO, is not in your vocabulary.

If a home based business is in your future. Start with your local Small Business Administration and college adult education classes. Many colleges and organizations offer free courses for start-up businesses and cover topics such as: marketing, bookkeeping, computer software and finance.

click here for Free Resources

Live Your Passion, Jean Newell, The Boomerpreneur

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Part 3 -Are You a Canidate for a Home Based Business?

By Jean Newell, Boomerprenuer

Were you born between 1946-1964? If so and you’re thinking about starting a home based business, you will be joining the ranks of the fastest growing segment of the population becoming entrepreneurs; baby boomers.

At midlife and beyond, more and more people are searching for new financial solutions. Many boomers ready to retire now find their portfolios aren’t as solvent as predicted and the need for additional streams of income has become a necessity. A home- based business would seem to be the perfect solution.

Business gurus suggest if you do something that you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. The truth of the mater is, you will work longer hours than ever before for little or no income as your business slowly develops. It may seem obvious, but if you’re still employed don’t quit your day job until you’ve done your due diligence.

Here are some tips to consider when planning a home-based business:

1) Make sure there is a need for your new business, service or product. Hold focus groups with your friends, family and associates to get their input on your business idea.

2) Keep your costs at a minimum. Work out of your home as long as possible. Don’t be tempted to rent a building, office or warehouse space until it’s absolutely warranted.

3) Take advantage of the free advice, counseling and seminars offered by the Small Business Administration and other business associations found in your local universities. These organizations offer seminars on marketing, computers, bookkeeping and finance. This is also an excellent opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs.

4) Keep a file of business cards of all of the people you meet. Enter their contact information into an electronic database. Stay in touch with these associates every couple of months by email or postcard with a short scenario of your business progression. These first business contacts are your building blocks to your networking database.

5) Find a mentor who will help guide you through the initial phase of operation. This person can be retired from the same business you are exploring or currently employed in a non competing field.

6) Research your field. Are there any licenses or special affiliations you will need to obtain? Does your municipality or homeowner’s associations allow a home based business?

7) Create a business plan and determine what funding you will need for: start up expenses, equipment or inventory of goods. Because of the subprime mortgage crisis, banks are far more conservative now than in the past few years. Their main focus is on your ability to pay back the loan as opposed to what the money will be used for.

I found as a new business it was a challenge to find funding. Several years ago I needed a short term loan to fulfill a large order with QVC. I assumed because I had a purchase order it would be simple. Every bank I went to said “How long have you been in business?” Unfortunately, four months was not the answer they were looking for. Luckily I had previously opened a home equity loan which had a -0- balance, which I used.

If you are currently employed, obtain a line of credit now, while you have the necessary income to qualify. Don’t make the mistake of trying to get a loan after you retire or leave a job. You may need to explore other avenues as well. Does your retirement fund have a pay out or private loan associated with it?

As a Boomer you may be tempted to cash out a life insurance policy or your 401K. Here lies the difference between Boomers and their junior counterparts. Younger entrepreneurs can afford to make a few mistakes and still have time to financially bounce back, while Boomers may not have sufficient time to make up a financial loss.

In summary, if a home based business is in your future, plan ahead for funding, research your field, use the educational facilities of the Small Business Administration and colleges to increase your odds of success.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Focus groups step #2 Exploring the possibilities

You have your idea for a new widget, now let’s see if the world agrees with you. Start by sharing your idea with friends and family. Get their feed back. If you can survive this step you’re ready for comments from potential customers. But let’s first examine our immediate group .... “the family”.

What I have personally experienced as well as shared knowledge from other entrepreneurs is: friends and family are divided into 3 groups.

1)Those that don’t want to see you get hurt so they are the protectors. They want you to stay at your current job and dabble in your “little” business. They don’t want you to spend any money or take any chances. They want to keep you safe from failure.

2) Then there are the naysayers. If the truth be told these people are jealous of anything you do. They appear to want the best for you but in reality they don't want you to succeed. Plus,, they don’t seem too crazy about the idea anyway. Comments from this group go something like this "I've seen other products like that. There's nothing new in that idea". Or "it will cost a fortune to invent a product and what do you know about that anyway".

3) Then there is, “the worshiper”, the relative or friend who loves everything you do. You can do no wrong with these people. You hear phrases from them like, “You’ve got what it takes” and “How can any company or customer resist you“. Or "Oprah will be giving it to her audience as her Favorite Thing." If you hear comments like that ....take it in stride.

Now lets find some real opinions that you can use.

You'll want to hold a focus group. What’s a focus group? It can be an informal meeting with one person at lunch or as elaborate as an advertised event facilitated by a marketing company, where the attendees are paid for their opinions.

Your focus group whether it’s 1 or 8 should be made up of your target audience. As an example, my first product ,the Personal Utility Pouch or PUP was originally invented to hold my business essentials. A professional tool belt of sorts. During the concept stage, I approached my fellow associates and asked their opinions on the size and design as well as the material. It would not have made sense to get the opinions of say; teen age boys if that wasn’t my potential customer.

Another inexpensive way to reach a lot of people is your email list. Send a short letter asking them for their opinion or advice. Don’t worry at this point that someone in cyberspace will be “stealing” your idea. In your email you’re not going to disclose what you are exactly going to create only the solution to a problem. Using the PUP as an example, I wrote a letter to my email list with the following question.

Have you ever had to call your own cell phone to find it?

If so, I would like to ask your opinion. I have invented a wearable organizer to hold my multiple electronic devices in addition to my daily essentials. It will not look like anything else on the market. When worn around the waist it remains flat and could easily be hidden under a shirt or jacket. You will also be able to wear it over your shoulder or across your chest.
Question: If you were to wear this accessory on your waist, would 6 X 8 inches be about the right size? Yes, No Ask them 3 or 4 questions with yes or no, or multiple choice questions. Perhaps colors, size, price range, frequency of use. Keeping in mind when it’s only a concept, people will answer logically but when they can actually see and feel the product they will react emotionally.

To recap: Your first focus group is strictly to gather facts. You’ll have many more focus groups in the future as your product materializes.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thoughts from a Baby Boomer Inventor

The first thing you need as a Baby Boomer inventor is an IDEA.

We've all had those moments when we've asked ourselves why a specific item, service or process works the way it does. For an example: Why do many scissor manufacturers' package their scissors in a sealed plastic container where the only way to open the package is with a pair of scissors? Or the instructions on the eyeglass repair kit are so small you can't read them without wearing your glasses that you're trying to repair. Is it just me? Or are the manufacturers of our everyday items just playing with our heads? Whatever the case, this is the perfect opportunity to put on your creative hat and when these little things start to bug you, find a solution to the problem. This is how the process starts. When something doesn't work right or the product needs to be bigger, smaller in a different color or completely redesigned instead of just shaking your head in disgust, get creative.

In future posts I'll take you through the very beginning stages of how I took an idea to market. In the mean time, start looking around for ways to improve things you use everyday.

Watch my favorite business show CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Duetsch who will inspire you to go forward with your ideas.
Until next time,
Invest in yourself, Jean Newell