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 http://www.jeannewell.com/ 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 Jean@JeanNewell.com for a complimentary advisory consultation.