My name is Sharon and I am one of the founders of 50PlusStartup. You can read my bio and know that I am rolling towards my mid 50s and love being this age. I had a long and winding road through the corporate world. I worked for several major corporations including JC Penney, Hyatt International Hotels and United Airlines.
After not only realizing, but accepting, that I could only move so far up the corporate ladder during this time period (I like to think things are different now), I started my first company. I loved my company. It provided training and documentation services to Fortune 100 companies such as AT&T, Amoco, Sears, Bank of America and Waste Management. I did quite a bit of subcontracting for Microsoft and was a Microsoft Certified Trainer for several of their products. During the longest project we ever facilitated, I managed 20+ contract trainer, 8 training rooms at 2 locations and we generated over 2,000 pages of custom documentation in 6 weeks. I loved my business and had no plans to ever stop.
The cosmos had other plans. I was on the road 3 to 4 weeks a month and billed out at huge amounts of money. Since I only brought on contractors when I needed to and being between projects I was doing the majority of the training and development myself. Not a bad thing; I loved the work. And a miracle happened, after seven years of trying, I became pregnant. And at 4 months because of a medical issues that occurred while I was flying cross-country, I was grounded. Everything came to a grinding halt. No real plan B. At least there wasn't for the next 6 weeks. Then the clouds parted and a another miracle happened in the form of a book offer. I finished out the remainder of my pregnancy writing. And I continued writing as a form of income generation for the next few years and added a programming job in here and there because I'm enough of a nerd to actually find programming fun.
It seems that life rarely goes moves in a straight line and as such, another zig and zag came into play, this time in the form of a seriously nasty divorce (FYI, I wasn't the one that wasn't playing nice.) Suddenly I was a single mom with monetary challenges. I had two options: go back to my old job or find a new job. I could have easily gone back into corporate training making the big bucks but traveling extensively, leaving my son to be raised by a nanny. I didn't like that option at all plus my son was struggling a little with the emotional aspects of divorce. I felt strongly that I needed to be there for my son (and if you every are lucky enough to meet my son you'll agree that he is an amazing young man and that I made the right choice.) Because I made my son's needed to be physically and emotionally present I decided to become a teacher so that I would have benefits, a steady though tragically small paycheck and I would be on his schedule. Basically I took a zero off the end of my annual income to be there for him and I don't regret that decision at all. Now its my time. He's at college and I feel comfortable taking more risks.
Returning to a world that I love as a business owner is quite a bit of excitement in and of itself but to return in such a way that I'm going to be able to support others in following their dreams is even more amazing.
I would love to know about your journey. How did you get to where you are now? What is driving you to own your own business? Let me know in the comments. I would love to get to know you better!