As a mom of three and grandma of two, I have worn several hats throughout the years – corporate employee, a stay-at-home mom, Scout leader, baseball coach, volunteer and, most notably, a local safe haven homeowner. From adopting an elderly woman in order to provide a safe living to welcoming teenagers with rough home lives, to renting a larger home so my mother, daughter, and grandchildren could live with me, I’ve had an open-door policy for as long as I could remember.
Before becoming a small business owner, I had been sure that I was settling into my retirement years. However, I could never have anticipated that my open-door home policy would fuel a passion for a second-act career in my 50s, proving it’s never too late to become an entrepreneur.
Historically, women have faced career challenges associated with leaving the workforce for a period of time to raise their children. This obstacle can deter women from following through on a career path cut short, or an entrepreneurial dream never seen to fruition. With many experiencing these difficulties, I wanted to share a few learned lessons and pieces of advice on how to overcome the “it’s too late” mindset and pursue a new career or dream.
1.Find a Business That Aligns with Your Natural Strengths …
Perhaps you were a former teacher, or maybe you left Corporate America to focus on family. Regardless of your previous profession, a career in a completely new industry is not unattainable. As we grow as women, we learn more about our passions, interests, and strengths, and those may change throughout the years. A “second act” career will certainly have its own hurdles to overcome, so identify what career path or business investment aligns best with what you’re naturally good at.
For example, I left my corporate job to raise my children, but once timing was right, I began applying again. Out of the workforce for nearly a decade, employers were wary of my lack of work-related experience during that time, and finding another corporate position proved difficult. I decided to re-evaluate this decision – why was I pursuing this position? Because I was great at customer service and have a natural ability and desire to help others. This led me to consider new career paths in in-home healthcare, nursing and, finally, small business ownership. My natural aptitude for customer service paired with my longstanding dedication to creating a safe home environment for my family, friends, and community led me to the perfect business opportunity – WIN Home Inspection, a home inspection franchise dedicated to providing top-notch service to best prepare a home for its next family.
2.… But Try to Keep Your Hobbies Separate
Do take the above advice with caution – many assume that finding a business/job that aligns with their natural strengths means finding a business/job that aligns with their hobbies or personal interests. This is often not the case, and sometimes even discouraged. Mixing “business with pleasure” can hinder your ability to enjoy that hobby or interest, in the same manner, you used to before it became ingrained with your career. Focus on what you do best, and success will follow. While I hadn’t originally considered home inspection as my “second act,” it became a natural fit after evaluating how the business aligned with my values and professional strengths.
3.Be Flexible & Patient
Finding the perfect “second act” takes time, diligence and patience. Attend expos, discuss potential options with friends and former colleagues and research, research, research!
I happened to hear about the WIN Home Inspection franchise opportunity after bumping into a friend in the community. The home inspection industry is predominately male, which makes my involvement and success in the industry all the more impressive. I’ve managed to sustain 10-15 percent growth each year and hope to continue this success moving forward. However, this would have never been possible without my dedication to exploring as many options as possible before settling on the path that was truly right for me and my community.
Embarking on a new career journey is a daunting task, but can be extremely rewarding if done so with heart, passion and patience. Find a business opportunity or job that not only excites you but allows you to leverage your established experience as a professional woman while leaving a positive impact on those around for you for the ultimate “second act.”
About Erica Miller
Erica Miller is the owner of WIN Home Inspection Yucaipa in California. WIN Home Inspection, founded in 1993 in Seattle, Washington, is one of the fastest growing home inspection companies in the United States with more than 190 locations in 32 states. For more information, visit https://yucaipa.wini.com/.