Of the many lessons learned over the past year-plus of the pandemic, was the importance of time. Some had their workplaces go from office buildings to their kitchen tables, others found themselves furloughed, while the rest were amongst the ranks of essential workers. Nevertheless, the pandemic presented all workers with the time to evaluate where they were in terms of their jobs and careers.
Many working women who are north of forty and fifty-plus had side hustles to supplement their income. Some worked part-time jobs, while others dabbled in entrepreneurship baking cakes, catering, organizational services, styling, painting, or decorating services to name a few, they decided to make money doing something they love that would add to the family income pot. The pandemic presented a unique opportunity to take the training wheels off to become a full-fledged business.
Going into any business full-time as a start-up is a risk. It’s the reason why most don’t quit their day job. There is a lot of uncertainty and if you’re over forty, it’s especially daunting. While it also requires the support of family, friends, and spouses, hearing from women who have been through it helps a great deal too.
Recently CNBC did a profile of Vera Wang for CNBC’s Make It. In it, the bridal and fashion titan discusses the journey she went on when she started her company at the age of 40.
Like many other entrepreneurs, her journey began out of necessity when she was getting married. She couldn’t find a gown she liked and as someone who worked at the mecca of fashion, Vogue, wearing just any dress was out of the question.
“If anyone had said, (I’d be) the girl who didn’t get married until she was 40 (and) would build a business based on wedding gowns, I would have laughed.” Vera Wang
It was her father who saw her dilemma as an opportunity, while Ms. Wang wasn’t sure of it. She thought it was too late in her life to take on such an immense proposition. Eventually, she did it with her father’s encouragement and seed money to open her flagship salon at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. That was in 1990 and the rest is fashion history.
“There have been a million days where I said to myself, ‘What was I thinking?’ or ‘Why did I do this?’” Wang says. “But there have been way more days where I felt extremely lucky to be doing something that I love so much and learning new lessons as not only (as a) designer but as an entrepreneur every day.”Vera Wang, CNBC Make It
It’s important to note that even with immense success Vera Wang still had her moments. She had a successful career as an editor for Vogue and was in the running to become the editor in chief when Grace Mirabella left the magazine in 1988. Vera Wang was already doing something she loved, but she made the decision to do something new and she bet on herself.
While most working women aren’t doing something as glamorous as being a fashion editor, they are working and exceling in their chosen fields. Some are executives and higher ups at their companies, and others may not have titles, but they enjoy their work. Leaving to open a business isn’t something to take lightly. There are so many unknowns in play. However, there is one great big positive, the biggest asset is in the mirror.
As women north of forty and fifty-plus, we have enough life experience to approach going into business with more than a little savvy. After years of multitasking to juggle family and careers, we can handle it when a few more balls are tossed our way. Most importantly, there are more resources to help for those of us who don’t have a father who could fund us with a check. There are programs for women of color and women who want to start a business. The SBA offers counseling and mentorship through SCORE. They also have loans to assist small business for women and minorities. Most states have programs to assist women in business. You can go online to see what your state and municipality offers as well.
Although it seems very pie in the sky to believe we can have the same success as Vera Wang, it really isn’t. Many major names in business are of the rags to riches type. Spanx founder, Susan Blakely, Debbi Fields of Mrs. Field’s Cookies, and Lisa Price of Carol’s Daughter come to mind.
We are only as limited as our imaginations. The word dreams seem to fit here, and while dreams are limitless, imagination stems from reality. It’s what we used to entertain ourselves as children in the age before video games and virtual reality. We can use imagination to help flesh out the details and bring our vision into focus. It’s also important to live in the present. If we learned nothing else over the last unprecedented year, we should keep that at the forefront of our minds. If you have the desire to make this happen, take the leap and bet on yourself. Remember, there’s only one thing worse than failure and that’s not trying at all.
May 20, 2021, 10:58 PM EDT / Source: CNBC By Jade Scipioni, CNBC