The Mature Entrepreneur Manifesto

© 2015 All Rights Reserved, Charles DiLisio

© 2015 All Rights Reserved, Charles DiLisio

My name is Brian D. Jones, and I host The MaturEntrepreneur.

I’m 57 years old and starting a new business. My business goal is to inspire and support older people with entrepreneurial dreams.

Some may think I’m too old to start doing this. Send me out to pasture. Reserve my rocking chair.

Others say being an entrepreneur is a young person’s game. Young people have the energy, the drive, the ability to go the distance and recover from mistakes.

To which I reply – BRING IT ON!

I’ve got a lot to offer. The opportunities are endless. There is no better time to be an entrepreneur than right now.

No matter what your age.

I’m going to share my entrepreneurial journey with you here at The MaturEntrepreneur. I will document what I do and what happens along the way.

I’m also going to share how I got to this point, as well as things I’ve learned that have inspired me.

So come along for the ride.

Better yet, share your own story here so we can inspire others together.

Join The MaturEntrepreneur Revolution!

Too Old to Start a Business? I Think Not…and I’m Not the Only One

Are you really too old to start your dream business? Maybe you just need some inspiration.

Here is an oversize dose of inspiration for every MaturEntrepreneur from famous entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.

There are several things I like about this ‘rant’ by Gary Vee:

  • His passion for older entrepreneurs to just do it.
  • The value he sees in our experience.
  • The point that older entrepreneurs weren’t born into this new entrepreneurial blueprint. But we we can educate ourselves about this new world.
  • The fact that we need to lose the old ideas that no longer serve us.
  • That we must PUT IN THE WORK! Not at the expense of our family, but we must move our entrepreneurial dreams forward in our free time. Be mindful of your time, and stop wasting it.
  • Start now, and you won’t regret it. Don’t start now, and you WILL have regrets when you are older.

There were also a couple areas of Gary Vee’s ‘rant’ where I did not agree:

  • He talks about needing the ‘right DNA’ to be an older entrepreneur. I disagree. The ‘right DNA’ to me implies something you either have or don’t have. I firmly believe ANYONE can become a MaturEntrepreneur with a commitment to the process and a willingness to do the work.
  • Gary Vee talks about working as a MaturEntrepreneur outside the 9-5 in the time period of 7pm-2am. He mentions his own work schedule lasting until midnight. Gary Vaynerchuk is notorious for working extremely hard and working LONG hours. I think everyone must find the work pace that for them is sustainable. The key is to keep moving forward. I also like to think that MaturEntrepreneurs can prioritize and be more efficient than our younger counterparts. You won’t realize your dreams if you burn out along the way.

I hope you are inspired to reach your MaturEntrepreneur dreams!

Over 50 and Starting a Business? Here’s Your Hidden Advantage

Are the odds stacked against us Over 50 entrepreneurs?

I don’t think so. If we use our Intuition Advantage.

Think about the last time you had a ‘gut feeling’ about something. Believe it or not, your gut contains more neurons than the entire brain of a house cat.

That ‘gut feeling’ is an example of your intuition coming to the surface to guide you.

Intuition is that soft voice of wisdom whispering inside you. The one that knows what is right for you. That knows what is best for you.

Because it is YOU. The true you. Inside yourself is everything you’ve learned. Everything you’ve experienced. Everything that is important to you.

There is just one problem.

Your intuition is such a quiet voice that it gets drowned out. Drowned out by the noise of our busy lives. Drowned out by distractions.

And especially drowned out by your voice of judgment (VOJ) that thinks it is protecting you. But the VOJ instead is preserving the status quo and limiting your dreams.

So how do you tap into the power of your intuition?

You must quiet your mind so that the soft voice of your intuition can come through.

“… Do you have the patience to wait                                      till your mud settles and the water is clear?                  Can you remain unmoving                                                        till the right action arises by itself? ...”                                                                Tao Te Ching #15, translation by Stephen Mitchell

Here are some ways to access your intuition:

Meditation

Meditation is my go-to way to tap into my intuition. My meditation practice began over 25 years ago. I meditate for 30 minutes every day.

The MaturEntrepreneur exists because the idea came to me during a meditation.

Prayer

For those with a spiritual practice, prayer can be an excellent method.

Exercise

The focus of a workout can be just the thing to quiet the mind and let your intuition come through.

Time in Nature

Something like a hike in a forest can be a calming influence for your intuition.

In the Shower

Don’t everyone’s best ideas come in the shower?

What to Do Next

Find what works best for you to quiet your mind and allow your intuition to shine through. Consider the examples above, or any other method that you come up with. Spend time each day doing what works best for you.

Keep a pencil and paper handy to record ideas from your intuition while they are fresh.

You’ll be glad you did.

How Your Customer Avatar Helps Attract Real Live Customers

In the previous post, I wrote about creating your Customer Avatar, or just Avatar for short. Your Avatar embodies the characteristics of your ideal customer.

But your Avatar is not real. They can’t buy from you. Then why is your avatar so important?

Benefits of Knowing Your Avatar

When your business is new, gaining trust will be job #1 for you.

The phrase that’s often used is:

Know, Like and Trust

Trust must come BEFORE you have actual paying customers, because customers must TRUST you before they’ll pay you for anything.

Think of your own experiences shopping online. Would you give your credit card information to a website the first time you visit? Most people want to first establish a relationship with that site. Most people need to first feel comfortable.

You gain your customer’s trust by providing compelling value and helpful information. By letting your Avatar drive your value and information strategy, customers will instantly feel like they belong. Offer your customers consistent messages that that match your Avatar profile. These are the messages that will resonate with customers.

Because you are speaking directly to them, you become the obvious choice for them. You make them feel understood. You reinforce who they are and who they want to be.

Your Avatar can also drive decisions on the products and services you provide.

Selling will become easier. After all, you will just be giving customers what they want.

Your marketing will result in:

  • Better leads
  • Higher conversion of leads
  • Faster conversion of leads
  • Fewer customer complaints

Using Your Avatar

Create your Avatar to the level of detail that makes sense to you. Compile information about your ideal customer that applies to the business you want to create.

Read your Avatar profile often to keep your finger on the pulse of your customers.

Consider creating a short story about your Avatar. Review the story on a regular basis.

After creating your Avatar, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is there a business opportunity? Do they have a pain? Can you solve it?
  • If you offer a product or service, can they pay?
  • Do you think they will pay?

If the answer to any of these questions is NO, you may need to rethink your direction.

Use your Avatar to ask and answer questions you may have about your customers’ issues:

  • What problems they have that make them an ideal for your business?
  • What are they secretly afraid of?
  • What is the worst thing that could happen if they DON’T solve their problem?
  • What would that mean to them?
  • What would that mean to their family?
  • What would that mean to their friends?
  • How might their lifestyle change?
  • What would be the financial implications?
  • What would be the career implications?
  • What is the BEST outcome if their problem IS solved?
  • How would they view the perfect solution?
  • What do they really want?
  • What would they be willing to pay for a solution?
  • How can your business meet their real needs and desires?

If your business is aimed at people like you, it’s easy to put yourself in your Avatar’s shoes:

  • What do you fear about your own life?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What stresses you out?
  • What do you find yourself avoiding because of fear?
  • How do you think others would react if they found out about your fears?
  • What might happen if your fears get worse?
  • What do you secretly wish could change about your situation?
  • What is the dream solution that you’d pay almost anything for?
  • What is the story of that dream solution unfolding?
  • How will others respond if you fix this situation?
  • With the situation fixed, what opportunities open up for you?

Your Avatar can direct you to places where you can learn more about potential customers. Go to the places where you can find and interact with customers. Such as:

  • Their social media sites
  • Websites they frequent
  • Groups for which they are members
  • Organizations for which they belong
  • Places where they have fun

Interacting with potential customers on their turf will allow you to better understand them, update your Avatar, and serve them best.

What to Do Next

If you haven’t already, create your own Customer Avatar.

When you have your Avatar, pick a few of the questions above that you feel are most important. Answer those questions for your Avatar. Then use those questions and answers when you communicate with potential customers.

With the right Avatar, your customers will say to themselves:

“This person is speaking directly to me.”

Which you are now doing, thanks to your Avatar.

Why ‘Avatar’ is Important for Your New Business Over 50

James Cameron’s movie Avatar was groundbreaking cinema.

‘Avatar’ is groundbreaking for your over 50 business.

Here’s why:

Your Customer Avatar

Creating your Customer Avatar is the most important strategy for a successful business.

For the rest of this post I’ll use the term “Avatar” as shorthand for “Customer Avatar.”

So, who is your Avatar?

Your Avatar is simply a characterization of the ideal customer you want to serve. Your Avatar isn’t a real person, but it can help if you imagine your Avatar as if they are a living breathing customer.

Let’s walk through an example of a customer Avatar. In this case, we’ll even give her a name: Ava. If Ava encountered your business, she would immediately become the best customer you could ever have because your business is built precisely for her. The products are for Ava. The services are for Ava. The marketing messages are directed at Ava. It’s all geared toward Ava.

Are YOU your own Avatar? If your dream business matches your WHY and will be built on your passions and interests, you likely have many characteristics of your Avatar. So, your own ideas are a good place to start.

There are three levels that must be considered to define your Avatar:

  1. Demographic
  2. Psychographic
  3. Emotional

Level One: Demographic

The first level of information you want to compile is demographic. These are the top-level facts about your Avatar.

Following is a list of typical demographic data that can be compiled:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Where they live
  • Work experience
  • Education level
  • Income level
  • Type of job
  • Languages spoken
  • Appearance
  • Health
  • Finances
  • Family
  • Employer
  • Job Type

Level Two: Psychographic

The psychographic profile of your Avatar would include elements of their personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyle.

Following is a list of typical psychographic information that can be compiled:

  • Hobbies/interests
  • Offline and online hangouts
  • Information sources
  • Influencers
  • Group memberships
  • Clothing choices
  • Fitness level
  • Workday activities
  • Their values – conservative or liberal, religious or not, etc.
  • Volunteer positions
  • Give to charity
  • World view
  • Optimistic or pessimistic
  • Growth or fixed mindset
  • Favorite brands
  • News sources
  • TV habits
  • Movies
  • Types of vacation
  • Favorite books, magazines, music
  • Authors, teachers or experts followed
  • Mentors

Level Three: Emotional

It is valuable to go beyond demographics and psychographics. Consider your Avatar’s deepest thoughts and fears at an emotional level.

Following is a list of typical questions to ask about your Avatar as you complete this exercise:

  • What is their WHY?
  • What do they already know about you?
  • What do they already know about your business?
  • Are they a customer of your competitors?
  • What are their needs, wants, and motivations?
  • What keeps your avatar up at night?
  • What are their hopes, dreams, fears, and frustrations?
  • What does it feel like to be them?
  • What are their personal goals?
  • What are their family goals?
  • What else has your avatar already tried to do in order to solve their problem?
  • What are they talking about with their family?
  • What objections could they have?
  • How do they make their decisions?
  • What else are they buying?
  • What are their pain points?

Consider questions they may have about their work:

  • What are their business goals?
  • Do they love their work?
  • Does their work still satisfy them?
  • Has their work become purely to get paid and to support their family?
  • Are they struggling with their workload, or just coasting?
  • Are they disappointed by a lack of challenge in their work?
  • Are they worried about losing their job?
  • Are they working at more than one job just to pay the bills?

What to Do Next

Create your own customer avatar for your new business. Write down what you come up with. Answer questions about your avatar in all three important levels:

  1. Demographic
  2. Psychographic
  3. Emotional

Be as specific as you can about their WHY, because it will often play a big role in the choices they make. Doing this exercise helps you get inside the head of your ideal customer and truly understand their pain points and potential decision and motivational factors.

Because when you know your Avatar, your ideal customer, you are then able to best serve them.

The Riches are in the Niches for the Over 50 Entrepreneur

You are Over 50 and ready to start your dream business. Businesses are not charities. Businesses must make profits to survive and thrive, and profits come from customers.

Let’s find yours.

Defining Your Ideal Customer

Defining your ideal customers is hard. Not everyone does it, but it’s worth doing to save yourself heartache and confusion down the road.

Many first-time entrepreneurs want to serve everyone. You love your business, and you want everyone else to love it like you do.

But here is the truth: if you try to appeal to everyone, you end up attracting NO ONE!

It’s like companies who say their target market is everyone in the US. They hope to get a small 1% share of that market. That’s 3 million customers!

It sounds great on the surface, but it is exceedingly difficult for a new business to have both a broad enough appeal to reach that many customers and the marketing budget necessary to do so.

Think about being a customer yourself.

You have a limited amount of attention. Research shows you are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages each day. That’s a lot of noise.

What’s the best way to cut through all that noise?

A message that seems to be created just for YOU. A message that resonates with you personally.

Customers are not cattle. Show them some respect. Treat them like individuals.

One size does not fit all.

But how do you treat every potential customer like an individual?

You can’t. Don’t bother trying.

What you can do is define your ideal customer, and then build your business for that ideal customer.

This is the most important thing you can do.

Find Your Niche

Your business can’t stand out in a broad, crowded market.

You need to identify a niche. A smaller sub-market where your business will stand out. It’s best to identify a niche market that is small enough so that you may be the only provider. A niche market that you can dominate.

One way is to find the intersection of multiple groups. Find the AND.

For example, my niche is YOU.

You are Over 50.

You also want to start your own business.

My mission is to inspire and support those Over 50 who wish to start their own business. I want to inspire and support YOU.

Do I want to inspire and support all people over 50? No, that’s too big and diverse of a group.

Do I want to inspire and support all people who wish to start their own business? No, this is a large and diverse group of customers. There are many companies trying to help everyone who wishes to start their own business.

My sweet spot is the ‘AND’.

Over 50…

…AND…

…wish to start their own business.

The following diagram shows my niche:

What to Do Next

Think about your own business idea.

Have you niched down your idea enough so that you have the potential to dominate your sub-market?

If not, consider doing your own ‘AND’ exercise until you get there.

Is Over 50 Too Old to Build New Habits as You Start Your Business?

You are over 50 and want to start your business. It’s obvious that you need to do things differently to be successful.

Maybe you have some bad habits that hold you back.

You need to build new habits that will serve your success. Habits that will help you realize your dreams.

The Science Behind Habits

Don’t you just hate your bad habits? You know you shouldn’t eat that extra dessert. But you do. Then you beat yourself up over it.

Why don’t we have the willpower to do what we know we should?

Science tells us that willpower is a limited resource. You only have so much. You can’t count on willpower alone to guide you. Your willpower WILL wane, and then, for better or worse, your habits will take over.

Based on the work of Stanford researcher BJ Fogg, habit expert James Clear has come up with what he calls the 3 R’s of forming habits:

  1. Reminder. The reminder is the trigger that initiates the behavior. In the case of the dessert, maybe it’s seeing an ad for ice cream. The ad convinces you that you want ice cream.
  2. Routine. The routine is the behavior itself. In the case of the dessert, maybe it’s going to the freezer to get the ice cream and then eating it. Routines can happen with very little thought or with lots of rationalizations.
  3. Reward. The reward is the benefit you gain from the behavior. The ice cream tastes good, and you enjoyed getting a treat. But sometimes anticipation is the reward, not the actual treat itself.

Habits require these three steps, reminder, routine, and reward, in that order.

Habits and the Brain

Does it seem more difficult to change habits as you get older? Brain research tells us this is true. Habits are one “new trick” it IS harder to teach an “old dog.”

Loretta Breuning is an expert on mammal behavior. In her book, Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain your brain to boost your serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphin levels, Dr. Breuning describes that habits are created by building specific neural pathways in the brain. Most pathways are created by the time we are around 20 years old. Childhood and adolescence is when the brain easily creates new pathways.

These brain pathways are reinforced every time they are used. They become the brain’s preferred paths and shortcuts to predictable outcomes.

Building better habits means rewiring the brain to create new pathways. Neuroplasticity shows us this is possible, but overriding the brain’s superhighways that were paved decades ago is a challenge.

Habits don’t change instantly, but some research suggests you can rewire your brain for new habits in as little as 21 days. The problem is willpower can only do so much for you.

The good news is all you need is a Slight Edge.

The Slight Edge

I’m now going to share a VERY IMPORTANT idea:

Success happens when you take advantage of the Slight Edge.

The phrase “The Slight Edge” comes from Jeff Olson’s book of the same name.

The Slight Edge is simply the cumulative effect of consistent, small actions over a long period of time.

Time is going to pass. If you consistently work every day on the small things to create a better habit, you will succeed.

If you consistently do nothing or worse every day, at best you’ll be stuck right where you are.

The paradox is that what you do on any given day may have little or no effect, but the cumulative effects over long periods of time are momentous.

So, when it comes to habits – dream big, but start small.

Daily Practice

There is a secret habit I want to share with you. This is a habit I have been following for a long time, and one that’s practiced by most successful people.

This habit is an active morning ritual. I call my morning ritual My Daily Practice.

It seems simple. (And it is.)

But it is profound.

The Daily Practice is the series of things you do to begin your day. Ideally, these are things that nurture you, start your day with a sense of accomplishment, and build momentum for you to do great things all day long.

Best-selling author James Altucher’s Daily Practice consists of only four things:

  1. Physical – take a walk every day
  2. Mental – come up with 10 new ideas every day
  3. Emotional – spend time with positive people
  4. Spiritual – be grateful for your life

Create YOUR personal Daily Practice. To start, James Clear recommends you answer the following question: What is the one thing that—when you do it—the rest of your day seems to go better?

Getting Habits to Stick

You are now fired up to start building positive habits that will take you toward your goals and dreams. These are the habits to help you start your dream business.

But how do you get habits to stick?

Let me share the findings from research and best practices.

Habits Come from Identity

Habits that stick must be based on your identity of YOU; how you see yourself.

Only YOU can define your identity. You get to decide who you are. It does NOT have to be how you currently see yourself.

First do your identity work.

Model your identity after others you admire and aspire to be like. What are their defining characteristics?

Take those characteristics to be your own. Start with one characteristic at a time, and reinforce that characteristic with positive self-talk.

Believe in yourself.

Do what a person with that characteristic would do. Start small. Try to do it every time. Do it again and again. Be consistent. Don’t quit if you slip up. Just do it right the next time.

You can do anything too! Decide what is important to you. Decide who you want to be. Then prove it to yourself with small wins. Set yourself up for consistent, repeatable, positive actions over time.

That is the power of habits.

Don’t Break the Chain

Habits stick when you don’t break the chain. Do them every time.

Every time you do the right thing, it becomes that much easier to keep doing what you should.

Know the Destination, but Focus on the Journey

Habits stick when you focus on the right things. Your identity sets the direction. You must then focus on the here and now. What will you do RIGHT NOW to move toward that identity? What is the next small step? Focus only on that next small step and do it. Then repeat.

As it says in the Tao Te Ching: A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step.

Become Accountable

Share your goals and habits with others for accountability. Let others help you create the habits you want. Accountability partners, mastermind groups, or coaches can also do this more formally.

Dealing with Slip-ups

To err is human. Welcome to the human race.

As you build new habits, there will be slip-ups. Expect them. Plan for them.

Do things that reinforce habits. Write down your new identity. Read it regularly. Reading it out loud is even more powerful. Make it part of your Daily Practice affirmations. Visualize your success.

A single slip-up won’t matter, IF you do the next right thing.

Bad Habits

How do you lose bad habits?

Start with identity. I’m sorry, but that bad habit you’re thinking about reflects your current identity. But does that bad habit reflect who you want to be? Think of losing a bad habit as getting back to being you.

Remember those superhighways in your brain? You don’t eliminate a bad habit, but rather you need to replace it by building a new pathway in your brain. It takes time and effort, but mostly perseverance.

James Clear recommends using “but” to overcome negative self-talk. Five years ago, I said to myself: “I’m not taking good care of my teeth right now, but I can become that guy.”

Eliminate triggers. If you can’t resist candy, don’t have candy in plain view.

Find substitutes. Like keeping fresh fruit in the kitchen instead of candy.

What to Do Next

You are your habits.

I hope you now understand that your life today is the result of your past habits, and that habits reflect your self-identity.

It’s time for new positive habits that reflect the identity YOU want. The identity YOU get to choose.

Start small.

Think of one bad habit that you’d like to change. Come up with an easy change you can make. A change that reflects the identity you want. Make that change RIGHT NOW.

Congratulate yourself on making positive change.

Then do it again the next time you are tempted to slip back into the bad habit. Congratulate yourself again.

Soon your new, better habit will become second nature.

7 Mindset Shifts for Success When Starting a Business Over 50

You are over 50 and ready to start your dream business.

Business as usual will not lead to success.

You need to think differently.

Consider these seven mindset shifts for your success.

1. Job Security is a Myth.

We began our careers under the old rules. Go to school. Get a job. Put in the time. Retire with the gold watch.

Things are different now. No job is safe. The Financial Crisis of 2008 showed this all too well. Even so-called “knowledge jobs” – jobs that were thought to be safe just a generation ago – are on the chopping block.

And who has the bulls-eye on their back?

YOU, the over-50-worker whose salary is higher than that of younger workers.

YOU, the over-50-worker whose experience and skills aren’t valued by your employer.

I’m sure you know fellow over-50-workers who’ve been shown the door. Maybe it has happened to you.

Cuts ARE coming in the next economic downturn, if not sooner.

How secure do you feel?

2. You Are NOT Too Old to Start a Business.

Ray Kroc starting McDonald’s. Arriana Huffington starting the Huffington Post. Harlan Sanders starting Kentucky Fried Chicken. All were well over the age of 50 when they started these successful businesses. There are numerous other examples.

In fact, research shows that businesses started by those over 50 have a much higher success rate than businesses started by those younger than 50.

Research also shows that if you are over 50, it is likely you have at least another 30 years on this earth. But most importantly, research in the science of neuroplasticity shows that we can learn and grow at any age. The old saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is just WRONG.

You have a wealth of experience to start your own business.

And whatever you need to know, you can learn.

3. Now is the Best Time to Start Your Business.

I’ll let you in on a secret.

This secret took me years of research and personal experience to learn, and it’s one that very few people over 50 understand.

Here’s the secret:

Using the Internet to build a business is the single greatest economic opportunity for individuals in history!

It’s that big!

Anyone has the chance to be successful. Most people over 50 won’t even consider trying.

In the past, even in the recent past, starting a business was too difficult. Too many hoops to jump through. Too many gatekeepers standing in your way.

No more.

Your potential customers are only a click away. Resources you need to start a business are only a click away.

Your great idea is all that’s needed.

4. Be Clear on Your WHY.

THE most important question you must ask yourself as you start your business is:

What is your WHY?

WHY do you want to do this? Everything flows from your WHY. Give yourself some time for your WHY to reveal itself to you. Let your subconscious work on it.

As an example, my WHY is to inspire and support you and others over 50 to start their dream business. My WHY came to me during a meditation.

Make sure your Why and your core values align. Then you know you are moving in the right direction.

5. Follow Your Vision (and Mission).

You need a vision of your future success. Do this by creating a Vision Statement.

A Vision Statement takes your WHY and creates a destination for you. How do you want your business and your life to be in the future?

With your Vision as the goal, you also need a path to get there. A Mission Statement says how you will get to that place of success.

6. Serve First.

Your business cannot be about you, if you want to be successful.

Your business MUST be about serving your customers. Customers have so many options today. If you don’t serve them well, they will go elsewhere. And who can blame them? Think about your experiences as a customer. Don’t you feel that way?

7. Embrace Failure.

This may be the most difficult shift to make for those of us over 50.

We grew up thinking that failure was a bad thing. Failure meant you took your eye off the ball. Failure meant you didn’t get a second chance. Failure led to ruin.

Not today.

Failures are the steps you take on the way to success. They are necessary.

Starting a business is really like a science project.

You have an idea of how you will be successful. But you don’t KNOW. So, test things out on a small scale and get feedback. Then use that feedback to create the improved version. Do this again and again, and soon you will have a successful business.

But not before you ‘fail’ several times.

What to Do Next

Pick one of the seven shifts we’ve discussed, and integrate it into your life. Accept it and use it for a while. Until it becomes part of your thought process.

Then add another and another.

The 3 Pillars of Health as You Start a Business Over 50

You’re over 50 and want to start your dream business.

Starting your business will be challenging. You will not succeed unless you make it a priority to take care of your health.

Health has three components:

  1. Physical health
  2. Mental health
  3. Spiritual health

Physical Health

Being over 50, you may already obsess about your health. I’m probably guilty of that! Or maybe you sweep thinking about your health under the rug, hoping the issue will go away.

Without physical health, achieving your dreams will be difficult. Here are things experts say you should do.

See Your Doctor

Seeing your doctor is the first step. Hopefully you already see your doctor on a regular basis. You need to know where you stand today to get an understanding of your health baseline. This is your jumping off point for better health.

Nutrition

Nutrition is critical for health. Here’s the most important thing you must understand about nutrition:

You are what you eat.

Good food nourishes you. Poor food is empty calories.

Good food is medicine. Poor food is poison.

Make good nutrition a priority. Especially at our age.

Exercise

Another component of physical health is regular exercise. Put simply, our bodies were built to move. Unfortunately, too many people over 50 don’t have enough physical activity. I hope you are not one of those people.

Walking is your best choice if just beginning. Resistance training should also be part of fitness over 50. We lose muscle mass over time unless we do regular resistance training.

Build the habit of regular exercise as you start your business.

Get Your Sleep

Successful people get between 7-8 hours of sleep per night. The average sleep cycle is 1 ½ hours long, so 7 ½ hours is five complete sleep cycles.

If you don’t sleep, toxins build up in your brain, creating that “brain fog” you’ve probably felt after a red-eye flight or a poor night’s sleep. The effects can be the same as that of drugs or alcohol.

During sleep, the brain also catalogs thoughts and creates the connections of long-term memory. Your dreams are part of that process. Sleep is also the time when your subconscious mind can work to resolve issues you may be facing.

Get your sleep. It’s even good for your mental health.

Mental Health

Mental health is as important as physical health.

If you have a medical issue such as depression, hopefully you are working with your doctor to address it. If not, I urge you to do so.

There are several things you can do to enhance your mental health.

Spend Time with Others

We are social animals. We need connection and interaction. Just make sure you are spending time with those that bring out the best in you.

Enjoy Hobbies and Interests

Doing what you enjoy is a key to mental health. Especially doing things that put you into Flow. Flow is that sense you get when you are so absorbed in an activity that you lose track of time.

Learn New Things

Positive psychology research has found that a Love of Learning is a key indicator of well-being. We can’t stay static. Learning new things expands us and stretches our limits.

Daily Affirmations

Affirmations are like little pep talks you give yourself. These are positive phrases you can read, listen to, or say out loud every day. Remember, it takes three positive doses to counter each negative that bombards you.

Be Grateful

I have mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. An attitude of gratitude is strongly linked to mental health.

Be Present

All we have is this present moment. It’s good here in the present. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t worry about the future. Stay in the here and now.

Spiritual Health

The final stop on this health tour is your spiritual health. Too often neglected, there are many ways to promote spiritual health.

Attitude of Gratitude

Gratitude for everything you have is a key to your spiritual health. You can’t feel bad and feel grateful at the same time.

Prayer

Daily prayer is a powerful spiritual force for those with faith.

Spiritual Readings/Daily Affirmations

The source can be the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, the Tao te Ching, or even a 12-step program. Reading from texts or repeating passages out loud can lift your spirits.

Meditation

Meditation may be the most powerful source of spiritual health. Meditation puts focus on the present, reduces mind chatter, and allows clarity to shine through.

Tim Ferriss, author of the bestselling Four-Hour Work Week, says a regular meditation practice is the one common element in over 80% of high performers he has met.

Tai Chi/Chi Kung/Yoga

I group these spiritual practices together because they also share a physical component. Tai Chi has even been called a “moving meditation.” I have been practicing Tai Chi and Chi Kung for over 25 years, and I have recently added a yoga practice.

What to Do Next

Enhancing health must be a priority, especially when over 50. The prescription is simple:

  • See your doctor
  • Watch what you eat
  • Stay physically active
  • Get your sleep
  • Take care of your mind
  • Nurture your spirit

The challenge is doing these things on a consistent basis. Just pick one thing to improve your health, and do it regularly. Then slowly add additional things. Soon you will have built a nice set of habits for good health.

3 Ways That We Over 50 Entrepreneurs Are Different Than Younger Entrepreneurs

You are over 50 and want to start your own business. Have you thought about what’s different about YOU versus younger entrepreneurs?

As the author of the Amazon Bestseller Over 50? Start Your Business! I’ve thought a lot about it. In part, to better understand myself as I take this journey. But also, to understand more universal differences that may impact all over 50 entrepreneurs.

Let’s face it – starting a business is thought of as a young person’s game. While there are several entrepreneurs like Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame who started well past the age of 50, most new businesses are started by those far younger than us.

So, what makes us different? I see three important ways we are different.

Our Career Programming

Starting a business for us means working against our career programming. Most of us were raised under the expectation that the path to success was well defined:

  • Do well in school
  • Go to college
  • Get a job with a big company
  • Advance your career by working your way up the corporate ladder
  • Retire at age 65

Maybe like me, you were the first in your family to go to college. Maybe like me, you were the first in your family to have a ‘white collar’ job.

Starting a business over the age of 50 goes against that grain. How do you survive without the safety and security of your corporate job?

Of course, many of us have learned the painful truth that the safety and security of a corporate job is a myth. Getting rid of over 50 workers is becoming more and more common. Maybe that is why you want to start your own business.

We may be the last generation having to reconcile our career programming with the realities of the modern work environment.

Our Attitude Toward Risk/Failure

How we view risk and failure also has roots in our career programming.

Under the old paradigm, it’s dangerous to take career risks. Be a ‘company person’, and all will turn out well. Don’t rock the boat. Do what you are told.

Taking a big risk could result in a big loss, including losing your job.

Again, the desire for safety and security.

Later generations are more willing to take risks. Even the risk of striking out on their own.

It’s the same regarding failure. Our generation saw failure as career suicide. Make your numbers at all costs. Don’t try something new, because you’re in trouble if it fails.

However, business success today REQUIRES failure. Try something on a small scale, get feedback, and then iterate to make it better and better. Numerous small failures lead to big success.

Those of us over 50 were just not programmed to think that way.

Our Relationship with Technology

During our formative years, the few computers that existed were huge and had to be air-conditioned. Software was custom written by programmers with specialized training and experience.

Phones had rotary dials and were tethered to the wall.

We weren’t immersed in technology.

So much has changed.

Later generations grew up with technology and take it for granted.

Those of us over 50 need to change how we think about technology.

Too many of us are afraid of technology. Especially technology that changes so rapidly.

Instead, we need to see technology as tools. Tools that enable us to easily do what was unthinkable in the past.

Technology is opportunity.

What to Do Next

Think about your own business.

Do you have limiting beliefs? Replace them with new enabling truths.

Think about small ‘failures’ you can make today, that will let you learn and enjoy greater success in the future.

Finally, think about how technology can enable you to do things for your business that were impossible even a few years ago.

Choosing Your Best Over 50 Business Idea

Do you have so many over 50 business ideas that you feel like a kid in a candy store?

Or instead, do you only have a few ideas but they all sound great?

How do you choose the best business idea for you?

Consider this easy-to-follow process.

1. Pick your A-Team

Look at your list of over 50 business ideas. Pick 5 ideas that jump out at you. Call these your ‘A’ ideas. Focus on these 5 ideas, and set the others aside.

2. Decide what’s important to you

You must be clear on what is important to you as you begin your journey of becoming a MaturEntrepreneur. It’s best to start with your WHY as the number one criterion to consider. Find at least four additional criteria to also consider. Be sure to think outside of the business itself. Perhaps lifestyle elements are important to you. Or maybe you want to promote social causes through your business efforts. Only you know what are most important to you. Just make sure your criteria reflect this.

As a final step, prioritize your criteria by how important each one is to you relative to the others.

3. Look for the ‘Green Lights’

Now it’s time to evaluate your ideas and choose the best.

Create a table with your business ideas in columns across the top.  Then prioritize your criteria in rows along the left side of the same table.

Start with your number one criterion. For each business idea, decide how well that idea fits given that criterion. Use the following color coding:

Green – great fit

Yellow – OK fit

Red – not a good fit

Green light example

As an example, let’s say your number one criteria is spending time with your family.

Let’s say business idea number one is to sell information products over the internet. And let’s say business idea number two is being a consultant to multinational corporations.

Selling information products over the internet can be done without leaving home. This is a business you could probably do and still spend time with your family. This business idea would get a green light based on the criterion of spending time with family.

However, a consultant to multinational corporations would probably need to spend much of their time at client locations all around the world. It might be tough to spend time with your family. A consulting business would get a red light based on the criterion of family time.

Your Green Light Table

Now fill in YOUR table by evaluating the fit of each business idea based on each of your criterion. Color in your table with greens, yellows and reds that reflect how each business idea fits with each criterion.

Now look at your table. Which business ideas have lots of green lights, especially for your most important criteria? These are the business ideas that best match what’s important to you. These are the business ideas to strongly consider.

Perhaps other business ideas have yellow lights and even red lights. These ideas are probably not the best for you.

What to Do Next

Choosing the right business idea is the most critical decision you will make as you start your business over 50. While I believe in going with your gut, you also need a process for selecting the business idea that’s right for you.

Your situation is unique. You have a wealth set of skills and experience. You have unique objectives for starting your dream business over 50.

Use the easy process I outlined above to evaluate your business ideas.

Then you can be certain that the business idea you decide to pursue is the best fit for you.

 

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