My title refers to my career as a flight attendant - wonderful years in my life, during which I saw the world, married, had two children, divorced, kept flying. Finally, when flying was just too physically painful to continue, I obtained a position in the airline’s catering office.
This job opened my eyes to a whole new world. I had never operated a computer, had really never worked in an office before and I certainly didn’t have much confidence that I could do a good job. But, in spite of my doubts, I did a very good job because I so loved what I was doing. That took me to the end of my 32 airline years. And that’s when the real changesbegan…
When I decided to retire and start my own company, I must admit I had no idea what I was undertaking. I’d barely worked in the business world, let alone run my own business. But by finding courses to help with the basics of entrepreneurship, I struggled ahead.
I gathered up all my nerve and dived into something new. It was terrifying, but you never know what you can accomplish until you try. When you have a passion for your business, your passion will make you excel almost automatically.
Here are some lessons I learned along the way.
Be prepared to change.
I had decided that my business should be about Customer Service (something I really knew well from my airline days) and I soon decided to be a trainer. I spent three months writing my own training programs and then I began to try to sell my programs to prospective clients. Yikes! What an eye-opener! After the first round of turn-downs, I was a little less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed; after the second round I was questioning my ability and after the third round I was almost hostile to the prospects – which isn’t the best attitude to have when selling!
This new life as an entrepreneur was a huge change for me – I had never worked harder for less money, longer hours and more worry. And with no results!
When one method of attack didn’t work, I tried a new method – but I had the tenacity to keep trying until I found the method that works for me.
I stopped cold-calling and started networking. Networking became my salvation, both of my sanity and of my success. And it was something I loved doing. In hindsight, I realize that at first I didn’t choose networking groups that were really right for me. But I learned to recognize when a group wasn’t working for me and moved on to a new group that would be a better fit.
Listen to the advice of others
Listen to others when they make suggestions. Theirideas are gifts. One woman I met suggested that Iwrite and weave my airline stories into my training programs. Well I did, and amazingly it worked, peopleloved these stories. I never thought my new direction would include writing, but I was flexible enough to give it a try and it was very successful.
About the author: At 64, Marcia Barhydt started writing for women over 50. In addition to her column for WE Magazine for Women, Women of a Certain Age, Marcia is a regular contributor to Kalon Women, BoomerCafe and Women’s Post.