You Were Only Waiting For This Moment To Arise

Hello Boomers,

For our generation, music was often very motivating, sometimes inspiring, and even uplifting.  It often moved us…..in more ways than one.  The latest Baby Boomer to share her story of Re-Invention is Nancy Anderson of Blackbird Learning Associates.  Read how music helped Nancy take the first step toward her own Re-Invention after a devastating job loss. 

The Birth of Blackbird Learning Associates

In June of 2008 I happily went off a staff meeting.  I was excited and chatted with some of my work mates as we made our way to the conference room.  We had a new Senior Director and he called us together to explain the new vision of our department. I loved my job as a learning and development consultant and looked forward to hearing how our team was going to grow and expand our reach.  Within the first five minutes of that meeting, we learned that the new organization would not include many of us.  What? We were told to return to our work stations and then one by one, when called, return to the conference room to learn our fates. 

When I was summoned to the conference room, I learned that my position was eliminated. Period.  The End.  The Human Resources Director sitting next to me began to review my severance package but I didn’t hear a word he said.  I was terminated after 21 years with the company I adored.  How could this be? This was my home away from home.  It was the place that I spent most of my adult life.  I was devastated, almost 54 years old and all I could think of was, “What Now?”  

After packing up my things a few days later it hit me. Life in this company was moving on, only I was no longer a part of it.  Driving home I cried and cursed the company that hurt me so. Then something almost divine happened.  I said a prayer to my parent’s and asked them to watch over me and let me know that all would be fine.  As I said these words out loud, the radio in my car played the Beatles song, Blackbird, “Take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you have only waited for this moment to arise.”  There among the boxes and tears, Blackbird Learning Associates was conceived. Now I had to figure out who and what Blackbird Learning Associates would be.

Over the next few months I planned and learned what it takes to become a company.  The local unemployment office suggested I attend a six-week program on becoming an entrepreneur.  Here along with 15 hopeful business owners, I learned about law, accounting practices, business planning, taxes, advertising and networking.  It was from this class that I learned several crucial steps to business ownership:

1. Focus on one product or service.  What is that one area where you shine and are highly accomplished? Define your vision and mission and refer to it often.

2. Research and investigate all projections and data related to your business.  Is this something that can provide a need in years to come? Go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Handbook or local library and research the product or service you are offering.

3. Create a business plan. Research business plans on the internet and complete a free template. 

4. Schedule an appointment at the Small Business Development Center. This organization assists business owners and entrepreneurs succeed by offering free counseling, continuing education courses, and special events. They also help small businesses achieve Small Business (SBE), Minority (MBE) and/or Woman-Owned Business (WBE) Certification.

5. Create an online presence.  Invest in an internet site, create a LinkedIn, Facebook business page and Twitter account. Make sure that your phrasing and photographs are professional and enticing. If your finances are scare, consider bartering for these professional services.

6. Join networking groups for entrepreneurs and business owners, join your local Chamber of Commerce, and investigate how to create a press release.  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and some other sites have several supportive and informative groups for start up and existing businesses.  Attend professional meetings and other networking events.  Get your name out there and become known as an expert by offering some of your services for free.

In February, 2009, Blackbird Learning Associates LLC was established. Its mission is to “provide precise learning solutions to an individual or organization’s specific job search needs.” I give job search classes to the individual who has lost his or her job and to the organizations planning to downsize. I also write a job search blog and wrote the book, Job Search for Moms.  It’s hard work but something I am very passionate about because, “I’ve been there, done that” and most importantly, “felt that.”

www.blackbirdlearningassociates.com

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