Re-Invent And ReLaunch. Do What You Love

Good morning Boomers!

The latest Boomer Entrepreneur to join The Re-Invention Connection is Bonnie Pond of ReLaunch Your Life.  She has reinvented herself many times throughout her career, as have so many others.  Her goal now is to help other women over 40 discover their true passions and help them find the will and the resources to make their dreams come to life in a profitable way.

  The Re-Invention Story of Bonnie Pond, Owner of ReLaunch Your Life

My work history is what some might call “checkered.” It reflects a wide variety of interests as well as the necessity of earning my daily bread. In the last forty-plus years I’ve waited tables, been a secretary, run a battered women’s shelter, and teamed up with my husband to be caretakers on a ranch. We had an old-time photography studio in the California Gold Country for a year.  Along the way, I also started a housekeeping service and, with two other women, had a company that provided continuing education units for nurses through travel opportunities. For several years I managed a furniture and gift store. I was an outreach worker, did a stint in the reference section of a college library, and got my elementary teaching credential. For many years I taught at a science and math magnet school before “retiring” to rural Tennessee.  

Within a few months, two things happened:  Traditional retirement turned out to be a real bore AND our savings pretty much disappeared with the downturn in the economy. We needed more income and I needed a way to tap into all my interests and passions. In 2009, I started ReLaunch Your Life out of necessity.  By combining specialized training with my own life experiences, I began helping women 40 + find ways to be their own boss by tapping into their passions.  

It breaks my heart to see those who’ve worked hard all their lives struggling to make ends meet when they retire. So many are searching for work that gives meaning, purpose, and joy to their lives too. They want to spend their time doing what feeds their spirits as well as their wallets. No one should have to spend their lives stuck in “job misery.” To be able to spend your days working at what you love has a positive ripple effect on your entire life. To be able to spend your days earning income while doing work you love is something that I want for everyone. 

Some clients want a new full-time career where they call the shots with their own small businesses. Others want to supplement their income with a sideline.

My husband, Jack, helps me with the technical side of the business and is a constant source of encouragement and ideas. Occasionally I partner with other women for special projects like the women’s retreat we have coming up in fall, 2011. 

My business combines the best of my previous jobs with new challenges every day. Each woman I work with has a unique set of gifts and talents. Each one has a different way of answering my question, “What do you want your life to look like?”  Because I know what it’s like to work in a wide variety of settings, from retail to non-profits to teaching and running small businesses, I can tap into those experiences to help clients move toward the life they really want.  

It took a lot of searching to develop this business idea – searching myself to figure out what I really wanted to be “when I grew up” and searching the Internet for ideas and for what people needed. I realized that so many people are looking for someone to help them rediscover their dreams and passions — before it’s too late. So many are stuck in jobs that make them miserable. And there are an increasing number of Boomers who need to create their own work because of layoffs, a major change like divorce or the death of a spouse, or let’s be honest here, because of age discrimination 

The Boomer Generation still has so much to give, so much vitality, so many options. We’re ready to explore and take on new challenges. Midlife isn’t over the hill. What I’ve found is that many people just need help figuring out what their options are. Reinventing yourself after 40 gives you a whole new perspective on your potential and what it means to live a full life. 

My husband has been my biggest cheerleader, but there have been so many others who said, “Go for it, Bonnie!” Connecting with other women who are running their own businesses is  always source of encouragement, fresh ideas, and resources. No one succeeds alone and that’s why I’ve also worked with coaches to help me learn how to grow my business. I’m in a Mastermind group and have an accountability partner. We meet by telephone weekly to help each other set goals and stay on track. And I’m always taking classes, which has the added benefit of keeping me around the “doers” of the world.  

Were there naysayers? Of course! There are always those who find reasons you can’t succeed – the economy is bad, you’re too old, it takes too much money to start your own business. The naysayers can really get to you if you let them. I think that’s what stops so many people from going after their dreams. That, and the self-doubts and fears that anyone charting a new course for their lives has to deal with. 

There are three main ways that I’ve created confidence.  The first is to hang around successful people. The second is to keep learning and growing. When you’re just starting out, it’s crucial to build a network of support. You need people who believe in you and who are willing to give advice as you build your business. It’s been said that you are the average of the five people you hang around with the most. I make it a point to spend plenty of time with people who love what they do and are very successful in their businesses. They inspire me because each one has overcome their own obstacles and naysayers along the way. 

The third piece of creating confidence is building competence. That’s why I got specialized training in career change coaching before I set up ReLaunch Your Life.  Understanding what people need is important and I do “get it.” But understanding is only a part of the equation. Training means I also know HOW to help women find ways to turn their interests into income so they can do what they love. I’m constantly in learning mode, taking classes and doing independent research, so that I continue to build my competence.  

Lessons learned? Oh, there are so many! The biggest lesson is that you need tons of patience and persistence. No business ever builds as quickly as you want. No business is ever as profitable as soon as you’d like. It takes quite a while to build a following and professional reputation. That’s the most important thing I wish I’d realized in advance.  

There will be obstacles and when you come up against them, you have a choice. Give up or find a way around them. Instead of saying, “I can’t” you have to say, “How can I make this happen?” Then, you have to take action every single day to do what needs to be done. No excuses 

I started out with a rudimentary business plan that has evolved over the last couple of years. It’s actually still evolving as I add more pieces to my business. For example, hosting an Internet radio show was not on my radar screen in the beginning, but now I’m on the air every week and love it

Because I work from a home office and do much of my coaching by telephone, I didn’t have to get outside funding to start up. My expenses have been mainly for training, working with my own coaches, and the normal office expenses like telephone and Internet service.  

Life is short, too short to settle for a beige existence. Reinventing and ReLaunching are all about moving out of your comfort zone. That can be scary, but to me it’s worse to stay in a “box” or in a life that’s really too small for your spirit. There are no guarantees in life. Taking the leap to realize your full potential is worth the risk. The saddest thing I can imagine is to look back at the end of your life and say, “If only . . .” 

Marie Beyon Ray has a quote that I love and try to live by: “Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake.” My biggest regret is thinking too small at first and staying in my comfort zone too long. If I could change one thing, it would be to think bigger and bolder right from the start.

Bonnie Pond is a career change coach and founder of ReLaunch Your Life. She helps women 40+ who want to be their own boss find ways to turn their interests into income. It’s never too late to love your work, love your money, and love your life again. Her website is www.relaunchyourlifecoach.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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One Response to “Re-Invent And ReLaunch. Do What You Love”

  1. Eternal Bed Casket Says:

    You Go Gal !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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