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Starting A Business At 60: The Value Of Life Experiences

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Did turning 60 impact you like it did me? Despite bracing myself for depression, based on warnings by friends who hit the milestone before I did, I somehow escaped unscathed. 

In fact, in my experience, 60 has ushered in nothing but challenge and adventure. Like many other Boomer women, I decided to leverage the life event as impetus to follow my passion. As a result, I developed a product I am proud to offer the world.

I admit, I am addicted to watching Shark Tank – a television show wherein entrepreneurs pitch ideas and products to billionaires (Sharks) to secure investments and partnerships. Imagining myself pitching my product, a “find-a-need-and-fill-it” solution, seemed an achievable and worthwhile goal. 

The entrepreneurs on the show were normal people like me. And their ideas ranged from terrible to great. Some arrived in the tank armed with effective marketing strategies; others brought lousy advertising strategies. So, I listened attentively to the Sharks’ sage advice. 

Though I see no Shark Tank pitch in my future, my venture has given me the opportunity to stand in front of powerful decision-makers all by myself – pitching my product and asking for their buy-in. So far, the experience has proven simultaneously fun, empowering, and, yes, frightening.

Remarkably, my decision to develop PillMap, a companion to traditional pill containers, was made possible due in large part to 60 years of living life: heartaches, successes, and failures. In fact, as I write this, I recall some of the life experiences which contributed to my professional success:

Motherhood 

I have four grown children. As any mom will confirm, raising them to healthy adulthood required a multitude of skills, not to mention a lot of faith and a little luck. Meeting crucial deadlines, with little or no sleep, and managing complicated, ever-changing schedules required ingenuity. 

Let’s face it, keeping the right quantity of food in the refrigerator and getting it on the table was a baseline expectation. So were the following:

  • Menu planning and execution
  • Consulting, teaching, listening, guiding, and redirecting 
  • Providing medical and psychological care
  • Praying

Growing a business requires the organizational skills I developed as a mom. The control I have over the success or failure of my product is a safer venture than parenting! 

Marriage

Anyone who is married can relate to the job description: lover, forgiver, encourager, partner, team player, committed, money manager, and travel agent… to name a few. 

I filled these roles and more until my husband unexpectedly died when I was 55. Life as a widow, dealing with loss, uncertainty, and fear, afforded lessons I would rather have foregone, but am grateful to have learned.

Wearing many hats is essential at the beginning of a new venture. I’m thankful I learned to multi-task. 

Work 

As Senior Client Safety Manager for one of the largest security providers in the nation, my job description for this role includes training, emergency preparedness, public speaking, sales, team-building, creating budgets, and meeting quotas.

Being proactive, evaluating the risks and articulating the vision has become second nature, due to my training and observations in the business world. 

Friendship

Surrounding myself with supportive and honest women who inspire me has made me more confident, helpful, attentive, encouraging, and patient.

Having a safe and honest sounding board to provide valuable feedback has served me well. I trust my friends have my best interests at heart and understand my vision and keep me on course. 

While my story will probably never make it to Shark Tank, I’m grateful for it as well as every lesson I’ve learned over the past 60 years. I guess that’s why my entry into this new decade makes me eager to greet the next adventure!

This blog was first published at SixtyAndMe.com

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About The Author:

Kimber Westmore

Kimber Westmore

Kimber Westmore is enjoying a career in emergency response training, serving as the Senior Client Safety Manager for one of the largest security providers in the country. Always an entrepreneur, when Kimber began caregiving for her aging parents, she created PillMap, A Daily Guide, PillMap.com. Kimber is a lifelong Angelino, mother to four, and grandmother to one.

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