Glenn Lidstone, an Electrical Engineer, saw the writing on the wall that the possibility of being laid off from Nortel after 31 years with the company was only a matter of time. While waiting for his notice he began researching digital and internet marketing which was of interest to him. Although Glenn knew it would be a major change from his current work as an Engineer he decided it was what he wanted to do and at the age of 54 founded SHMS Inc. (Stonehouse Marketing Solutions Inc.) in 2013.
Starting a business at any age can be daunting, let alone starting something that had nothing to do with the career you just left. But Glenn was determined and continued to research and learn about digital and internet marketing and continues to stay on top of it due to its fluidity.
While in the very early stages of his business and without any clients, Glenn did what many wish they had the nerve to do. He had business cards printed and attended a trade show where he spoke to exhibitors about his services. One hired him and four years later his first customer is still a customer.
But, like many older entrepreneurs, he faced some frustration early on and still experiences it today. Glenn reached out to a small business organization in his area to see what assistance they could help him with. As he already had business cards, he was told he wasn’t eligible for their program. He was left on his own to learn everything he could himself. Glenn had paid into Employment Insurance (EI) for 31 years but found out he wasn’t eligible because he was drawing from his pension. He also finds dealing with the government his biggest impediment due to the amount of time and expense for the accounting that has to be done for HST and income tax.
Yet, with these drawbacks, Glenn has forged ahead and is very successful. In four years, he has expanded his offerings, purchased another business and continues to grow his client base.
Glenn is just one of the world’s newest and fastest-growing group of new entrepreneurs.
Many think that starting a business later in life is different than for a younger person. For the most part, it is the same. However, people who are leaving their careers have resources that young people don’t necessarily have, including a Rolodex of contacts, life and work experience and how to communicate. What they may find challenging is making the change from being an employee – where more than likely they had a support system to assist them when needed – to become an entrepreneur where they are responsible for all aspects of the business. They also could lack confidence in doing something different and having to make new connections.
Although Glenn didn’t have a positive outcome with support, don’t let that deter you from starting your business. Try doing a Google search for Small Business Centre’s, Community Futures and Economic Development offices in your area and contact them to see if they work with all ages of entrepreneurs. Attend networking events where you will meet like-minded business owners who are willing to help as you will help them when you have the business experience. Another option might be an incubator in your area.
Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone but if you’ve ever thought of doing it, then you owe it to yourself to at least explore whether it is something that you want to do before taking the leap and finding out later it isn’t for you.