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Doubtless “Survive Economic Meltdown” Wasn’t On Your Bucket List. Hopefully “Startup ‘Second Act’ Business” Was. One Fuels the Other, Of Course. Ready to Get It Going?

December 16, 2008 by  
Filed under Anne Holmes, Blog, Entrepreneurs, Work, Money & Retirement

Bucket List Business - Recipe For Success

Anyone who’s seen the news over the past few weeks knows that the United States is deeply embroiled in a tough economy. In fact, economists recently owned up to the “R” word, admitting recession is upon the land – and has been for the last twelve months. 

To which you undoubtedly want to snarl, “You think?”

Let’s See, You’ve Got:

  • Employers cutting jobs and benefits – left and right
  • The automakers begging Congress to bail them out – just a month after we experienced the mortgage industry bailouts
  • The banks, who’ve essentially quit lending money while the credit card companies are arbitrarily lowering your credit limits – even if you’ve been paying your bills on time
  • Constant stock market blips and dips
  • Not to mention a couple of wars and overall global unrest

Besides which, if your personal finances haven’t already been plunged into the toilet as a result of trashed 401(k) and retirement accounts, it’s likely all the dire news has left you feeling pretty nervous, wondering when the other shoe will fall… 

Maybe a Better Metaphor For What You’re Feeling Right Now Would Be This Unsettling Image:

  • You’re feverishly trying to build a house of cards on the head of a matchstick
  • While simultaneously trying to keep yourself standing upright as you balance atop a rolling log in the midst of a raging river of whitewater
  • Only to look ahead and see a precipitous drop-off as steep as Niagara Falls looming just around the bend… 

You’d Probably Have to Call that a “Triple Threat” or a “Perfect Storm” of Calamities, Right?”

Well, whatever you call it, there’s no doubt that you –  a successful Baby Boomer with an active Bucket List – never placed “live through an economic meltdown” on your list. It wasn’t even anywhere on your radar. Yet, you now find yourself hip-deep in that “opportunity” with few visible options ahead of you. 

So What Can You Do Beyond Wringing Your Hands and Gnashing Your Teeth?

How About Taking Action?

Instead of figuratively hiding under your bed or cowering in the corner, biting your nails as you read or listen to the dismal economic headlines, why not pull out your bucket list and pick out something on it that you can use to create a plan that will allow you to succeed despite the tough times? You know, something that:

  • Sounds fun
  • You enjoy doing, and
  • You could also use to generate some additional income…

Not Sure What That Could Be? Keep Looking at Your List, It’s Really Not That Hard.

If you initially think there’s nothing on your list that you can monetize, look again. Likely there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, something you haven’t made time for – which fits the bill. And it’s probably something you can get going, just by taking baby steps, one at a time.

For example, is there an idea that’s nagged at you over the years, perhaps an idea you’ve had for a better way to do something that’s related to one of your hobbies or passions? You know, maybe it’s an idea for a:

  • Better fishing lure
  • Healthier way to grow garden vegetables in small spaces
  • More effective way to train your pet
  • Field guide to successfully living overseas
  • Golf putter that’s guaranteed to shave 10% off anyone’s score
  • Cook book featuring heirloom family recipes, which you’ve updated to make them healthier

If so, did you ever stop to think that THAT idea might be something you could turn into a business?

Assuming your answer is going to be “yes,” there is some idea that’s nagged at you over the years, here’s your key take away: Once you dust off that idea that’s been haunting you forever, don’t you think now would be a great time to make a plan for how you can finally“get it going?” 

Think of it as your legacy, if you want, the way you will be remembered in the world. But do think about it – NOW.

Especially think about how to use this idea to start up a new income stream – while you continue to work full or part time.

That’s What Jan Bosman Did. Here’s How She Tells Her Story:

Jan Bosman“When I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, I felt had everything I needed:

  • A diploma
  • A diamond ring, and
  • A signed teaching contract

“I’d been trained by the best… I thought I would teach and retire, while managing a family along the way.

“But about 45 years into my scripted life, I had a new vision – a scrapbook for saving old handwritten recipes and the stories behind them. It all began with my love of collecting recipes from friends and family, using them over and over.

“At some point (I can’t give you the exact moment), I began to see the old recipes in my recipe box in a new way. They became more to me than formulae for good meals; they contained memories of the people who had shared them with me over many years.

“With the passage of time, the recipes took on new meaning and, I realized, they really defined my history. As I got started with my idea:

  • I wanted a place to save my special old recipes and tell about them.
  • I wanted to create a place where the recipes could be saved and the stories behind them and their creators told and saved.
  • I didn’t much care if anyone else wanted a book like I wanted; but the design firm I worked with convinced me that if I wanted a book like this, others would want one, too.
  • One of my friends says that the idea was in my heart for 45 years, but I really don’t know
  • I do know that fear kept me from breathing life into this idea for many years
  • I was afraid that someone would think it was a ‘dumb’ one, so I kept silent

Recipe Scrapbook“The evolution of the idea for my recipe scrapbook, Memories of Family, Friends and Food  is part mystery, part motivation.

  • When I started, I just wanted to realize a dream that had been lingering in my head for a very long time
  • Eventually I realized I had to move on the idea or forget it
  • I’d inherited a small amount of money at my mother’s death and I chose to invest it in my dream
  • Alternately, I could have put the money in the bank and let the dream die
  • Instead, I took action. I hired a marketing firm to help me develop and market my idea. I worked with a mentor to “get it going”
  •  I did not begin with a traditional business plan, nor did I work with any business development organizations to get started.

 “What I’ve now learned from my experience is that you never know when you will see life’s patterns in a fresh way.

 “The life I envisioned when I graduated is so different from the life I live. I’m seeing better now than I did then… despite the glasses and developing cataracts. So keep your eyes open. You just never know…”

If, like Jan Bosman, you’re ready to start making your dream a reality, there’s no need to be overwhelmed. You can start with baby steps. But you’ve got to start…

You’ve Just Got to Put One Foot in Front of the Other and Start Moving Forward.

  • Create an action plan
  • Get help to develop your strategies
  • Work your plan

Here’s a fun way to look at it:

 Jan’s Advice for You If You’re Considering a “Second – or Third – Act” in Life:

  • Plan to work hard
  • Be clear on your goal
  • Be ready for surprises – both happy days and disappointments
  • Be ready for unsolicited advice: “Not everyone is going to be as excited about this project as you are.”
  • Self promotion takes a lot of time. But you are the best person to promote your project. You believe in it, you breathe it. And without promotion, “Don’t expect your books to fly off of the shelves.”
  • Fear is real in all its forms. “Sometimes I’m afraid that someone will tell me my idea is ‘dumb.’ Sometimes I’m afraid to succeed. Fear hasn’t conquered me, but I haven’t completely conquered it, either.”
  • Don’t undervalue yourself
  • Be flexible, sometimes that’s the only way to get things accomplished
  • People WILL help you
  • Finally,follow the dreams that haunt you. You will never know yourself well enough if you don’t”

She adds that she has met hundreds of people she never would have met without this project and it has kept her vital after many years in education and a few in the domestic violence field.

“I am a good speaker and have had a chance to bring a message to people about the value of hand writing, dating and signing the recipes they share with others. Then your recipes, too, can live forever.”

Jan’s resulting book is in binder form so that pages can be moved about. She explains that It is intended to be a place where each person can create an heirloom, one recipe and story at at time. On the cover she’s included a picture of some of her mother’s personal items–glasses, tablecloth, recipe box, pearls, recipe cards, antique Jewel Tea Autum Leaves crock. 

Jan’s whole idea with her book is for each person to create their own book in his/her own special way. Sort of a cross between a journal and a recipe card binder – her book consists of: 

  • 15 acid-free 4 x 6″ pocket pages (total room for 60 recipes or pictures or other memorabilia) 
  • 15 acid-free lined, two-sided journal pages
  •  15 lined recipe cards for sharing favorite recipes with others
  • Sample journal page as a model for your writing
  • As one purchaser commented about Memories of Family, Friend and Food, “There are few of the author’s words but plenty of room for yours.”

OK, Back to You: So Hopefully You’ve Pulled Out Your Bucket List and You’re Reviewing It…That’s Great!

If you’ve decided to start thinking about generating some additional income via starting your own business, undoubtedly you’re now wondering about all sorts of challenging stuff, including:

  • Time Management Challenges related to starting up a new business while you already have a job
  • How to keep your Start-up Costs affordable
  • Whether you have what it takes to run a business
  • How difficult it might be to gain Spousal Buy-In
  • Health care costs for the self-employed
  • What steps you’ll need to take for Asset protection
  • Whether you can really turn a hobby into a business
  • Maybe even how much money your idea could actually generate for you, whether you’d need staff to pull off the idea, etc.

Don’t get too stressed over these questions.

They’re all valid concerns, whose answers we’ll discuss in upcoming posts. For now, your main job is to figure out what your goal is with this concept of starting up a business. And – determine which item on your list sounds the most promising… from a business development standpoint.  

Feeling better about the economy now? Thought so!

That’s what happens when you take action!