Women “Of A Certain Age” Are Taking Charge & Powering Change
Kick-start your next chapter with #StoutTakeaways from the SXSW NextLife panel of forward-thinking female entrepreneurs leaning in to shatter myths about midlife.
Is This The Real Life?
In Jeanne Ray’s 2013 novel, Calling Invisible Women, a rare drug interaction causes the protagonist, Clover, to become invisible. What she discovers is something many women of a certain age suspect deep down — those around her had long ago stopped seeing her. It took several weeks for anyone to realize that while they could hear her voice, smell her perfume and recognize her clothing — they couldn’t actually see her. This gradual loss of visibility and self is no fantasy for many women hitting midlife in the real world.
There are two great times in your life to build a business: in your 20s when you have nothing to lose, and in your 50s when you have nothing to prove.
– Jeannie Ralston, Founder & Editor of NextTribe
Flipping Fade The Bird
Like Clover, who eventually found her moxie and took on the drug company, this powerhouse panel of forward-thinking women who took the stage at SXSW this past March refused to accept becoming invisible. They leaned in, and embraced one of the best benefits of making it to midlife — you simply run out of f***s to give. Thus emboldened, Jeannie Ralston, Ricki Fairley, Tammy Shaklee and Lyndie Benson took everything that led to being fifty — and propelled that experience into creating successful businesses.
No Imposters Here
Not that it was easy for any of them. With refreshingly painful honesty, they detailed struggles with imposter syndrome, fear — of failure, of running out of money, or what people might think — and the inevitable mistakes that come with making bold moves. At SXSW, they each shared three top tips to help other women looking to take charge of their own futures and redefine what midlife can be.
No is never the answer. It’s always ‘how’.
– Ricki Fairley, Founder of Dove Marketing
Female Entrepreneurs Step Up
More and more women like Ralston, Shaklee, Fairley and Benson are stepping up, and the future of older female entrepreneurs looks powerfully bright. 2019 has been a record year for VC investment in female-founded businesses, and the 55-64 year old age group holds the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the US.
On the fence about jumping in? Shaklee’s final suggestion was as positive and direct as she is: “Just go for it. Don’t over-research — just hang your shingle, start your biz, and you’ll work out the kinks.” Whether you’re at midlife or at another potential pivot point, check out our takeaways below for more on how to take charge and write your own future!
Watch the full SXSW session here. And for help turning your fifty-something lack of f***s to give into the power to write your own future — check out these great articles on entrepreneurship from Stout Magazine.