The question that opened new doors and changed my work-life forever
Several years ago, I asked a good friend and client to help me with the challenge of pivoting my strategic business to a new operating model.
What started out as a way of injecting new life into the business for myself as the owner, and a somewhat purely selfish commercial decision soon transformed into a purposeful mission far greater than I ever imagined.
And one question was the catalyst.
What about mature people?
To add a little background, the challenge I had asked my mentor to help on was how I could grow my business without necessarily adding more staff.
I am a creative person who loves strategy and thinking in futures — setting goals and then working out how to achieve them.
I am not a good people manager. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty good with people. I just do not like the nitty-gritty, day-to-day grind of managing the work and roles of other people. Or at least I didn’t at the time.
My mentor’s question was directed to me in regards to who I would be willing to have in a licensed network of advisors. In other words, had I thought about mature people being part of that team.
My answer was that I didn’t care what age the person was. Just as I didn’t care what culture they came from, whether they were male or female, or indeed their religious persuasion. I’ve been fortunate in my working life to work with many individuals across the spectrum of humanity.
My only consideration was — could they do the work and deliver results.
My mentor — a wise individual that he is — sent me away to do some research on mature people. As he felt that in this specific situation, that experienced and wise mature people would be a good fit for our business model.
What I discovered in my research was like opening a can of worms — if you’ve heard that expression. I found high levels of discrimination — Ageism if you prefer that term. And a resultant lack of opportunity for mature aged people in our workforce and indeed in business.
I was surprised. Surprise turned to disbelief. And this disbelief morphed into the kernel of an idea that I could create a new business that would help this demographic create a secure financial future through owning a business.
Within two weeks I was in the offices of the Australian Human Rights Commission learning more about the problem and our new business — Silver & Wise was born.
Following around 2000 hours of research and development, we launched our first services for mature aspiring business owners. I also wrote a book, which became a category bestseller and a finalist in the Australian Career Book Awards. Two years later, we followed this up with another best selling book and another finalist award.
In the past five years, we’ve had several thousand mature business owners read our books, complete our courses or receive coaching from our growing network of mature business coaches.
And this is how my work transitioned from owning a business created to secure my own financial future, to a business aiming to help thousands of mature people secure their own financial futures.
This purposeful business means far more to me now than any other work I’ve ever done. It is now a business that can create billions of dollars of social impact from a few million dollars of revenue.
I want to help many more people through my books and courses and a team of coaches.
My work is now a mission. And that mission has changed my life.