I Launched my Tea Business
Why not? Women and men set up a business at 55 or 60 or older than that. I think experience, wealth of knowledge and the desire to do so trump any concerns. To be honest, there were/are things to worry about.
About 10 years ago, when I was working towards meeting a deadline and as a break from my work, I decided to write to Le Corden Bleu (LBC). As I typed in their email address, the address field completed automatically. Then to my surprise, previous emails between me and LBC popped up. Those emails were enquires I had made about courses, suitability for someone of a slightly mature age, cost and duration. The dates on those emails? Almost 3 years previously.
I worked in financial services because I wanted very much to work in an environment that was/is exciting, has huge potential and working hard is a badge most wear with pride. I can honestly say that I used to get up in the mornings and look forward to going to work. I loved it, I thrived on it too.
Though over the years, the shine wore off, the work became repetitive (to some extent), the pressure, the hours … Another deadline to work towards, sitting with friends and colleagues late at night and you all wonder why you do these jobs. We would wax lyrical about what we could be creating and working hard on our own dream business or careers.
Seeing those emails seeking something different and maybe a bit of hope fading, stayed with me for longer this time. I do like spreadsheets, they are logical and structured and I find I can organise my thoughts better in its cells.
Yes, there was a spreadsheet! I listed all the reasons for why I should stop making more enquires and what I should be doing with those answers. I look at that list now and there seems to be far more reasons not to start my own business! I think that’s more to do with my natural tendency to examine every worst-case scenario. If I list them all, then I know that possibility exists and I need to mitigate against it.
Fast forward a couple of years and I think in my late 40s I had come to understand my own nature somewhat more. As they say, you don’t want to be lying on your death bed and regret things you had not done. So I did it!
On that spreadsheet were my transferable skills; organisation and administration. More than any skill or knowledge or talent, there was an overwhelming need to create something that’s my own. That, I think, is the main reason I decided to set up a tea business. I knew something about finance (not accounting) and an introvert with an extrovert bursting to come out. All skills that have been rather handy in making that transition and building a start-up business.
On those evenings and nights when friends and colleagues sat and talked about our alternative/’dream’ jobs, mine was to have a tea house. In this tea house would be Ceylon tea to drink with cakes, pastries and patisserie from around the world. An industry that has some of the largest global players with massive market share.
I thought starting a business in my late 40s and launching my tea business at 50 would be challenging and exciting but maintaining it so where you truly grow grey hairs.