This article is part of our #40over40 series.
This is our time! We’re stronger when we work together to lift other women up. Evolve is creating the list we've been waiting for -- the first-ever 40 Over 40 list! We're curating profiles of women who have or are in the process of reinventing their careers in their 40s, 50, 60s and beyond. We're thrilled to share these stories of reinvention - women returning to work, pivoting careers or launching new ventures!
What prompted your career reinvention? In 2013, I was nearing my 40th birthday and was a single mom and elementary school teacher struggling to get by. Every year my paycheck was smaller, thanks to a pay freeze and increasing health insurance costs and required state retirement contributions. I had been freelance writing for several years already to earn extra income and with the growing number of after-hours meetings at my school, I just couldn't justify continuing to stress about who would watch my daughter until I could get home.
One day I had enough and resigned--with no savings and no real plan. But I was determined to make it work. I spent the first years truly bootstrapping my fledgling business, with a lot of blood, sweat and tears. But now seven years later I'm going stronger than ever, helping other women figure out how to market their businesses online and get the visibility they need to continue to grow the business of their dreams.
In the meantime, I've been able to take control of my life--personally and professionally--and show my now 17-year-old daughter the value of hard work and passion.
What's the best thing about midlife career change? Moving from public education to being a business owner has allowed me more career freedom than I thought possible. I get to decide the direction I want my business to go and I can shift gears when life, my own passions or the market makes it necessary. I've been able to grow as a leader and truly impact hundreds of other business owners along the way.
What's the biggest challenge? The biggest challenge in my career change has been the uncertainty of it all. When I worked for someone else, there was always a guaranteed paycheck. As a business owner, it's up to me. I'm the CEO and the buck stops with me. It can feel really lonely, working in my home office alone each day. As the only income in my household, it's stressful and overwhelming at times. Even with a small team helping out behind the scenes, the business still rests firmly on my shoulders. Thankfully, I've surrounded myself with a community of supportive, like-minded women who have served as my sounding board, shoulder to cry on and biggest cheerleaders (and I for them).
What's your personal mantra or mission? Why? My mission is to provide accessible education and support to help other business owners market and grow their businesses with confidence...because there's nothing more frustrating than not knowing where to start or what to do next. Officially, my business's mission is: Educating and empowering business owners to create the content they need to help grow the business of their dreams.
Your best career advice for other women at midlife is... Don't ever wait until the perfect time to make a positive change. There's never a perfect time for anything and you deserve to live life now. And your children deserve to see you through that lens too.
Listen to Abby:
Podcast: Stories in Small Business
/Abbymherman1 on FB; Abby Herman on LI