Entrepreneurial Spirit Soaring In Their 70s
By Joanne Richard.
Spring is in sight and with it comes new energy and opportunities, and possibly even a different career path and purpose.
While some of us are happy to quietly retire and leave the grind behind, other seniors are finding purpose in launching brand new careers. Studies show that what contributes to happiness midlife and beyond is essentially not the size of your bank account, but finding new challenges and opportunities to help fill your emotional bank account.
March is a great month for renewal, recalibration, and joyful celebration, including the widely-feted International Women’s Day. So let’s celebrate entrepreneurial wonderwomen who are regenerating and blazing online business trails in their 70s!
Forget retirement – Joan Cohen is all about rewiring. The 73-year-old launched her own jewelry company, Ever & Ivy, during the pandemic and is busy building her shiny new brand.
“There is nothing more invigorating than doing something you love,” says Cohen, of Toronto. “The myriad of experiences I have had over the last 40 years has now coalesced into a full-fledged soloprenurial e-comm business that has given me new challenges that I love. I feel more motivated than ever.”
Cohen had a series of careers prior to jewelry design, including jobs in the photography and advertising industries, as well as owning a furniture and interior design shop which she sold 20 years ago to spend more time with her family.
Making jewelry was just a hobby until she began to learn goldsmithing – she studied at Fleming College with a goldsmith who taught her the basics of creating jewelry out of sterling silver and gold. She started out by selling her handmade designs at a few specialty boutiques and the odd gallery in Canada, and more recently, scaled to increase volume for her online Ever & Ivy.
Described as classically-inspired, architecturally-styled personal adornment, pieces are generally oversized but not in the extreme, she says.
“Research tells us that what we wear impacts our brain and can influence mood, emotion, and performance – I offer designs that speak volumes about a person’s personality without ever saying a word.”
With her entrepreneurial road literally paved in gold and silver, Cohen’s career speaks to the immense benefits of being vital and connected. “I have been incredibly excited to wake up and have this challenge ahead of me every day. My husband and almost all of my contemporaries are retired or winding down their careers, so at times I feel at cross purposes with some. But my husband has been incredibly supportive, which is a huge help in keeping me on track.”
Her advice to get on the entrepreneurial track? Don’t let the naysayers get you down. Believe in yourself and take advantage of all of your life experiences to provide creative and practical stimulation.
“An extensive study in the U.S. found that the most productive age in human life is between 60-70 years of age. The second most productive stage of the human being is from 70-80 years of age, and the third is from 50-60 years of age. The average age of the Nobel Prize winner is 62 years. Don’t waste the most productive years of your life.”
Although Cohen doesn’t feel too old in the least to start a business, she says she feels the effect of ageism and the negative societal attitudes to her age. “For that reason, I have been reticent to become the face of Ever & Ivy. I don’t want to pigeonhole the brand’s appeal to only one age group as I believe it has broad appeal.”
While Cohen has designs for all ages, Joan MacDonald, 75, is sweating out a new career with a focus on other seniors and motivating them to get fit and feel fabulous just like her.
“You can’t turn back the clock, but you can wind it up again,” says McDonald, who has built a following of 1.6 million on Instagram @trainwithjoan, and has launched fully-guided Train with Joan workouts in the app store.
The fitness influencer lost close to 70 pounds and gained a wealth of health and energy – and fans. Her amazing transformation and training tips are featured with relentless positivity while wearing trendy body-hugging outfits, which some people have weighed in on as being shameful.
“I think the way a society treats its older population says a lot about that culture. Older people are not shameful.
We are not a burden.
We do not have to stay hidden.
It is my hope that more of us older people shed some light on how to age well, give some real hope to others that it is possible to keep your vitality as you get older, and that older people have something important to contribute to society.”
MacDonald is energized by helping others age a better way. Just a few years ago, she got winded walking up a flight of stairs – she was overweight and on multiple meds. The doctor suggested more meds. “My daughter Michelle, who is a transformation coach, was visiting at the time and gave me an ultimatum: change my health with her help or continue to decline. You know what option I picked!”
She adds, “I was slowly dying – now I’m living,” and obviously living her best life. “Since making my health a priority, I feel like I can truly live my life versus just endure it. I have the energy to complete everything I want to do, from keeping up with my daughter to travel,” says McDonald, who divides her time between Cobourg, ON, and Tulum, Mexico.
She loves sharing her story: “I love seeing others live their best life. I think others would enjoy my story because if this grandma can change, anyone can!”
Her advice: Instead of focusing on everything out of your control, focus on what you can do that is beneficial for your life. It may be going for a walk daily, getting eight hours of solid sleep per night, or tracking your nutrition. “Habits propel us in a new direction each day.”
And age has nothing to do with your potential, she adds. “Age is just a number! So much of success and overall abundance comes from a strong mindset. You have to believe that you can do it to achieve it. Foster a strong mindset and you would be amazed at what you can achieve.”
Get healthier today with MacDonald’s tips:
- Start with what you can. If that is walking a few blocks start there and then slowly add more when you can.
- Track your food in a free app like mymacros+.
- Track daily water intake.
- Get enough proper sleep – eight hours a night if you can.
- Keep your mind sharp. I like to meditate daily – use an app like headspace. And use a brain app like elevate.