This is one story from Huff/Post50's new series "This Will Be Our Year: 15 Women Over 50 Shaking Things Up In 2015." We'll be following 15 remarkable ladies throughout the year as they make a radical change in their lives, whether it's embarking on a 500-mile hike, starting a new career or attempting to find love on the Internet. Start from the beginning here.
Tammy Miller, 55, is launching her own auctioneering business.
"I’ve probably done about seven or eight auctions since January. I’ve been on the road traveling a lot for speaking engagements, too. I’m just trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
A lot of the auctions I’m doing are charity auctions. I have friends from community organizations that I’m involved with, and they know that I’m an auctioneer. I start saying, ‘What about having some sort of fundraiser for your event?’ I’m basically just talking to people and asking them what they do and how we can partner together. I’ve even met a couple of people who might want to do paid auctions. That’s a key thing I’m looking for, since a lot of the charity events I do are not paid at this point. But I’m hoping to eventually be able to sustain the auction business through the paid real estate auctions so that I don’t have to charge for the local community charity events.
In our area, real estate auctions -- the kind of auctions that pay -- are not common. People still think that if they do a real estate auction, the people in their community are going to think that they’re in financial trouble. There’s still stigma associated with it, but I’m trying to break through that. For example, if there are several people interested in a house, that’s a perfect opportunity for an auction -- you get that competition going.
Right now, I’ve been making ends meet through a wing and a prayer. I’ve been able to pull in enough money to pay the bills, because speaking engagements have been really good. That’s helping until I get the auction business a little bit more established.
It’s still definitely a man’s world here. I’m probably just an irritant to the local men [laughs], but that’s alright because I’m just taking it one step at a time.
Whether you’re a speaker or an auctioneer, the bottom line is that you’re helping to make a difference in somebody’s life. There’s also an entertainment element to it. It’s exhilarating. It’s always very exciting to finish a really good auction and feel like people responded.
I’m finding a new normal. Some days I am out there beating the bushes for auctions; some days I’m out there beating the bushes for speaking engagements; some days I’m just sitting here trying to figure out what to do next and the phone rings and somebody says, ‘Hey, I got your name from somebody else.’ So there’s really not a new ‘normal’ with my routine, and I think that’s one of the things I love most about it. It’s always an adventure.
I’m not really sure what’s going to happen three months from now, but every time I get that little tiny inkling or even a little bit bigger inkling of ‘Oh my gosh, what did I do?’ I’m telling you, it just flows right in and I know that I got this."
Tammy in action: