After being laid off twice within six months, there was only one thing for Judy Goss to do: start her own business.
My first lay off came from a huge corporation and the second time from a boutique company. I thought 'I'm not safe anywhere, so why not work for myself?' I had always put 150% into everyone else's business and the lay-offs were because of the recession. I always "built" and managed parts of companies that were very successful for others and just felt like it was time I do it for myself.
Judy was an editor at More Magazine for almost two years and also their national TV spokesperson. She spent a big chunk of time traveling across the country speaking to women and listening to their stories about life after forty.
Every woman has a story and as I was working at More I turned forty and realized the need for women to tell those stories and to be highlighted. But I realized that hardly anyone gets into More Magazine and every woman deserves to be heard.
That feeling of wanting to support other women was the beginning of Judy's new business called Over 40 Females. Judy recalls:
Getting laid off was so traumatic, but in the end, it was the best thing that could have ever happened, it really pushed me out there and gave me the visibility and experience I needed for a company like Over 40 Females. Now, I'm helping our members get press for their businesses, find jobs, grant a scholarship, and so much more with everything that I have utilized from my experience in corporate life.
My vision was to bring the pages of More Magazine to life -- I imagined connecting these women with each other and giving them a platform to be heard and seen. Over 40 Females' motto is "Connect, Encourage and Inspire," and we do that with live networking events where we have different chapters in selected areas (so far we have eight). We combine education with networking and most importantly at each event, each woman gets to stand up and introduce themselves and their business or what they want to get out of the meeting."
Judy chose a membership-based business model that offers members several different tiers of opportunity.
Judy had twin daughters that were four years old when she started her business, She says that being a mompreneur "is a both challenge and a source of pride for me."
I'm proud of them both -- the twins and my company, and I try to bounce one off of the other so both thrive and can take advantage of what the other has to offer. For example, owning your own company gives you more freedom to be there for the kids' activities, and having kids teaches you how to be flexible and a quick thinker which is needed for business. Every day I make sure I try and balance it with my family responsibilities because I'm a workaholic, and I don't want to miss my kid's upbringing and precious moments.
Judy's Advice: What You Can Do After Receiving Pink Slip:
- First you have to "get it all out" -- give yourself time to cry, get mad, blow off steam, sleep in, feel sorry for yourself! Give yourself a deadline -- 5 days? 2 weeks? Not much more than that, then after your cutoff date you move forward mentally. You have to be there mentally to forge ahead for the next step, so give yourself time to grieve. Then get ready to go!
- After you have officially grieved, sit down and make a list of what you've always wanted to do, but was always restricted with time or finances. Or maybe it's one thing... do you have an idea for an invention? Do you want to start freelancing? Try to visit all the hopes and dreams that you haven't dared to consider until now.
- Pick the one thing that you want to focus on (for now!) and start researching how you can start it. When you open yourself up to new ventures, you would be surprised at the things that happen to make it possible for you. I told myself at the age of 40 that I wanted to be a TV host (I didn't have any prior experience), and within one year I was sitting across from Laura Bush, interviewing her in a private sit-down for Better TV, and then got hired for two other shows after that. Anything is possible!
- Tap into the resources on social media and the Internet -- it's free, and you will get valuable connections, great advice, make friends, even find people in the same position as you to learn from or empathize with.
Judy talks about a recent success story of Over40Females:
Most recently, a woman who was helping her sick husband for years started baking gluten-free cupcakes out of her house. She got orders from her neighbors and expanded so rapidly she needed a commercial kitchen. But then she stopped herself because she was hesitant to risk signing a commercial lease. Right around that time she attended the launch of our New Haven Chapter and brought her cupcakes for everyone to sample... I will never forget when it came time for everyone to stand up and introduce themselves, she stood up, told her story, then about 15 minutes later another woman stood up and said that she owned eight restaurants and she wanted to order the cupcakes for all of her restaurants. That opportunity gave the baker the confidence to go sign the lease, and the next month when I saw her at another event she was all smiles and said it had become official that very day. Her company is called "Freckled Frosting."
With social media fast becoming the favorite tool for networking, remember to save time in your schedule for off-line connections too. Nothing is stronger than a face to face meeting coupled with the energy of a group of like minded women. There are many groups like this in every city... and if there's not, maybe you should start one too!