We in North America sometimes forget that the Great Recession of 2008-2009 did in fact extend beyond our shores. Ask anyone in the UK at that time and they will most assuredly tell you that it definitely had a major impact across the pond.
Such was the case with Chris & Susan Beesley (both in their 60's) from just outside London in the UK. Accountants and Management Consultants by profession they started a successful consulting business in the veterinary space in 1994. Not afraid of hard work Chris & Susan built and grew their business on the back of 60 hour weeks. In 2005 recognizing that they wouldn't be able to maintain this pace into their 60's, they made a significant investment in real estate in order to further pad their retirement nest egg. What looked like a sound strategy in an environment of exploding real estate values, quickly turned into a giant millstone around their necks as the recession that originated in the U.S. devastated real estate values in the UK. Their retirement nest egg was effectively blown into the water.
Faced with the prospect of working 70 hour weeks and beyond in their consulting business in order to help rebound or the prospect of living hand to mouth on meager government pensions the Beesley's recognized that standing still was not an option. As fate would have it they were researching online education at that time in order to help some of their clients further leverage the internet. It was through this research that they came to the realization that that they could actively build a business, one they could start right away on a part-time business. So they made the decision to actually ratchet back on their consulting hours and took the plunge.
The first couple of years were a struggle and income was erratic at best. They were trying a lot of things and nothing seemed to be working. In fact in 2012 it was at the point where they were facing the prospect of one of them finding a job. They credit the support they provided for each other as very important in getting them through their early struggles. It wasn't until they realized they needed help in the form of a mentor (already running a very successful online business) that everything started to fall into place.
Chris & Susan also noted that the decision to go to a major networking event that they attended in Atlanta during that period as a pivotal event in the success of their business. The opportunity to meet and build relationships with others in the online education space helped them realize that they weren't in it alone and could have a whole community of support moving forward.
Six years on they now have their own training platform – and support and train online entrepreneurs all over the world working with them to find the right opportunity, system or platform for them (because “one size does not fit all“) and the right learning platform from home study to private mentoring. They also run their own training courses and workshops and best of all retreats from their chalet in the French Alps and also in London and Spain.
It is Chris & Susan's aim to help every single person who crosses their path wanting to “change their life” by finding out what their pathway is, what are their dreams and aspirations and to set them on a journey to achieve their success. Their ultimate aim is to achieve the financial freedom that everyone craves for and to help as many other people along that path as they can. Learn more at chrisandsusanbeesley.com
Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength." Betty Friedan
Chris & Susan believe that three key elements were absolutely critical to their success.
- You have to work with people who have done what you want to do and are willing to help and guide you.
- You have to have a proven system that is easy to follow and will work for you even if you have never done anything like this before.
- A community of like minded people who support and inspire you doing something that is working for 1,000's of other people just like you.
So what are their lessons learned that could benefit any aspiring 50+ entrepreneur?
- The fear will go away once you make the decision. As Wayne Gretzky (of hockey fame) once said; "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." The Beesley's didn't have all the answers when they started, but they still made the decision to move forward.
- You must get yourself a mentor. Chris & Susan were getting no traction in their new venture until they found someone already successful in their space to support their efforts.
- Don't be afraid to learn new skills. From creating a website to public speaking courses. They noted that the knowledge to get started on any social media platform is only a google search away. When you check out Chris and Susan's videos and on-line presence it's hard to imagine that they were the farthest thing from internet savvy when they started on their journey six years ago.
- The importance of building strong relationships. Learn to brand yourself and start building a following. People work with those who they know, like and trust. Chris & Susan now have a business network that spans the globe.
Chris & Susan are a powerful example of not settling at any age. At an age when many are thinking of winding down convinced that the die is cast for their lives the Beesley's are just getting started. What would your next chapter have in store if all things were possible?