FITCHBURG — As she started to approach the traditional retirement age, Barbara Boustead knew she wasn’t interested in a traditional retirement.
Boustead, 61, a clinical social worker for Journey Mental Health Center in Madison, wanted to find a way to continue to help people as she moved into her golden
“I thought, when I turn 60 I want to transition into something that will be my final chapter and I want it to be really meaningful,” Boustead said. “What I like to do is work with money. I like working with seniors. How do I make this work? They didn’t have a name for it, but I just felt there was something out there.”
That something turned out to be Mary’s Daughter LLC, a business that provides daily money management services for older adults and veterans.
It’s a business born of her own experiences in helping her mother, Mary, now 92, deal with those issues.
Boustead was one of three “encore entrepreneurs” who shared their stories with a packed room of about 60 would-be entrepreneurs Thursday at the Fitchburg Library as part of a forum co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration Wisconsin District Office and AARP Wisconsin.
While the stereotypical entrepreneur may be the twenty-something tech wiz living in his parents’ basement, a growing number of small business startups are coming from the ranks of experienced workers who may have fallen victim of corporate downsizing or are just looking to transition into a rewarding retirement career.
“There seems to be an entirely new life stage that is developing,” said Sam Wilson, AARP Wisconsin director. “It used to be young adulthood, then start your career and then retire. Now we’re starting to see that the first career isn’t necessarily the only career and there’s a segment when people want to do something for themselves or something entirely different.
How do you know if your idea is worth $1 million or not worth a cent?
That’s where good advice comes in handy. A big part of the SBA and AARP missions is to connect aspiring mid-life entrepreneurs with mentors. Thursday’s forum included representatives from the Madison chapter of SCORE, the UW-Madison Small Business Development Center and the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp.
Even though she had 35 years of experience in the field and ran her own business in New Jersey before coming to Madison, Boustead credits the WWBIC and her business coach from the SBDC with helping her get her new venture off the ground, as well as the Wisconsin Women’s Entrepreneurs, who are helping with the bookkeeping side of the business.
“You don’t have to be competitors in this market, you can be collaborators,” she said. “I am loving it like I couldn’t tell you. I thought my 50s were great, but the 60s are just like … wow.”