Monday, March 26, 2007

Mixing menopause and business...

There are so many babyboomer women who are running their own businesses these days, so I thought it was high time for us to talk about the challenges we come up against and how we deal with them. They are certainly different than what men deal with (and many times they, the men, have a rougher time than we do), but I believe it's different than younger women starting businesses too.

I kind of "fell into" my business over 12 years ago. You can hear my story here. I didn't know diddly about running a business (and I'm not sure I know NOW by the way that my taxes look!) back then, it all "just happened". What I'm saying is, it wasn't a concious effort to start a business. I was blessed with this crazy idea for a cartoon character who suffers with every single symptom of menopause and I had at least a tiny bit of hope that maybe I could make something out of it.

10 years is a long learning curve, don't you think? People keep telling me I should be proud of what I've done, but I keep thinking I should be MUCH further along in the game. I look at other women who have started businesses at the same age and within the same niche, with the same target market and they're going gang busters! Look at the Red Hat Society or Menopause the Musical! They're HUGE and able to capitalize on their talents and on this time in their lives. I can't help but wonder what I've done wrong to not reach the same level of success.

We've all had our handicaps, like doing all that we do at a time when our bodies seem to be working against us! Just like millions of other women, we have to figure out what is best for us individually so we can cope with the stresses and complications of running a business. I feel part of the reason we are able to do it is knowing we can do anything....that's one of the benefits of being middle-aged, we gain a lot more confidence in our abilities, plus we know what we want.

One of the unexpected issues that came up after I had been in business with Minnie Pauz Enterprises for about 2 years was the competitive nature of many of these other women. At times when I thought we could help each other by partnering on projects, I saw a lot of pulling back and mistrust between business owners. It even got to the point where I quit offering to give free publicity and advertising because the other party wasn't living up to their side of the bargain. There's a lot of talk about what women can accomplish together, but in business the "sisterhood" doesn't really hold much water.

If you have a business related to women, menopause, babyboomers, let us know how you're doing it in the midst of the hot flashes, insomnia and depression. Are you going it alone or do you have a partner? Do you prefer how you're doing it? How's business? :)


  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I definitely can relate to alot of the tings you mentioned.

    After spending 25 years in Corporate America, I decided I had had enough of young people coming in thinking they knew more they me and getting promoted OVER me so I decided to take my wealth of knowledge and do my own thing. Furthermore, young people in the workplace don't understand menopause and hot flashes. They just think you're a B****

    I now run my own media consulting business where I coach clients on how to prepare for the successful interviews. I also wrote a book at the onset of my perimenopause (which I didn't know what that at the time) called Whatever! A Baby Boomer's Journey Into Middle Age.

    I'm loving my journey right now and when i feel a hot flash coming on I just say "It ain't Personal...It's Menopause. I'll get over it and you will too."

    Peace & Blessings,
    Beverly Mahone

  2. Hi Dee,

    I have a menopause related business too. It's just getting started and it's slow going. Since this is the first time I've had a business of my own it has been a real adventure. I've reduced my hours at my day job to work on it too. Some times I feel a little anxious about this new venture, but I think there are a lot of women out there who will benefit from the things my web-store carries. It just takes a little time and effort to connect.
    I wasn't familiar with Minnie Pauz before I started my business, but I have to say that now, I look toward what you have done as an example. Your personality shines through and it makes me feel like I know you (somewhat). It feels like you're a trustworthy and reliable source. On my business blog, I try to be just as open. I just hope it doesn't backfire and people decide they know me and don't like or trust me. Oh well, that's the risk.

    Colleen Browning

  3. Thanks for your comments Bev and Colleen! We really do need to continue giving each other support and encouragement throughout this transition because no one else really UNDERSTANDS us!

    It's one thing going through menopause, but in a corporate environment everything is multiplied and it's very hard to recover your professional attitude when all you want to do is wring someone's neck and they're looking at you like you've just lost any resemblance to the human being they knew an hour ago!

    Both of your websites are great and I hope you start getting lots of traffic. You're doing what I did at the beginning...I went to every women's message board I could find (that was age appropriate) and got to know the women so that they could see that I had something to offer that was different from all the rest. We each have our own take on things and there's always people who agree and those who don't. Makes life interesting, doesn't it? :)

    I will get over to your sites to post real soon. (hopefully this evening) Thanks again for the feedback! Dee

  4. The part of your post about how sisterhood is often just "talk" when it comes to business rings very true for me.

    Unfortunately, I have discovered that it's often difficult to get involved in joint projects with other women business owners--unless the businesses are are 180 degrees apart from each other--because everyone starts to get all competitive and weird.

    But a really good friend of mine (who recently died of breast cancer) was a successful fashion designer from the U.K. who started a French antiques business when her cancer progressed to the stage where she could no longer handle the rigors of the fashion business. (You can read about my friend here:

    Judy's advice to me was: It doesn't matter if people steal your ideas or try to do what you're already doing, because there's only one YOU and no one is going to do things the way you do them. So it's really a moot point to get your knickers in a twist over competition, because there really isn't any.

    She gave me a lot of great advice during the time that we were friends, but this advice has been particularly helpful--and I've taken it to heart.

    The other part that's difficult about having my own business and working from a home office is getting dressed in the morning! My clients know that I work from a home office--so they call bright and early when I'm still in my pajamas. One day last week I couldn't shower and dress until 1 p.m. because the phone kept ringing. I guess I could've let voicemail pick up, but I was afraid I'd miss something important (like a new client!).

  5. Melanie, that's the very BEST part of working from home! :) But I know what you mean when you find yourself still in your jammies say when the UPS guy arrives for a pickup or delivery, right?

    Well, Ladies....I've got the perfect solution (and it would make a great impact on work at homers like us, but I don't know how to get it going. I have the stage to promote it, but first have to get it made. I'll throw it out here and see what you all think.

    Company name is: Jammies, Inc.
    Product is: comfy pajamas that look like a business suit!! hahahaha...don't you love it? You could take the kids to school, take out the garbage, get the morning paper and answer the door in your jammies, but no one would look at you like you're crazy! :)

    Certainly it would be a novelty item, but useful at the same time! Both men and women could use it (we could have gowns printed with a skirt suit). There are millions of work at home people who would love these!

    Ok, so what do I need first, investors? :)

  6. Dee,

    You are clever! I LOVE the Jammies, Inc. idea. It's absolutely hysterical.

    With these loose-fitting dresses I'm wearing these days (due to puffing up like Baby Huey because I'm eating so darned much), I kind of feel like I've got my jammies on all day. If it has a waist, or a waist that's not elastic--get it away from me!