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Never Too Old— My Coding Journey as an Older Entrepreneur

September 11, 2018 By Virginia McGowan, PhD

I’ve never been much into technology. Sure, I learned to code early on (in Fortran in the 1970s, yikes!) and I can use basic programs and apps, but the technology has moved faster than I have. Necessity called, however, when I started a new career as an entrepreneur at age 60 and then established another business this past spring 2018 at 65.

 

The first business is straightforward: I offer research, editing, and writing services (www.writeeditgroup.com). As a member of Editors Canada and The Society for Editors and Proofreaders, I’m listed on online directories so am easy to find.

 

The second business requires me to be more proactive. It’s taking me to new places as an indie author who writes and publishes about mentoring for solopreneurs (https://businessmentoringsolution.com). My first book in The Business Mentoring Series (Harness the Power of Mentoring: How to Work with the Right Mentor to Save Your Small Business— A Guide for the Solopreneur) will be published in fall 2018.

 

Something that non-authors may not know is that writing the book is about 20 percent of the work; the rest is marketing and promotion. After all, if you don’t sell your books, it’s not a business—it’s a hobby. If you are like me and know next to nothing about marketing and promotion, you could end up with a dud of a business and no book sales. A bit of online research revealed some key facts about what is needed to succeed.

 

The first and most important fact is this: In this fast-moving information-rich world, it’s essential to have an active online presence. You simply can’t exist as an entrepreneur without it. You need to be actively using online technology to brand your business, get it in front of your customers, and make your business work. But the price tag can be staggering. As an earlier blogger on this site noted, you could spend thousands of dollars and thousands of hours getting up to speed. You likely don’t even know what you need to know or what is possible.

 

As a solopreneur, I don’t have a team of IT experts to call upon for solutions.

 

Enter Ladies Learning Code/Canada Learning Code. Two workshops got me started.

 

My first experience was with a Ladies Learning Code workshop in spring 2018 in Charlottetown, PEI. From 10 AM to 4 PM on a Saturday, a small group of learners were walked through the steps required to build a blogging site on WordPress. I arrived with a laptop—and not a clue as to what to do—and left at the end of the workshop with two blogging sites, a working knowledge of WordPress, and the confidence to just do it.

 

I followed that with a two-session (3 hours each) workshop this summer on using Pixlr for personal branding, where I learned about the basics of design (logos, font, colours, raster versus vector images, and where to find cool stuff) and completed a project using photo editing.

 

Now I can do my own personal branding! I’ve created banners for my Facebook and Twitter pages and even created covers for the information products that complement my book (e.g., a “Top TIPS” booklet and Planner/Journal). I’ve also created a branded website for my writing and publishing business where I offer other books and information products, training, mentoring, consulting, and speaking engagements on mentoring for solopreneurs.

 

My latest venture is designing an online course from my book and putting the finishing touches on my website in time for a soft launch at the end of September 2018. Who would have guessed?

 

The experience with Ladies Learning Code/Canada Learning Code has been fantastic and taken me to places I never thought I’d be able to go. It’s not just learning the technology. It’s the teaching system, where mentors and instructors walk you through the steps and you develop confidence to try new strategies.

 

You’re never too old to benefit from the Canada Learning Code experience. It’s certainly changed my world.

 

This is a guest blog from Virginia McGowan PhD of McGowan & Co.: The Write Edit Group (providing excellence in research, writing, and editing of nonfiction) and The Business Mentoring Solution (an independent business dedicated to supporting solopreneur success). The Business Mentoring Solution offers books, information products, workshops, mentoring, consulting, and online courses to promote mentoring for solopreneurs to help them fulfill their dreams. Virginia is available for speaking engagements for your group, organization, or conference (author@thebusinessmentoringsolution.com ).

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