Not a Soccer Mom / No Mom Jeans…

In today’s entrepreneurship model, women who start companies in their forties to fifties are a fast-growing group. And this invites a whole new set of challenges, because most people still think successful companies are started by men in their twenties (or women in their twenties).

What happens with women is that we have kids and have much more complex lives when we’re younger. Once our kids get a little older, we have all this creative energy that we put toward creating really great companies.

According to a Kauffman Foundation report published last year, people aged 45 to 54 started more companies than any other age bracket. In 2013, 30% of new entrepreneurs were in this age bracket, up from 25.2% in 2003. On the other hand, people aged 20 to 34 started the least number of companies in 2013, at 22.7%, down from 26.4% in 2003.

As more women start companies later in their careers, they find themselves facing unique challenges that deal not only with sexism, but also ageism. Below, Cynthia Schames, founder of AbbeyPost, Sara Schaer, founder of KangaDo, and Anna Zornosa, founder of Ruby Ribbon, share how to overcome the unique challenges of being an older woman entrepreneur and blowing expectations out of the water in their second act.

You’re up against extremely overconfident twentysomethings.

Pattern recognition among investors in Silicon Valley is a very real thing, and if you don’t fit the mold, it often works against you.

“Twentysomething-year-old men have a completely different style of pitching [compared to older women entrepreneurs], where they don’t necessarily know the answers to all the questions but they’re so brash about it, they’re extremely convincing,” says Schaer, who started KangaDo, an app that enables busy parents and their friends to help each other get more done, in her forties. “You need to know this is what you’re up against, so target the right investors and make sure you’re not underconfident, because you have to compensate for being an older woman founder.”

You’ll be in a lot of situations in which you feel like an outsider.

“It’s weird to go to a meetup and literally be the oldest person in the room,” says Schames, who started AbbeyPost, an Etsy-like company for plus-size clothing, in her early forties last year. “If you sit there and dwell on it, you feel like a total outsider. You feel like, What the hell am I doing here?”

I’m not a soccer mom. I’m certainly not wearing mom jeans. I don’t let it intimidate me at all.
“I’ve been in the tech industry since 1994, so I already knew that I was going to be surrounded by young people,” she continues. “I’m cool with that. But that’s because that’s my individual personality, I’m cool. I’m not a soccer mom. I’m certainly not wearing mom jeans. I don’t let it intimidate me at all.”

One of Schames’s tactics in these situations is to remember that age can work to your advantage because you have experience that the smartest twentysomething-year-olds don’t have.

“Fortysomething women have a ton of juggling abilities, and I think that that makes us essentially the best entrepreneurs,” she says.

You’ll get asked uncomfortable questions.

Both Schames and Schaer have been asked questions about their family life that young male (or female) entrepreneurs probably wouldn’t get asked.

The first time Schames was asked by an investor how she was going to run a company and have kids at the same time, she was so shocked she didn’t have an answer. The second time it happened, she was prepared and asked the investor how he did it, but Schames recalls this wasn’t the best response.

During these situations, Schaer advises not letting it ruin your day or your conversation. This can sometimes prove a bit more difficult than one might think.

You’ll need to prove a good track record.

There’s a great deal of unconscious bias happening, says Schames, and most male investors can’t identify with the problems older women are trying to solve.

“I’ve actually had an investor say to me plus-sized people don’t have money,” she admits.

Since older women entrepreneurs may find it challenging to connect with male investors, it’s important to already have traction in your own company before pitching for funds, advises Zornosa, who left her corporate job to start Ruby Ribbon in 2011, at the age of 52.

“In my twenties and thirties, I would not have had the confidence that I do now to create a thriving company,” she tells Fast Company. “When making the decision [to start a company] when you’ve already had a successful career, your eyes are wide open. I knew that doing a startup would be akin to having another baby.” Today, Zornosa has 800 women selling her products in stores, salons, and even in their living rooms.

The 25-year-old guy is not the main consumer. . . . He’s not even close to being a major consumer in the U.S.
Once, when Costello asked a contact for an introduction to a well-known, aggressive angel investor, her contact told her it wouldn’t be worth it because the investor is only looking for “the really sexy opportunities.”

“The problem is, the 25-year-old guy is not the main consumer. . . . He’s not even close to being a major consumer in the U.S. unless you’re looking at video games and large-screen TVs,” says Costello, who started Portfolia in her fifties. “Major consumers in the U.S. are women by 85% of all consumer products and they actually buy the majority of enterprise products as well.”

The best investors are the ones who can recognize great companies created by women based on their experiences as main consumers. They also recognize that women who start businesses later in life are proving that entrepreneurial success doesn’t happen only in youth and it certainly doesn’t happen only to twentysomething-year-old males.

“Every time I run into a brick wall, I figure out a way to either climb it, go under it, or smash through it,” says Schames. “Brute force is what I would recommend to any female entrepreneur, especially if they’re starting a company later in life.”

Exerpted from: FC


  1. quest bars cheap

    August 23, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    What i do not realize is if truth be told how you’re no longer really a lot more well-preferred than you may be right now.

    You are very intelligent. You know therefore considerably in terms
    of this subject, produced me in my opinion imagine it from numerous
    numerous angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved until it’s something to accomplish with Girl gaga!
    Your own stuffs excellent. All the time maintain it up!

  2. plenty of fish dating site

    August 14, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but
    instead of that, this is wonderful blog.
    A fantastic read. I’ll certainly be back.

  3. pof

    August 1, 2019 at 5:46 pm

    Today, I went to the beach front with my kids.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched
    her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I
    had to tell someone! pof natalielise

  4. plenty of fish

    July 31, 2019 at 12:36 am

    Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your article post.
    I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

  5. plenty of fish dating site

    July 25, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which
    blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve
    had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.
    I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  6. natalielise

    July 24, 2019 at 9:16 am

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I
    get four e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Thanks a lot! plenty of fish natalielise

  7. how to get help in windows 10

    July 21, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Wow, incredible weblog format! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made running a blog look easy. The total look of your
    website is great, as well as the content!

  8. how to get help in windows 10

    July 21, 2019 at 5:07 am

    May I just say what a comfort to find an individual
    who really understands what they’re talking about over the internet.

    You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important.

    A lot more people ought to look at this and understand this side of your story.
    It’s surprising you’re not more popular because
    you definitely possess the gift.

  9. plenty of fish dating site

    July 18, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Hello there! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading
    your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums
    that cover the same topics? Thank you!

  10. how to get help in windows 10

    July 17, 2019 at 4:46 pm

    This is really fascinating, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and sit up for in the hunt
    for extra of your fantastic post. Additionally, I’ve shared your site in my social networks

  11. quest bars cheap

    June 22, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    I have read so many articles or reviews concerning the blogger lovers however this article is really a good paragraph, keep
    it up.


    June 17, 2019 at 5:31 am

    Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your website
    and in accession capital to assert that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I
    achievement you access consistently quickly.

  13. Rosanna

    May 22, 2019 at 11:22 am

    I really appreciate your supportive comment. Thank you so much for being a reader. Have a fabulous day!

  14. Rosanna

    May 21, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Thank you!
    I really appreciate you taking the time to comment and show support. I am happy to hear that you have enjoyed the information. Have a wonderful day.

  15. how to get help in windows 10

    May 21, 2019 at 2:31 am

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future.

  16. Rosanna

    May 19, 2019 at 8:51 am

    Thank you! I am happy you found the information helpful and enjoyed the article. I appreciate you being a reader and taking time to comment and show support

  17. Rosanna

    May 19, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Thank you! I am happy you found the information helpful and enjoyed the article. You can definitely check with WordPress, They have amazing customer service and can help you with startup. Good Luck! I appreciate you being a reader and taking time to comment and show support

  18. Rosanna

    May 17, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Thank you so much for taking time to comment. Yes, starting and running a blog requires a lot of money and time BUT is totally worth it! I appreciate you being a reader and showing support. Have a wonderful day!

Leave a Reply