17 Mar Calling All Introverted Entrepreneurs
Many times over the past few years I have talked with women who feel that they are going to need to retire sooner rather than later from the work they currently do. These women are often in jobs that require physical labor that has taxed their bodies over the years. Women are resilient in so many ways. Our bodies are uniquely able to not only bear children, but to carry them around while lifting so many awkward objects over and over again in the most obscure ways. There are even those stories of women lifting cars to protect their children. A woman is an incredible powerhouse that is so often underestimated… And yet we wear down. We wear out.
Many if not ALL of these women are far too young to just ‘retire’. They are not useless! They are not without purpose! They have so much to offer and want to do something, but: What?
After many years of the same physical activity, our bodies begin to tell us “Enough”!!! This happens with men too, but I have observed women will ignore this cry for longer than men, and work until our bodies literally give out.
Back in 1956, when disability insurance became part of Social Security, the benefit was for men who were no longer able to financially support their families. Women have always played a big role in the support of their households, even financially; however, the men were traditionally given this responsibility. Fast forward to today where disability benefits are paid almost equally to men and women. This is also factoring in that women are not as equally insured for the disability coverage.
Life is so precious! Our bodies are not designed to live forever. We are here for a while and then we are gone. It’s so important to live as if you will not live forever. The way we chose to do this is very personal; however, has something to do with being mindful of what is important and not taking it for granted. If you sit for a living then you must remember to stand as much as possible and exercise regularly to remind your body that you are not ready to give up the areas of your physical self that don’t get used. If you stand for a living then you must stretch and workout the areas that don’t get moved enough. If you work a hard labor job then you MUST start planning your next career now because your body can only do hard labor for a while. The very lucky ones are able to do these jobs until 60’s or 70’s.
Some of my oldest clients are in their 90’s. They have been ‘retired’ for many years; however, their current lifestyle is anything but a rocking chair or a sailboat. The most fulfilling lives are literally filled with full! They are filled with purpose and activities that feed beyond the physical. We are not meant to live a life that pushes down our warning signals. God has designed us with signals (I call them signals). The Holy Spirit speaks to us through these signals. When we are working in a job that is hurting us by not allowing our skills to be utilized to the point of what God designed us for, the signals start to go off. God wants us to be living a life of purpose. That purpose always includes helping others. Always!
The women in my life who have been the most amazing chose lines of work that would be deeply humbling to many of us. The hospice caregiver. The bedpan changer. The house cleaner. The teachers assistant who worked with disabled children in their homes. Each of these jobs are incredibly difficult both physically and mentally. Each of these jobs and many others like them, are very low paying and hard (HARD) work. Many women in these professions do these jobs because they are passionate about helping others. They sometimes feel a need to help those who are less fortunate than themselves… These are the mothers who would lay down their lives for their children… These women are amazing to me. Yet these are also the women who worry the most.
I’m kind of picking on the older female generation here, but these words are true for any age. Not one of us is guaranteed a life where we live to 100. Some of us are here until we are 20, some 30, some 40, some 50, some 60, some 70, some 80, some 90, some 100 and some 110 or more! It is not up to us to tell God how long we should live, or even to try and guess. We are here for the exact number of days that God has for us to be here. Please stop worrying about it!
Okay now some tips for what to do if you find yourself identifying as a (not so outgoing) introverted person who also doesn’t want to work for other people. You might prefer jobs where you are left alone to hide in a cubicle, or you might be cleaning houses just so you can pick your own hours and have the life your family demands of you. You might also be working for a school district or hospital because the benefits are good but your ‘sensors’ are going off like crazy all the time now. So what can you do?
The internet has opened up a whole world of service businesses where people feel connected even when they are still isolated. You can read about the opportunities for life coaching or online teaching to name a couple popular ones. Yet I am constantly reminded of the need for local service based businesses. There might be one or two trustworthy pet-sitters in your town for example, but would you call them? What if you go out of town and need someone to water your plants and feed your cat… Do you have a neighbor you trust to do these things? Some of us do, but many of us don’t. We live in an age where people move so much and facebook groups have taken the place of what used to be a neighborhood community.
Ask yourself if you are a decent person who is trustworthy and does things that you think are common sense, like pick up after yourself when you drop a piece of trash, or bring in your neighbors garbage can when you see they forgot to bring it up off the street. If you answered yes, then you are the type of person people are looking to hire for things ‘Neighbors’ used to do for free. House-siting, Pet-siting, Dog-Walking, Baby-siting, Running Errands… These are things that people who have high paying jobs or who retired from high paying jobs and now do a lot of traveling, would LOVE to pay someone to do for them. So if you are not a high income earner or if you just have a desire to stop doing something you know you need to stop doing, then think about it…
Introverted women love to have quiet time and love to make money doing things that requires the least amount of public speaking. So put the word out at your local church that you would be open to house-sitting or pet-sitting… Do some Googling to see what the going rate is for something like that in your town… I know I would rather have a nice lady from my church feed my dog than some stranger I found online… Then you get referrals because, well; you are a decent person who picks up after themselves and does common decency type stuff! Which believe it or not, is not so common anymore.
You my friend, just might have been handed a golden opportunity right in your neighborhood. Stop doing the stuff you know God is telling you to get out of. There are opportunities all around you if you will look up from the daily grind.
Be Blessed My Friend,
Michal Slate, MEd, MBA, CFP®