JLife speaks to Melinda Coss, Jewish mother, author, entrepreneur and lifestyle coach about her new book helping over 50s to create their own online businesses.
Hi Melinda, tell us about your business background!
My entrepreneurial spirit came from my father, who established the Cohen’s Smoked Salmon chain of grocery stores in London, back in the 1950s. My experiment with marriage lasted only four years and produced three children, whom I had to support on my own. I have never actually been employed by anyone else, but I did numerous things to make ends meet and primarily because they interested me. I started by teaching myself to knit and then invented a kid’s jumper that squeaked which led to employing 600 knitters to meet the sales demand. I then wrote numerous internationally published craft books, and started making soap in my kitchen, 18 months later I found myself running my own soap factory, supplying all the supermarkets in the UK and major department stores until 2004 when I sold my business.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
The most important thing I have learned, is that the life journey you travel is often more valuable than the products you sell, and for 20 years now I have been coaching new business entrepreneurs online and helping them avoid the rabbit holes I frequently fell into when building a business. The arrival of the internet was a true gift to me because I immediately understood the power of being able to reach billions of people around the world. No shop or office needed, no stock, no factory, the internet is a place where you can just sell what you know, be that professional or personal knowledge, and in my experience everybody has information from their own journeys that they can turn into money, they simply don’t realise the value of their past experiences.
Working online is perfect for the over 50s because you can work from anywhere and set your own agenda timewise. The tools that you need to run your teaching or consultancy sessions are free (Facebook and Zoom) and people have learned how to use these socially during lockdown. In fact, many spend hours exploring and playing games on our computers without realising how simple it would be to use this amazing tool to generate income.
Is age a defining factor in being able to run your own business?
At 72, I do not feel ready to relax into retirement. There is so much still to explore and to learn and every new accomplishment feels like it has taken years off my mental age. I choose my clients and only work with people I love and interestingly, I earn more doing that than I ever did during the time I was running my businesses selling physical
products. I wrote Your Age Is Your Business because I want people to get an overview of what is possible and how simple it is to achieve. In my view no-one over 50 should be working for someone else or worrying about money
What about your family life?
I live in southwest France in an old farmhouse with a great big poodle, Doris and a menagerie of pussycats and chickens. How was I as a Jewish mother? Well, pretty awful I guess! However, I have three settled and successful kids and seven gorgeous boobalas, so I must have done something right. Interestingly, my children live quite traditional lives and are encouraging my grandchildren to do the same, but I hope what they will get from this somewhat eccentric grandma, is an understanding that anything is possible.
Your Age Is Your Business is published by Chronos Publishing and available on Amazon. To get in touch with Melinda, email firstname.lastname@example.org
To win a copy of Melinda’s new book, enter below. Deadline is 10th December 2021.