Entrepreneurial Grandmas: A New Market is Born

Work-Life Balance on 02.02.12
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Photo: Laura St. John / Courtesy: Cynthia Geyer-Fligel

Define the word Grandma: What do you think of? I used to think it was a person with gray hair tightly pinned in a bun, slowly rocking in a chair, knitting a scarf. Forget that! There's a new generation of grandparents that rock -- and I don't mean in a chair!

Why the Gramma-preneur Market is Booming

Since 50 is the new 30, why not start a new business venture in your prime? According to the USA Today, across the country the 77 million members of the Baby Boom generation - folks born from 1946 through 1964 - are turning conventional marketing wisdom on its head. In my business of technology education for young children, typical mamma-preneurs always hit our website, looking for a flexible, home-based business. But in the past 6 months, we are getting new hits everyday from the 50+ market. And the boomers have a different perspective: they truly want to have an impact on our future generation.

Not Your Typical Granny

Photo: Laura St. John / Courtesy: Cynthia Geyer-Fligel

Meet Cynthia Geyer-Fligel, CEO of Smart Starters, Inc, an educational technology company based in Illinois. With roots in music and education, she started out as a professional musician in Chicago, directed professional theatre, taught Kindergarten through college over a 20-year span, and traveled the country as a technology trainer for four years. The list actually goes on. You could say she's been there, and done that. After hearing her long resume, you would think this soon-to-be 58 year old would be fulfilled with her amazing career, and get ready to retire in the coming years. Think again.

Cynthia became single again at age 49, and celebrated her 50th birthday by becoming an ironman triathlete. This motorcyle-riding granny is not the passenger-type: She's definitely a driver. And she is not alone. There is a growing base of strong, sexy, savvy females like her.

"Live Life Like It's The Second Half of the Game"

Cynthia explains, "When I turned 50, one of my good friends told me that I have to live life like it's the second half of the game. You just never know if it's the third or fourth quarter. You have to live like it's the fourth quarter, and hope it's just the third!" She went on, "It's never too late. The fat lady is not going to sing!"

The wisdom that the older generation can bring to the younger generation, along with their gentleness, creates an urgency for them to enter the market today. "When I work with these little preschoolers in our technology classes, I see they have their whole life in front of them. I am showing them that there is never a time when life is all over."

Cynthia leads by example. She shows kids how important it is to live their life to their fullest. By becoming an entrepreneur in her late 50's and choosing a career to teach the youngest minds, she says, "You know they are watching you, and I can give such a gift to them: I can show them you don't have to ever stop living!"

So be careful the next time you crack a granny joke -- even knitting is now cool. These gramma-preneurs are ready to rock the market. They are hip, smart, and spunkier than ever before. They are the wealthiest market: not only with money but more importantly, with experience. The real question is: why would you ignore them?

Laura St. John is co-creator of Discovery Kids Puterbugs, a technology program that teaches kids healthy ways to use technology as a tool, not just a toy.  She is a mama-preneur with 3 little boys under the age of seven. Laura St. John oversees one of the fastest-growing networks of entrepreneurs who bring technology classes to their local market. To find out more, join Laura's free webinar on Feb 7 at 1pm EST.

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