Women over 50 are drawn to entrepreneurship by the desire for greater flexibility, independence, and control in their work lives. Nan McKay is currently President of the Board of Directors of Nan McKay and Associates, a corporation she founded in 1980, which now has ten offices across the country. She is also the founder of Nan McKay Connects LLC, conducting over 200 interviews with women. Empower yourself. Tune in to learn how to discover your passion and live your purpose.
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Empowering Women Over 50 with Nan McKay
I have a special guest, Nan McKay. She’s the President and Board of Directors for Nan McKay & Associates, a corporation she founded in 1980, which now has ten offices across the country. Nan is the Founder of Nan McKay Connects and has conducted over 200 interviews with women who are seasoned and over 50. She was selected as 2019 California Women and Business Owner of the Year and had two buildings named after her. We are going to talk about launching your business, growing your business, and building your wealth in what we call the golden age or, as she refers to it, Dino Babies. Please welcome my guest, Nan McKay.
I’m so excited about this episode, Nan. Thank you for being here. Thank you for all you do in the world. Let’s tell everyone who you serve and what your magic is.
I focus on women over 50 since I am one of those. It’s somebody that I like to feature and work with. If I can make life a little bit easier for women over 50, then I need to do it.
How do we make it easier for them? What’s the niche that you are in? How can you help us, women over 50? I am, too, have joined the club as well.
I am working with people on starting and growing their business, as many people are but I’m trying to focus on a couple of areas like how to develop a YouTube channel. I thought it was going to tear my hair off developing that channel for me, and I’ve developed it several times. I found a way to make it easy for people. I’m even going to be doing setup perhaps in the future. I will tell you more about it. It’s trying to find the little tips and tricks of things that I’ve done and put them into an easy format.
We love easy. Let’s shorten that learning curve. I’m going to pay for an expert to help me shorten that learning curve. What do you think the five entrepreneurial secrets to success are for women over 50?
I’ve thought about it. Number one, entrepreneurship is a balancing act between passion and production. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. It’s hard work, and you have to be willing to work 24/7 if it’s yours, and you love it, and then you immerse yourself in the process. I often come up for air at 6:00 PM. No matter what day it is, whether it’s Saturday or Sunday or whatever it is, I come up about 6:00 PM and wonder, “Where the heck did the day go?” I never count the hours. If I need a break, I take one. The bottom line is that I’m in charge of my day and destiny.Entrepreneurship is a balancing act between passion and production. Click To Tweet
We all know that running a business takes determination and perseverance. You’ve got to have that as your basis. The freedom and flexibility that comes with it are marvelous. Number two, the leadership of your team is key to your success. I had a business that I started in 1980, which is still going and now has about 2,000 employees. I have had a lot of staff and supervised staff. I’ve also taught executive management classes for many years.
I particularly like Ken Blanchard’s situational leadership theory. It’s about using directive or supportive behavior according to the competence and confidence level of the employee. The idea is if you can figure out what is the competence and confidence level, you can use the right supervisory style with that particular employee. If you can develop your people and trust them to do their job, you start realizing that your team can make you or break you.
My number two is to give them what they need to make them successful. Number three, a lot of entrepreneurs are great at the startup functions but not always the best person. You may find this familiar to you to grow the business. They are often a high D on the DISC profile, which means they are risk-takers, task-oriented, and competitive.
They may make decisions quickly but often don’t gather enough information or facts prior to the decision-making. They tend to get bored easily and have the Shiny Object syndrome, where they jump from one thing to another without giving the first thing enough time to play out. I don’t know if that’s familiar to you but I’m guessing it is. What do you think?
I have been doing this for many years, so I’ve built the muscle called all the other things you have to do. In the beginning, I was squirreled sparkle. There’s a team around me to do all the things that I don’t like. I hire smart people to be able to do the things I don’t want to do or shouldn’t be doing. I look at what’s the highest income-producing activity only I can do and focus my time on that and let someone else build my funnels, manage my social media calendar, ads, and all the things I don’t like to do.
If you don’t, then you are spending your time on all these other activities that are not going to get you where you need to be. If you can recognize your own behavioral style, switch over to the positive side of things, and get out of your own way if that’s necessary. Sometimes, it is. The fourth thing is this one. You can do it. It may not turn out as you expected.
It’s important to keep your options open. Don’t change just to change because a lot of us can deal with change and almost like change. It’s important to think and even write it out. If you can flush out the ideas you have to give your thoughts a structure, you can be more successful. Remember, the devil is in the details. Number five, enjoy what you do. Recognize and appreciate your expertise. We all have expertise. Think about, “What is that for me,” do what you do best, and then mix it with what you love.
Let’s talk about this. In this age group, a lot of people left their jobs, had early retirement or decided they get released from their jobs and furloughed. There are so many people who are struggling now with the pandemic. What has been your secret sauce to stay awake and in action?
I’m going to give you a broad range on this one. First, let’s talk about what has happened and why we are where we are. I have been giving this a whole lot of thought because when I’m working with women over 50, it’s important to find out the why. Here’s what I’m thinking. When COVID hit, it was almost like a pause button was placed on our lives around the world. The decisions and goals that we thought were important became unimportant.
Things like struggling to maintain our foothold on the ladders that were climbing have lost their significance in comparison to a child at home. Maybe even a grandchild that was trying to learn by Zoom or some other technology platform. We thought that our mothers and fathers or grandparents were very vulnerable and, early on, couldn’t even get a vaccine. What happened is that COVID brought on an awakening of what’s important. With the close quarters that we were in, families became more important.
People changed their geographical location. Some are moving thousands of miles like I did to be closer to the family with the thought that if something like this happens again, we want to be close enough to make our connections tighter. The other thing that happened is in my interviews, as I’m interviewing women in their 50s and 60s who are still in corporate life, they began to tell me that they were encountering what I call gendered ageism along with sexism that has been alive and well forever. Many of them they found were far more expensive to the corporation than some of the younger employees because of their seniority. Their benefits were higher, and the vacation time that was taken was longer.
Most of us have heard that story of the large corporation manager describing women in their 50s as dinosaur babies when it comes to technology. There’s a lawsuit going on this. Men would fall into this category too but they were not being spotlighted like the women were. The other factor is that the younger people in their 20s and 30s were starting to push to take the jobs that these women held because they were cheaper and faster at technology and started to sell upper management.Running a business takes determination and perseverance, but the freedom and flexibility that comes with it are marvelous. Click To Tweet
Another thing is that the women I’ve interviewed who pivoted to entrepreneurship, the flexibility to work remotely from anywhere in the world, wanted their hard work to count. They often started a company in an area where they felt they were making a difference in the world. If you think about it, women at 50, 55, 60 or even above like me don’t fit the mold of our parents and grandparents. With working and our careers, we have responsibility, authority, and accountability because many of us have managed people and tasks for years.
We feel, “We’ve paid our dues, and we want more power to make our own decisions and make money on our own merit.” That’s what has been going on in the world. I’m a little different because I’m still President of that large company but I’ve also started this small company to help women progress and make it easier for them to get from here to there. I’ve had that freedom and flexibility but I’m a lot older than most people. For me, it wasn’t so hard to make the transition because I had been working from home. All of these things that I’ve talked about are things that have affected women nowadays. That’s the stuff that is still hanging over us and going on.
There is so much that resonates. We move for lifestyle and overhead. As a California kid, you were used to working to live, and when COVID hit, we freaked out like, “What do we want to do?” We sold everything and moved with no overhead. This is so different from having that freedom of no overhead. My water bill in San Diego was $1,000. I have a well now. I don’t have a water bill. I’m like, “What is that like?” It’s $12,000 a year in water, not bottled water. That was just water out of your sink. It’s a crazy lifestyle shift.
I lived in San Diego for 25 years. I used to look even back then at my electric bill. It was $500 to $600 a month.
That’s being conservative. You would turn the lights off. How are we using that much?
Susie, I have an interesting question for you, if you don’t mind. With downsizing like this and cutting your expenses dramatically, what have you found you’ve done with the money?
I have a wealth strategy. I have three different financial coaches. One works with me on my stock portfolio and investment strategy. The other one works on my retirement strategy. We have a real estate investment company. We invested in more real estate. We closed on the property not so long ago. We paid cash for that, so we don’t have the overhead of having another payment but the income of that payment, which historically has done better than my stock portfolio when I look at long-term versus short-term.
The freedom to take more time off and the savings on the monthly overhead have given me more freedom to go, “I want to take a four-day weekend. I want to take the month of July off.” I don’t have a big overhead where before, it was like, “I want to take some time off but I have this overhead.” You got to be in that grind. I’m adjusting.
There are all things like adjusting and culture shock. Nan and I were talking in the green room. It rains here. She’s in Washington. It rains there. We are California kids. People don’t use umbrellas here. They look at me like I’m a cuckoo. I’m like, “I guess we don’t use umbrellas here.” It’s given us an opportunity to put more away and be more strategic about the income that does come in.
First of all, let me go like this, Nan. For having 2,000 employees that you are the President of that company, let’s talk about what has been in business, whether it’s this new business you are starting or a previous business and the previous business that you are running. What is one of your biggest learning curves? Some people call them mistakes. I always call them learning curves because I always learn when I’m crashing and burning. What has been one of your biggest failures, and what is your takeaway from that experience?
It was while I was managing that bigger company. I was doing seminars, so I have been traveling 40 weeks a year. It’s pretty hard to manage things back in your business while you are traveling on the road pretty much Sunday morning through Friday night. I finally hired a general manager. Getting the money to be able to spend that much on a person is huge when you are starting out. I have been in business for years. It wasn’t just starting out but still even growing to that was hard to do.
I did hire somebody. I was thankful that I had somebody watching the shop and managing the staff there at the office while I was still out traveling. What I found is that she didn’t have the right experience for managing and ended up getting me into serious financial trouble to the point where she had been writing the checks. When I looked at the checks that were going out, everything looked like it was doing fine but she put them in a file drawer and didn’t send them.The leadership of your team is key to your success. Click To Tweet
It’s finally, when everything came crashing down on me, that I realized I was in huge, super trouble. I was about $100,000 in debt. The only thing that saved me and the company was that I had applied for a loan that I didn’t think I would ever use. I thought I will have it there as a safety net. It came through at the same time. I was able to take that loan, pay things off, get everything restructured, and survive. It was the hardest thing I have ever been through.
What did you learn from that? What did you take away from that experience, whether it was in your hiring or what you are doing?
It was probably in my hiring in the sense that I was so anxious to get a live body to be able to manage these things so that I could continue to be out there and making money. I leaped too fast. That’s one of those things where I talked about the high D profile. I’ve got the high D profile. I don’t always take the time to do the research as much as I should.
I did that when I first hired my first OBM, my Online Business Manager. She could do Infusionsoft. I love it in my business but I don’t want to personally do it. She could do it but we did not match culture-wise. It was like, “This is not good.” I didn’t keep her long. I saw it right away. I got excited and got like, “Here’s my saving grace.” I love when we share these stories because here’s the truth. You don’t get to where we are in life and business, having 2,000 employees and starting another business. This is my tenth business without those bloody knees and elbows of learning the hard way. You learn from it. That’s the key.
She had an MBA but thought she was running IBM because she was constantly having people in team meetings and doing things like that, that maybe IBM could figure out. They have extra time to do that but when you have a smaller company, everybody has to be hitting it 24/7 in the sense that you have to be doing your job and moving everything forward. That’s why it was the combination of having people refocused over here on team building versus making money.
Ownership is different than operation.
It’s just not the same.
Let’s look at what are your best tips in business for women in our new season for women over 50 and running businesses and entrepreneurship. What are your best tips for us?
The bottom line is this. Be kind to yourself. Here’s how I would look at it. 1) Appreciate yourself. Recognize how good you are. 2) Accept yourself with all your liabilities like the high D thing we are talking about, the Shiny Object, and all the things I have to constantly fight within myself. I am who I am. 3) Make a plan and work on the plan. 4) Liberate yourself. Just because it has always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the right way for you. 5) Tell yourself every morning that you are going to have a fantastic day, that you are brilliant at what you do, and that you will be highly successful in your business. I do that every day. I do that before I have to go give a talk. I do that self-talk. The last one is tomorrow is another day. I’m thankful I have another day.
I’m very focused on what goes in my mind. My man always says to me, “Susie, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.” I’m like, “Yes, it is. We choose. It is rainbows and butterflies.” It does shift your mindset. It shifts the way your day is going to go. It shifts how conversations go with your customers, vendors, and team members. Fake it until you make it and until you own it as the skillset.
In this season, what I love about this show is we talk about the truth. My philosophy is, “Wealth is your birthright.” Let’s talk about some of the wealth strategies you’ve put in place to help you get where you are, which allow you to run a company and build another company. What would you say is the best wealth hack that you do?
We can talk about managing our money. I hired a wealth management firm because I do not want to even think about learning how stocks work or don’t work. It’s scary in a way you are putting your life in their hands but you have to recognize that if that’s not your expertise, let somebody else do it, watch your reports, and see the results. The question is different for me as well. Running a business gives you the opportunity to grow and make money. My salary for the company that I’m the President of helps me do the other things I want because now I’m President of the board.Many entrepreneurs are great at startup functions, but they're not always the best person. Click To Tweet
It’s not like I have to do all of the day-to-day. I don’t have to travel 40 weeks a year anymore. I did for 30 years but I had some great mileage built up. We have to have that salary basis to get it up to a level where the company gives us our benefits. We can take so much of our benefits, not just vacation but I’m talking about healthcare, all the things you have as part of running the business. If I ask what’s the best way to make money yourself, that’s it. It’s got to be keeping your head down and keep swinging until somebody else helps you out managing.
You can either learn it yourself and take ten years. I always say to my students, “I will shave ten years off your learning curve. You can either do it the hard way. You can bring me on.” Is it an investment? Yes, but at the end of the day, we will make that money. It’s the same thing with my wealth strategist as well. What I learned in my own strategy is I had a market collapse in 2007. I was too heavily invested in real estate. I wasn’t diversified enough.
I had a business, a real estate investment company, my stock, traditional savings, and the money market. Too much of our wealth was tied up in real estate and leveraged real estate. Now, I’m paying that off. If I’m going to get it, I’m paying it off. It’s important to learn it. It’s because you have been playing this game called wealth strategies. It doesn’t take you as long to recover. Stocks dipped. My stock portfolio is tanked, and then they came back up. Wealth is a long game, not a short game.
That is scary when you get older like me because you recognize you don’t have the years. I don’t even know if I have ten. The issue is that you’ve got to safeguard what you invest in as you age. Don’t take the same portfolio that you did many years ago. Take the portfolio that might be a little safer, even though you don’t make as much money if you get older because you don’t have the time to play it out.
The market crashed in 2007. I was 45. I remember Nan bawling, going, “I don’t have twenty years. I don’t have the stamina to do twenty years and what it took to build that first nest egg.” I said, “It was God who told me that you know money and you are good at this. Get up,” because I was on the floor crying, “Get up, go do what you do.”
It realizes that when you are seasoned, you already know what to do and what not to do, much more conservative than when I was in my younger days because I had that run rate. Even if I had the run rate, when I did lose it, I’m like, “I don’t want to ever experience this again.” Looking back and the ebbs and flow of building your wealth, what would you do differently?
Probably not spend as much and save more. My life has been an eTicket ride in so many ways. I’ve worked my butt off. Traveling 40 weeks a year for 30 years is not an easy way to do it. I missed a lot of birthdays and school conferences. I had to call home every night. Time zones were always different. It has not been easy. That’s part of the answer.
It’s allowed me the privilege of seeing the world on somebody else’s dime. I like paying for experiences versus buying random shoes or stuff. I pay for experiences for my kids. I don’t want to buy them a present. I want to buy them an experience looking back because I had the same thing. I traveled every weekend. The things that I did do was to make sure I took a picture when I was there like, “I was here.”
You think I would be sick and tired of it. I have more than 5 million miles that I’ve accrued to date. I’ve spent most of all of them but I’ve had 5 million on American and 2.5 million on United. I have put in the mileage. I have traveled on those miles all over the world, over and over again. In August, I’m going to Iceland, Denmark, and Norway, and then on a cruise. I’m going to go down to England, take another cruise, and I’m going to go to England, France, Spain, and Portugal, which I have all been to.
That’s a wealth hack right there. Don’t use your debit card. What’s nice about a debit card is you got to pay it off because if you don’t have the cash, you can’t spend it but treat a credit card the same way. That’s what I do. I use my American Express and pay it off every month. If I can’t pay it off, I shouldn’t be buying or spending it. That’s a great wealth hack. That’s awesome. What are some actionable items we, as women, if we are interested in starting our business, that we can take away?
If you think about what’s the purpose of a business, the bottom line is it’s to solve a problem, a pain point, and get paid to do it. As a career woman and/or mother, you already have the skills to help people solve problems. How do you think about that? That’s what the business is all about. You have been demonstrating your skills on a daily basis. You certainly have, Susie. Think about the skills that you already have.
If you can monetize your skills, you are already ahead of the game. I have written a book and a course about this topic because it’s part of my passion. One is an actual item. Discover if entrepreneurship is right for you. It isn’t right for everybody. You can’t say, “This is perfect for me and everyone else.” My thing on an actual item would be to talk to women who started businesses and ask if they think they made the right choice. Ask them what they feel it takes to be an entrepreneur. Another thing you can do is listen to the Trailblazers Impact Podcast or on my YouTube channel.Enjoy what you do. Recognize and appreciate your expertise. Click To Tweet
I’ve got views on podcasts and YouTube. On YouTube, it’s called Trailblazers Impact Interviews. Susie’s there. Go to the playlist for women who have pivoted from a career job to entrepreneurship. If you have trouble finding it, go to our website, NanMcKayConnects.com, and go to the Pivot To SOAR series under the Inspiration tab. That’s where you will find it.
The third thing is to make a list of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you have that you possess. Those are called KSAs, Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities. Check off on that list which ones you feel are marketable. Number four in my course it’s called Choose Your Dream Lifestyle Business, which you can access from my website.
I go through how to choose a business with ideas and techniques to determine which businesses to choose. What you are doing is matching your skills and passions with that right kind of business for the right fit. If you need this determination and perseverance that we talked about right at the very beginning, you are going to have to have something that you love. That’s the best thing I could say.
You are mentioning your courses and how to get ahold of you.
My website is now called NanMcKayConnects.com. I’ve done that because I was just starting out with the podcasts, the YouTube channel, and interviewing women. I talked to you if you were to remember this. I said, “Susie, I got to make some money with this. I got to offset these expenses. Otherwise, I am paying everything out of my payroll with a paycheck. I got to do this.” That’s where I started to say I’ve got to broaden what I’m doing.
I have a new book out. This is one that I’ve had in development, writing, and editing a billion times for about a year. Let me tell you a little bit about it. It’s targeted at women over 50. I told you I’m in that category. I have been an entrepreneur for many years. That’s what I’m interested in, helping women feeling that they might want an online lifestyle business that’s going to bring some joy and pleasure in their life. They are not going to have to constantly deal with that gender, ageism, and sexism. They are making their own money. That’s why I’ve called it Gold in the Golden Years.
I’ve developed what I call a four-step model. It’s called SOAR. The S stands for Set your goals and soar to success. The O is for Organize your launch and growth. The A is for Acquire your right fit client, and the R is for Realize your destiny as you multiply your income and impact. The book has two parts. One is how to determine if entrepreneurship is right for you. The second one is how to launch and grow a business. It is a step-by-step blueprint all the way through with everything I have learned at all the mistakes I’ve made.
The whole intention is to make your life in building and growing a business easier and more fun. You didn’t give up everything, your salary, and everything to come over here and not enjoy it. It’s a comprehensive four-step plan, which is going to provide you with the blueprint that you need to launch, operate, and then grow a successful business, whatever business development stage you are in or whatever business you choose.
After I had created six businesses and managed them, I have been through the ups and downs. I’ve had my own. I created this blueprint of running a business for you to quickly leap into success and know how to handle the downs when they occur as they will. There are no failures. Everything is a lesson along the way. With this blueprint, what I’m hoping to help people do is make fewer lessons and get more fulfillment.
Learn from our mistakes. Make your own business.
It’s because you have more certainty. You can get the Gold in the Golden Years book and read your format. It’s like that eReader thing for $1.99. The price is going to go up soon but if you order it now, it’s only $1.99. I would love it if people could leave me a review because you are going to love it. The hard copies are coming out soon, so it’s something you can touch and feel.
It’s very exciting. Thank you so much. I appreciate you. Go to NanMcKayConnects.com. All the deliciousness is there, the new course and the brand new book, which we are excited about. We’ve got webinars and courses on YouTube. We are here to help and serve you in any way that we can. We are your partner in the journey. You are in business for yourself, not by yourself.Appreciate yourself, recognize how good you are, and accept yourself with all your liabilities. Click To Tweet
If you love this and you know someone that’s seasoned like us and needs Nan, I want you to share it all on our social platforms. Give Nan a thumbs up on her social platform too. She would love to hear from you. We are here to help you grow a business and make wealth your birthright. Until next time, I look forward to seeing you, Nan. Thank you again for all you do in the world.
Thank you, Susie. Thanks for all of what you do in the world too.
- Nan McKay & Associates
- Nan McKay Connects
- Trailblazers Impact Podcast
- Trailblazers Impact Interviews – YouTube
- Pivot To SOAR
- Choose Your Dream Lifestyle Business
- Gold in the Golden Years
About Nan McKay
Nan McKay is currently President of the Board of Directors of Nan McKay and Associates, a corporation she founded in 1980, which now has 10 offices across the country. Nan is founder of Nan McKay Connects LLC, conducting over 200 interviews of women. She was selected as 2019 California Woman Business Owner of the Year and has two buildings named after her.