Never too late to build a second career

At the time of recession in USA, Barbara Berman was laid off from a mortgage company and faced the prospect of building a new career from the ground up. She was 56.

A few years earlier, she had taken a run at operating a part-time business as an organizer, helping homeowners to declutter and streamline their living spaces. But she wasn't able to give the enterprise the time it needed to grow and thrive, so she put her entrepreneurial aspirations on hold.

Business owners over 45 make up the fastest-growing segment of entrepreneurs, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Like Berman, some become entrepreneurs of necessity. Others are motivated by a passion for seeing their ideas in action.

"This is your one and only life," says Dick Woodward, 59, who last year launched Vascular Magnetics, a bio-tech firm at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia.

Barbara Berman became inerested to start her own business.

Instead of developing a model through trial and error, Berman took advantage of a six-week small-business training program for workers who had lost their jobs paid for by the federal government.

"I encourage anyone who wants to start a business to grab onto any kind of training you can get," she says.

At 60, Berman wrestles with the question of whether to expand by hiring associates. Or should she simply maintain her busy calendar?

The business is always in her thoughts. "My advice to other entrepreneurs is to be prepared to work long hours," she observes. "Stay positive -- and keep your mind open to every possibility."

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Photo credit: Free Digital Photos

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