Chronicles Of A 50+ Entrepreneur: I Got This

It’s like no business I know.

In the previous articles in this series I have written about the beginnings of my company ‘Next For Me.’

Next For Me publishes news and resources for 50+ audiences. We host events across the country to discuss work, our communities, and what’s next.


Taking The Mile High City By Storm

We airdropped into Denver last week. We were partnering up with Silvernest and Age Without Borders on our first public event. With an evolving outline of the program in a Google Doc, we invested just enough in advance to know what we had to do before we were all in the same room.

We had promo copy, imagery, a marketing campaign in motion and 3 interviews on video and roughly edited for a smoother presentation (we actually cut them in half again after the first run-through). We wrote the final script the morning of the event.

Everybody was beyond collaborative. No egos in the way. No positioning for higher visibility. It was just a fine program of current thinking about the topics of work and financial wellness for people over 50. We’ll see what comes of it naturally.

Silvernest’s Marketing Manager Kate Cygan was a rock-solid production partner. She gracefully keeps many plates spinning without ever missing a thread. All the while she is cracking jokes with her full intellectual curiosity on display. Who said Millennials lack a worth ethic?

Our very own Drew Domkus actually drove to Denver from Wisconsin with his wife to be there and I’m so glad he did. He knows every nuance of our content and oversees all of the editing on our videos, podcasts and the Next For Me publishing apparatus.

Luckily the spot, Spaces, (across from ‘Coors Field’ in downtown Denver) was just perfect. Open and airy and a lot of choices to configure the room. This is one of those cases where you need to think about what’s happening from a lens across the room and how it will look on a screen (small and big) later. What is the framing? What is ‘busy’ in the background, etc.

It Seems I’ve Been Here Before

The trip was another reminder of all of the things I have done in my life and career that are coming into play with the building of Next For Me.

  • I designed weekly newspapers in my late teens – we’re publishing weekly news-letters
  • I have directed and shot all kinds of videos shown in art scenes and, at the other end of the spectrum, to sell a project in a big company.
  • I had a radio show for a couple of years and got comfortable with my voice, pacing, how to keep going no matter how much you stumble.
  • I’m comfortable in front of a room of people and can even be engaging when I know what I’m talking about and I do right now.
  • Drew is so punk that he met his wife when he was van-touring in a band in 1994, and I notoriously managed bands in San Francisco in the 80s. We know how to work with what a venue has and get set up in a hurry.

These are just some examples. I’ve been working in the professional world for 40 years. I’ve been putting together ‘scenes’ even longer. I have usually done the thing I’m about to do at least in some capacity before.

I had a great boss once. I would carefully prepare a plan to do something or other. I would write elaborate introductions about why I was doing the thing. Once he stopped me when I was explaining the ‘why’ and said that he already probably knew why since he’s been through things before, he just wanted to know the how and when. Noted.

When you’re moving fast and riffing it’s great to have a foundation of scenarios and past outcomes as guidance for what’s on your plate today.

It’s Easy

I laugh thinking about how much harder I made it for myself as I was getting trained up in the past. I would sweat thinking about what could go wrong to the point that I wouldn’t get enough sleep, or be paralyzed to do the preparation for what would make it easy when it was time to perform. I remember running late to catch a plane. Staying up too late reworking something that just got worse as the hours ticked by.

Simple things like giving yourself ‘bumper room’ at the beginning and end of your travel seem so simple but makes all the difference. Then, putting yourself to bed well before it’s time (you won’t sleep the same in the new place). And of course, don’t drink too much. You don’t need a foggy head when you’re operating in a strange land.

Take The Output And Publish The Heck Out Of It

Content-orama is a way to describe what we plan to do with the trove of video, audio and transcripts that came out of the event. We had the crew and gear in place and a script to work from. For Next For Me, we will publish the interviews and proceedings in every format, in a variety of configurations. Short bites, longform, as a series and so forth on all the platforms.

“Take an object / Do something to it / Do something else to it. [Repeat.]” – Jasper Johns

We also got some footage of me for the requisite accelerator/conference/speaking applications and for public relations purposes.

We’ve also started developing a visual style for our videos and have reusable graphical elements, transitions, intros and outros, titles, theme music, etc.

We are only limited by the amount of resources we have to keep editing the stockpile of stories we’re accumulating.

Next Up San Francisco and Washington DC

We nailed the program and walked away with agreements about what needs to be modified for future events. Our partnerships are expanding with plans for more and larger events to share the positive messages we think will help a generation moving into a financial and existential crises. We can at least provide a safe place to talk about this stuff.

Now we head to San Francisco in October and we’re assembling something much bigger in Washington DC in December. We’re bringing in more partners with each city we head to. Wait! I think we’re creating an event business too.

Previous articles in the series:

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