We did it and you can too. Are you scared to take that step away from secure employment (okay nothing is exactly secure these days), or need a change of pace, or want to follow you dream job? Why haven’t you? Age is just in your mind. Yes, it may seem scary. Financially it can be difficult. You may think you’ll fail. As the saying goes, if you don’t try you’ll never know.

2016 was a big year of change for my husband Bevil and myself. He had hit a rough patch in his employment. He was feeling stale and the company was putting pressure on him in all the wrong ways. He’d worked loyally and consistently for over thirteen years. He’d built up great rapport with customers and was invaluable to the growth of the business.

He had accumulated long-service leave and had over 90 days in sick leave (he couldn’t even claim if he left). He didn’t know what a sickie was. I could tell he wasn’t enjoying his job. He’d come home cranky and tired. Would anyone else employ him? He was 54. His self esteem was at an all time low.

We sat down and had a frank discussion. “What do you want to do?” I asked.

“I have no idea,” he replied.

“Okay, let’s think differently. What do you think you’d like to do? What’s something you actually enjoy doing?”

“Cleaning pools.” And there the idea was born for Mirror Pool Cleaning.

Why a pool cleaning

  • Three houses with pools over a 20 year period
  • Enjoyed the upkeep; from cleaning the cartridge to correcting the water balance.
  • The job wouldn’t feel like a chore
  • Outdoors and less stress
  • Loves pools

We decided on the tag line ‘Let your pool reflect you’ and we think that defines the pools Bevil maintains. They will shine and reflect the owner’s pride in their pool.

Best advice

  • If you have long-service use it to begin your business with financial security
  • Have a business plan (and flexibility)
  • It doesn’t matter if there are lots of businesses like the one yours,
  • Make sure you offer something different or are the best at what you do.
  • Create an appropriate and catchy tag line
  • Choose a job that you’ll enjoy doing and an industry that interests you
  • Do some courses and learn the skills needed
  • Know your market
  • Find a mentor
  • Don’t expect it to be easy
  • Enjoy every small progression of your business
  • Make sure it’s as much fun as it is financially viable
  • Learn from places like Business Business Business.

The best thing is that now Bevil’s working for himself, at a job he enjoys, he’s never looking back. The downside is that we are financially worse off for the moment.

Yes, you do have to make sacrifices. We aim to have 36 pools by next summer. Then he’ll be earning more than he did at his previous job. Our son has been helping out with the business. We’d like to give him at pathway that he enjoys.

Bevil’s got more spring in his step. It’s made him fitter, healthier, happier and fulfilled. He’s doing a job that has less stress and the benefit of working in the outdoors at a slower pace.

I’m so proud of how he is running Mirror Pool Cleaning. He’s building a loyal customer base. It’s mostly word of mouth other than the website and social media. We saved money by me creating the website on Wix. It’s a simple template website but very effective. The biggest selling point comes down to Bevil being a nice guy. He wants to build his local business and provide for his family. Customers relate to that.

I also began a small business and have kept my full-time job. Now we have two businesses in one year. It’s exciting and we’re both enthused by our careers.

How to make it work

  • Keep another regular income until the business hits full stride
  • Rise early for your business if you have employed work to go to as well
  • Get the younger family members to do social media
  • Spend a lot of time bouncing ideas off each other to fuel the enthusiasm
  • Forget how old you are and concentrate on the outcome
  • Keep communication lines open
  • We keep our sense of humour about the things that go wrong
  • Encourage instead of being negative
  • Set realistic goals
  • Look forward to a good financial future

No matter what your age, if you want to start your own business, go for it! Age is only a number.