Growing Your Business in Your Senior Years

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Episode Highlights:

  • [0:41] A brief background to today’s guest.
  • [1:44] A quick overview of Christine’s business
  • [3:16] Growing and building a business in your senior years
  • [5:09] How Christine got into direct selling
  • [6:11] Is age an advantage or disadvantage if you’re into direct selling?
  • [9:14] How to use your hobby to build your network
  • [11:48] Is it difficult to attract younger people into the business if you’re a senior?
  • [15:26] Should you still set goals in your senior years?
  • [18:46] Christine’s mentor and book recommendations
  • [19:31] The impact of media in her business
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Transcription:

[0:41] Jen: So today we’re so thrilled to have Christine Olsen with us. Christine is from a global network marketing company in the health and wellness category. Welcome to the show, Christine.

[0:51] Christine: Thank you, Jen. Good to be here.

[0:52] Jen: Great to have you. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s your background?

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[0:56] Christine: I’ve been a single mother for 25 years and I was an industrial engineer for many years helping businesses of all kinds to be efficient. I managed to do that in eight different countries until that career along with many others disappeared. There used to be five universities giving degrees in Industrial engineering, now there are none. And you can only do that career as a subset of a mechanical engineering. I’m a New Zealander. I’ve been living in Australia for 43 years. I’m a ballroom dancer, competitive ballroom dancer and I dance four or five times a week. I also travel a lot with my business in Australia and overseas, every year. And because of the products that I use in my nutritional business, I am young and fit and have the energy of a much younger person.

[1:44] Jen: Can you give me a short overview of your direct selling business?

[1:50] Christine: Sure. It’s a network marketing business. We have organic whole food in our product line. We’re in five different countries and our main product is a drink so it’s simple to share with people. I now share the advantages of taking this drink with customers. I mentor and coach my business partners and I also help them share our line of product and I don’t carry any stock as all the products are delivered by mail to the customers. So it’s a very easy business and I spend most of my time these days mentoring and coaching and helping my business partners.

[2:26] Jen: So it sounds like you’re at a stage in your business where you’re probably not focused on selling the product so much, just on mentoring those people beneath you. Can you talk to me a little bit about your team and the size of your team?

[2:38] Christine: Yes, I have quite a big team. As in all network marketing, some are more active than others and some are active and then don’t and then come back, all of the normal sorts of thing. But it’s the size of the team that I have people in four of those five countries, but mostly they’re in Australia and mostly here in Victoria where I – but I also have a big team in Western Australia where I lived when I began.

People bring on new people all the time and we try to ascertain from amongst those new customers who would like to grow an income as well and then we work with them.

[3:16] Jen: So look, today, we’re talking about developing and growing a business in your senior years. Can you tell me why that topic has stood out for you? Why did you choose that topic?

[3:26] Christine: Because I was 53 when I started, so it’s sort of 55, is a senior these days. Not that I felt like a senior, but yeah, so I was 53 when I started and really, I was just a product user for the first year or so with a few customers and then as I said, my career as industrial engineer began to disappear so I spent more time in this. And I loved it because this – you could build a predictable income. As a consultant, the income was totally unpredictable. You have to spend just 24/7 trying to get work and then doing work, and then trying to get more work. Whereas this, you could grow steadily and you also are not on your own. You had a team of people to help you. And the real, two real benefits, one was health benefits I got for myself having more energy and mental focus, etc. But the other was having the time. I have an elite. I still have a daughter but she was an elite athlete at that time. So, people who have elite athletes in any field will know that it’s time consuming and lots of running around. I was able to do that without compromise. It was great.

[4:35] Jen: If you started out in this industry in your fifties, how long – I’m just trying to work out here, how long have you been in this industry. I’m trying to work out, when you say senior years, what are we talking?

[4:47] Christine: This is my 18th year.

[4:49] Jen: Right.

[4:49] Christine: I’ve been in the business for 17 years and this is my 18th year. I’m 70 and I’m still going strong.

[4:58] Jen: That’s incredible.

[4:58] Christine: It’s been a ride, wonderful ride and it still continues to be. New business partners coming into my business just in the last two weeks, so, it’s fun. I love it.

[5:09] Jen: So, I can see why you got involved in direct selling, but how did you come about this industry and this opportunity.

[5:16] Christine: I dabbled in a few other things as people brought wonderful product to me but I got into this particular company because a very good friend of mine brought the product to Australia and I began taking it on their recommendation and I knew that the business model would give me more time for myself so it’s also very attractive and I had them and others as mentors for me, so, that’s that…

[5:43] Jen:  So how long did it take for you to go from a product user to a business builder?

[5:47] Christine: I was a product user for maybe a year or so and as my other business became more and more difficult to get work I just spent more and more time on this and it went really well.  So I eventually not too many years after that transition completely out of my industrial engineering and I’ve just done this really and nothing else for the last 11 years.

[6:11] Jen: So if you entered this industry during your 50’s, do you feel that your previous life experience and working life helped you to establish, build and grow this business?

[6:24] Christine: Yes, I think so. I was always confident talking to people but this training that I’ve received has made me much more easy and comfortable talking with anybody. And I was with a lot of more experience in public speaking.

[6:39] Jen: Do you think that you’re glad you entered the industry later in life or do you wish that you started earlier

[6:43] Christine: No, I think it would have been harder if I’ve been younger. I would have been more easily distracted and not being clear or persistent enough to overcome the challenges involved in any business that’s people centric, like network marketing is.

[6:58] Jen: How do you think it would have affected your business today if you’ve entered in the industry when you were in your 30’s? Would it have been easier, harder?

[7:06] Christine: It’s a long time ago, I should say. [Laughs] [7:10] Jen: That’s okay. So you talked about your confidence, were you always a confident person? I mean, you said that you didn’t have a lot of confidence, but do you think it’s continuing to develop now or what about your – even knowing yourself or understanding yourself, you know, I think as you grow older, you just become more in-touch with the I guess your inner self and your own strengths and weaknesses. Do you think that you’ve developed these along the way and this industry has helped you in this area?

[7:39] Christine:  Absolutely. The confidence in talking to people and the piece that I really get, is being by not necessary applying to older people but often is that I’m much more confident of letting people go.

I’m looking for people who are willing and have a readiness to look at what I have to offer and I’ve been very able to let go those who are not ready or have an objection. I don’t have to prove that I’m right and I’m able to let them have their opinion and just look for the people who are willing. When I was young I had the tendency to want to be right as most young people do.

[8:14] Jen:  Yeah I feel that.

[8:15] Christine: and now I am confident with my views and my knowledge and I’m also confident to let them have theirs. And as I said just for few people who are willing to look at what I have to offer.

[8:26] Jen: Do you ever feel the disadvantaged because of your age? You know! And all the wonderful things that come with age.

[8:32] Christine: No!  No I don’t at all. In fact, I think It’s a great advantage.  Just like I said to you, your state of mind is clearer and I’m not so driven that my personal life gets out of balance which I know it was when I was younger and I know how to prioritise tasks and have developed simple systems that work for me to keep my life in balance and I’m able to share that with the people in my team.

[8:56] Jen: What about networking, being at this different stages in your life, do you ever feel that your network is smaller than you were maybe when you were in your thirties or forties.  Is it hard to meet new people because you’re not being in a traditional kind of work place?

[9:11] Christine:  No! Again, it’s quite the opposite. My network of people is enormous…

[9:14] Jen: Really?

[9:14] Christine: My network of people is enormous through my networking business. And I have the confidence to approach people anywhere, ask simple questions to ascertain their willingness and readiness to look at what I have. And that’s made my network huge. So anyone, I meet anywhere on the street at the check-out at my dancing, anywhere. I have a huge network of people. And I say and I have the time and energy till today to stay in touch with people.

[9:42] Jen: You mentioned earlier that you are involved in ballroom dancing, do you think that that helped you to grow your network. Do you have any other social activities that help you in that area?

[9:52] Christine: Well, dancing is my main thing cause I go four or five times a week.

[9:55] Jen:  Wow! That’s, that’s, you’re really committed there.

[9:59] Christine: Absolutely!  I loved it!

[10:01] Jen: Wow! Anything else?

[10:02] Christine: I’m a bit of a Environmentalist, so I help environmental organisations in various ways. And I have a few people that are known in that area but I find it quite easy to meet other people and also as part of my business technique, I approached other professional people whose businesses will match what I have to offer. So, I would look at people who are also in nutritional health and just approach them directly.

[10:30] Jen:  So you’ve talked a little bit about meeting people in face to face situation. Now, technology is changing the way these industry works. Is that something you’re involved in? Do you use social media platforms like Facebook?

[10:44] Christine: Yes!  My

[10:45] Jen: You do?

[10:46] Christine: I’m on Facebook a lot. My company has a Facebook page for both for Victoria and for West Australia so I load up things on there and watch all those sorts of things. I stay in touch with people in other countries that are in my business or colleagues, in the company as a whole, not necessarily in my personal group. But we are very integrated company, so people work with people whether they’re in your personal team or not very happily, so I’ve got lots of friends and colleagues all over the place and we stay in-touch through social media.

[11:22] Jen: Do you also use social media as a recruitment tool?

[11:25] Christine:  Not very much.

[11:26] Jen: no!

[11:26] Christine: Face to face is much more valuable and I think a lot of younger people are looking for mentors. And I am an experienced mentor now. So that’s often makes a very good match with younger people.

[11:38] Jen:  So do you find it hard to keep up with younger peers in building your business?

[11:43] Christine: No! Not at all!

[11:44] Jen: No!

[11:45] Christine: I have all the energy in fact some of them can’t keep up with me.

[11:48] Jen: [Laughs]That’s why you were here. How about communication. Is it difficult to attract younger people into your business? And how do you work around any difficulties there?

[11:58] Christine: I have not found that to be the case. And once you have one or two young people they bring other young people in it just grows and grows. So It’s not like you have to find hundreds of people yourself that’s the whole point of network marketing you have a few who help, you have a few and it’s quite interesting, I‘ve got a situation now I have a woman more advantageous than me but she has children in their twenties, and they’re interested so work with them. so

[12:26] Jen: so!

[12:25] Christine:  you can do inter-generational thing, and I’m very comfortable with young people.

[12:30] Jen: So during your generation, there were many negative perceptions about the direct selling industry developing. Do you find that those negative associations are still affecting your business today and how do you work around these incorrect perception?

[12:46] Christine: I think that perceptions are there.  And if people has had a bad experience it tends to stay with them, but like I said before, if people have objections on those lines I’ll just let them have them, I’m not in the business of changing people’s minds. It’s pointless. It’s a complete waste of my time and energy to do that and yes, it can affect your business only if you let it. So I just don’t engage on those conversations if people persist and wants to know my opinion, those negative perceptions are quite easily turned around by saying, they say the network marketing is a pyramid I say so as the bank.

[13:23] Jen:  Okay, so, have you found that you have more time on your hands now that you’re in your senior years, now that your children have grown you have all your daughter is growing and you find extra time?

[13:33] Christine: No! I’m as busy as ever.

[13:35] Jen:  You sound like you must be the busiest woman.

[13:38] Christine:  No! I’ve, and I’m busy doing things I loved to do.

[13:41] Jen: Well! That’s what matters, doesn’t it? As long as…

[13:42] Christine: And this business is wonderful, since so many people get well; so many people change their lives around by giving an extra income. So many people developed a community, people that care about them.  And that’s huge for a lot of people. I find in the big city like Melbourne. People can have very, very small network or support and then they’ve come to a network marketing company and suddenly they have huge number of friends who all on the same page as them and they have a social life and connections with people and people to help them and people to reach out to when they need help. It’s, it’s amazing!  So I’m as busy as ever on the phone and on the computer and out and about doing events and trainings and things. And you know!  I don’t have lots of spare time.

[14:28] So let’s talk a bit about, goals.  Have your goals changed; from when you were younger are you still making goals for the long term? Or tell me, talk to me about that.

[14:38] Christine: Yes! I made a lot of goals and I’ve achieved a lot of them. But I’m still making goals for the long term because I plan to live for these for another thirty years. And that’s quite I called long term.

[14:48] Jen: Yes! That is long term.

[14:50] Christine: Ah! So, Yes! I do have a long term plans and also I’m training [crosstalk] [14:55] Jen: The reason why I asked you that question is because you know normally, when somebody is in their seventies they kind of starting to wind back on that area but for you, you sound like you’re just getting started

[15:05] Christine: That’s about the energy. I think a lot of the older people are not well and don’t have the energy but I’ve been on the wellness program for seventeen years and I am well and I have the energy and so I love to share that with the older people who are ready to listen some of them don’t want to and that’s fine. But yes, now I’m not there at all.

[15:26] Jen:  So talk to me about what your goals are now.

[15:28] Christine:  Well! My goal is to, is to have two homes. One in the city and one in the country.

[15:36] Jen: Yes!

[15:37] Christine: and also to keep travelling. A long-term goal is to take a year or two off doing this. And just stay in touch on social media and travel. I do a lot of travelling now and I’d like to do a lot more.

[15:50] Jen: Where do you want to go?

[15:51] Christine:  Well! I’d like to get a caravan and travel all around New Zealand which I know very well but I’d like to go you know really take a long time like six months.

[15:59] Jen:  Isn’t that funny for someone that says, has seen a lot of the world you want to take caravan around your home country.

[16:06] Christine: And I do know it well, but there are so many corners that I still don’t know. I also like to do the same thing around Victoria and I definitely want go back to Europe and spend quite a bit of time there.

[16:17] Jen: So if you have one piece of advice to give other people that are entering the industry during senior years, what would that be?

[16:24] Christine: It’s perfect! Because you can work it around your children and their children if you’ve got grandchildren. You can take up and continue in any passionate hobby you have whether it’s ballroom dancing or chess or bridge or whatever it is, you’ve got the time and you can prioritise your time. It also means that if things happened with children or grandchildren you are available instantly to go to their aid or your friends. And that freedom and no commute. The other day I had to go out I just can’t remember why at 8’oclock in the morning and I was appalled with what people put up with every day.

[17:06] Jen: Oh yeah! ha! Ha! It’s not good

[18:19] Jen: There’s a lot of books and programs, resources out there for those people looking to grow themselves and their businesses. Do you use any of this? And if you do, what would you consider to be a must have?

[18:32] Christine: There are lots and I would always recommend that people walk along the shelves whether it’s in a book shop or library and find the one that falls out on their foot, because there’s no one for everyone.

[18:44]s Jen: So what is your favorite book?

[18:46] Christine: I think, Deepak Chopra had a load of books that I’ve used a lot and at another level, Michael Roads, R-O-A-D-S. This is Australian author, has also been very helpful, all of his books and there are lot out there but really, it hourses for causes and you need to find what suites you at that time and what might be your favorite book. One decade will be a different book the next one.

[19:11] Jen: Sure. So, do you have mentor? I mean, you talked about the fact that now you get the chance to mentor and coach others, do you have a mentor? Someone that you look up to in your business?

[19:20] Christine: Absolutely. I have a mentor and it is the lady and her husband that brought the company that I’m with to Australia back in 1999.

[19:29] Jen: So she’s still with the company today?

[19:31] Christine: Absolutely.

[19:31] Jen: Wow. So, can you tell me this in closing, what is the one thing that you are most excited about in your business or the industry right now? What makes you smile or even laugh when you think about it?

[19:44] Christine: I think I am extraordinarily grateful for the media for educating the public that they need good nutrition. I haven’t had to do it or pay for it, but the public are much more educated about the need for good nutrition than they ever were 10 years ago and certainly not 30 years ago. So people are now knowing they need something and I have something wonderful to offer them. Whether it’s right for them or not, It’s their decision but the media has been extraordinarily helpful and educating the population about the need for good nutrition. So that makes me excited.

[20:20] Jen: Thank you so much for being with us today, Christine. I’d love to hear about your incredible journey. I think that our listeners will really learn a lot about growing their business in their senior years. Some people are probably not there now, but we will be there in the future. So I’m sure that they can take away some really great tips from you. Nothing is going to slow you down by the sound of it.

[20:43] Christine: Not likely.

[20:44] Jen: Well thank you so much for being with us today, it’s been great.

[20:48] Christine: Thank you very much, Jen, I appreciate the opportunity, thank you.

[20:52] Jen: Thanks Christine.

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