We had the good fortune of connecting with Barbara Brooks & Guadalupe Hirt and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Barbara Brooks & Guadalupe Hirt, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The success we’ve enjoyed with SecondActWomen, even through tough times, is based on the level of “realness” we both bring to this community of businesswomen 40 & 50+. We’ve ugly cried and shared things about ourselves that most women would never dare to – we’re talking struggles about marriage, finances, self-esteem, imposter syndrome, weight, dating, health, life and so many other things. We’re no different than our community because, we ARE our community of women and it’s always been important for us to show relatability vs we lead; you follow.
In short, we’ve created a safe place, where women can celebrate and lean-in without judgment. Yes, as the cliché goes, we’re all in this together and unstoppable. Additionally, we’ve created a social movement that is rescripting how GENxBoomer women are perceived. We are not what many believe a 40 & 50+ years young woman should look like, act like, live like and so much more. Women over 40 are fierce, adventurous, beautiful, self-aware, smart, vivacious, and reimagining their lives. We honor this truth in several ways: we’ve curated a library of “real” pictures of women in our community that we use in our marketing, we created a public online marketplace to exclusively promo and support over 40 women-owned businesses, we host a weekly show, The Morning Cup, that is livestreamed into our Facebook group focused on real topics relating to our community and we’ve got several other things in the queue to support, educate, uplift, and rally our community.
What should our readers know about your business?
Every organization has its own secret sauce, that’s the beauty about this stage of life. We all can work in concert to support and collaborate together – creating a powerfully diverse and rich support system to help businesswomen 40 & 50+ design and do life on their terms.
With that said, we do have a few ingredients we’re happy to brag about. For starters, the niche itself and our dual organizational structure. When we came onto the scene in July 2018, we were the only organization (that we could find nationally) that focused on women 40 & 50+, in in business, career, AND life. As a social entrepreneurship, we’re focused on building a global company that also creates good for society. Through our work, we are rallying against gendered ageist bias in society and business and leading the charge for GenX Boomers to live middlescence in full color, designing the businesses, careers and lives they desire.
Our content, conferences, programs, and signature experiences focus equally on business, career, and life. Many organizations typically focus on one or the other, but we decided it was important to interconnect these key areas because we can’t turn on or turn off our professional side while we attend to our personal side or vice versa. One builds on the other and in fact, when one side is out of whack, it will inevitably throw off the other side too.
We designed SecondActWomen to be an IRL community first, and then the 2020 curveball happened, forcing us to swivel online. Since then, we’ve grown into a global community spurring the micro-businesses and encore careers of women 40 & 50+ through peer-to-peer learning, and connecting, with a big splash of life development
Business-wise, we are moving towards becoming a sustainable business through good ol’-fashion hard work, leveraging our bank of connections (the beauty of being in the game for over 25 years), staying actively involved in our community, and committing to constant learning, all with the goal to help businesswomen 40 & 50+ excel in their second act and showing society, corporate America and ourselves what women over 40 are really capable of doing.
Here’s a few tips that have served us well.
- Knowing our women. Although we’re the target, we’re not all the same and setting up our avatars to determine the problems and solutions of our collective community has kept us focused. Surveys and polling periodically have given us the opportunity to make informed decisions when planning our programs and content.
- Taking advantage of basic and free trials or service levels. We have saved ourselves a ton of money by “keeping it simple” and splurged on tools we absolutely needed. As we all know, when you’re starting up, you don’t need the bells and whistles until your bank account can handle it.
- Partnering with your semi-opposite. We’re 50/50 partners and suggest that if you’re going the partnership route, do not pick a person that’s too similar to you. Each of you needs complimentary wheelhouses and you have to remember to create room to let everyone shine.
- Getting a bookkeeper. We have a bookkeeper and accountant to keep us on task for quarterly taxes and budgeting. As they say, you’ve got to know your numbers.
- Setting aside at least one day a week (or month) to do our CEO tasks. Every day is a new day to get sucked into the demands of the day, so it’s important, you keep yourself, the administration and operations of your business in check.
- Brainstorming! We love a good bran dump session to keep the big ideas flowing – and pairing down the ones that need to be.
As for lessons learned, where to start-lol! Remember, we said we’re going through a growth spurt ourselves. BUT we do have more than a few lessons that have served us well that we hope will serve you business owners too.
- Don’t try to be everything to everyone. The more niche, focused and intentional you are in your efforts, the more effective you’ll be in attracting your people and boosting your bottom-line.
- Slow down to go fast. While the adrenaline rush will push you to work 24×7, resist. Nothing good comes from burnout.
- Get an advisory board or mentor. You may be smart, but more heads are better than one. Plus, sometimes you’re too close to your company to see the gaps. Tap into people with diverse expertise to keep you thinking differently and building a sustainable company.
- Enjoy what you do. Yeah. You’ve heard that a million times but it’s true! If you don’t, then reconsider.
- You’re never too old (or young). Anything and everything is possible at every chapter (aka age) and don’t let someone tell you otherwise. Seriously. They’re disabling you from your potential.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
In a pre- and post-pandemic world… 1. Sunday: airport run and we’re done! Home for cocktails and conversation into the night 2. Monday: Red Rocks to beat the crowds and beers in Morrison 3. Tuesday: Avanti Food & Beverage for picturesque views of downtown Denver and yummy adult-like food court eats 4. Wednesday: R&R and dinner at home 5. Thursday – Sunday: An Air B&B in Vail!!! One of our favorite mountain towns. Drinks in the village, dinner at Sweet Basil, Bowling at Bol and Mountain top fun 6. Sunday: A send off Brunch and bottomless mimosas at Grind Kitchen watering hole.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We would not be where we are today if it weren’t for the love and support of our moms, Bobbie Brooks and Victoria Montes. These ladies have shown us that while life can be chock-full of struggles and challenges, there’s always light and it’s filled with much love, blessings, and opportunities. They’ve show us that when life throws a curveball, we don’t move out of the way, we catch it and learn from the pain, growth, frustration and inspiration that is only possible when you give yourself to creating positive impact and using your God-given talents to make this world better. We are beyond grateful for these two amazing women.
Everyday Sabbatical for partner photo SecondActWomen for the remaining photos