Jumping into the Open Market Her Bosses Ignored
FROM A CONVERSATION WITH SONSOLES GONZALEZ ON THE REINVENT YOURSELF PODCAST
When Sonsoles Gonzalez, founder of hair and skincare line Better Not Younger, worked in corporate (L’Oreal, P & G) the researchers came in regularly to point out that women 40+ were an underserved market. But the corporations didn’t want to go there. “We used to joke in meetings: ‘What happens to women 45+? Do they disappear?’” she says. Last year, at age 54, she rushed into the gap with her own line of haircare and scalp products that cater directly to aging hair; she also created oral supplements to promote healthy hair growth. Sonsoles says entrepreneurship is so “exhilarating” she now “realize[s] how much I had stopped learning.”
Sonsoles’ Top Tips for Reinvention
1. Gravitate to what you love to do.
If you’re gonna go into entrepreneurship, don’t pick something that you don’t love just because it’s the hip thing or you think there’s money to be made. Because you’re not going to be good at it or passionate about it. So in my case, to design products and create a brand was something that I’ve always loved to do.
2. Talk to as many people as you can.
Be very humble and listen. You’re gonna be amazed at how much you don’t know, but you’re also going to find so many people that are willing to help. This network that I created over the last 30 years have been my biggest allies. They recommend people that I can talk to, they send me things. Every door that I have knocked on, they have helped me in some way. I would really recommend that you create a list of people that you know who could give you advice or make connections. Or go on LinkedIn, look at your connections, and go line-by-line and see how they might help you.
3. Be prepared not to look back.
If you’re committed, you’ll find that this is a commitment for several years. It will consume you, it will take a lot of your time. If you’re thinking that you are going to build something and then retire five years later, that is probably not going to happen. I’m thinking by 60 I hope that this brand is at a size that I can exit or bring significant partners in, but I’m pretty sure that at that point, I’m going to be asked to stay, which I’ll be happy to do, for at least another five years. So I see myself dedicated for at least another 10 years.