I want to thank Katelyn Polantz of The Roanoke Times for including me in her article Startups in lean times and for hearing me. Not only am I accurately quoted, but the essence of our half-hour conversation is distilled in her Q & A format. For her integrity, skill and art, when I have news, I will share it with Katelyn Polantz first.
A much greater context
Anne Giles Clelland is the owner of Handshake Media in Blacksburg. She began the social media services company in late 2008, after 15 years in teaching. She's 51 years old.
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: It's the possibility to make a change. It's the possibility to offer opportunity to others.
Q: Is this your first business venture?
I had a Web site development company 10 years ago. It was not profitable, and I had to close it down. I am the classic "yes, I have failed" entrepreneur. I am not going to fail this time.
I'm a woman. I'm 50. I'm a sprint triathlete, and I have seen some things. It seems like the perfect culmination and synthesis of my life experience, my credentials and my expertise.
Q: What's it like to start a business that late in life?
A: My father's 77. My grandmother's 100. I have only begun my career. I have a long, healthy life ahead of me, genetically.
Q: Are there benefits or challenges because of your age?
A: It's the best time to start a business in almost every way. What is it that I have now at 50 that I didn't have at 25? I have perspective. I have a vista. I can see how pieces can fit into a wider view. I have a much greater context in which to make choices.
My father and mother are both 77 and were born in the same hospital in Lynchburg, Virginia within four days of each other. I mentioned my father in the interview because he, too, is an entrepreneur and is launching Rural System.