A Start-Up at 60.

June 9, 2024

A Start-Up at 60.

May 29, 2023

Chip’s Note: I love this story from Marie helping us to realize we can create a start-up at any age.

Have you ever had the feeling that you really want to do something to make a difference in the world but don’t really know how to get started? 

I want to share my story because I figure that if an everyday person like me can start not one, but two businesses at age 60, it means anyone with a little courage can do it too.

I am pretty sure that most people I know think I am crazy - at a time in life when a lot of people are slowing down or planning their retirement, my husband and I decided to launch our own business which just happened to coincide with the pandemic and then the war in Ukraine which was challenging to say the least.

Our first business was founded to change the perception of 50+ talent inside companies. Inspired by Chip’s first book, “Wisdom@Work: The Making of a Modern Elder”, we wanted to put into action the book’s key points and inspire companies to change their narrative on age and support them in learning how to capitalize on the deep experience people over 50 have. This becomes even more imperative in the age of AI where trillions of terabytes of information need to be interpreted and acted on. Only people with years of experience and wisdom can do this in a way that will truly benefit our society.

So how did we get started?

It began with a passion followed by a whole hell of a lot of work after that, but I’ve gotta say, the emotions behind it - the crazy highs and lows are things that really make you feel alive. You also expand your universe exponentially through meeting many people that like yourself are passionate about what they are doing.

The companies we founded

Our  first company - WiseForce Advisors, became a consultancy that advises companies on how to diagnose their effectiveness in working with their older workforce supported by programs designed to reconnect mature employees (50+) with their passions and support them in designing a new way of working that leverages their skills and experience in a direction that truly benefits them and the company. 

After a couple of years into WiseForce, we realized that while some companies were willing to offer programs to older employees, a striking majority of people over 50 in the mass market were losing their jobs simply due to age or becoming increasingly unhappy for many age-related reasons. 

To make matters worse, once back in the job market, job seekers over 50 find the process of getting a new job demoralizing due to the same age discrimination, an inability to afford expensive career coaching, and dealing with out-of-date expectations of friends and family who are wondering why they don’t retire or just get a job at a department store.

In looking for the solution that would benefit everyone, this led to the birth of rocket50, a platform dedicated to people over 50, offering the resources they need to find and secure a new job or extend success in their current role - an egalitarian approach to giving everyone the support they need, when they need it.

So today we find ourselves in the tech business in our 60’s dealing with all that goes with growing a start-up. Raising capital, managing a small team while continuing to look for the best market fit. The learning curve has been amazing! 

Would I do it again, given the choice? YES! We must live for the things we dream of regardless of the potential outcome. This is the reason we are alive!

With passion and lots of love, Marie Jerusalem

Marie is the CEO of rocket50 and co-founder of WiseForce Advisors as well as an alumnae of the MEA Online program. She is based in Dusseldorf, Germany and the San Francisco Bay Area, California.

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