A movie or television trailer is supposed to catch your attention, but this time it felt like Netflix punched me in the gut. This particular trailer wasn’t flashy or over-dramatized, it was just real and raw and it certainly poured over the insecurities I had inherited in 2020 which had overflowed into 2021.
“Switching careers…in your forties…as a woman,” this female character asked Siri with a tinge of heartache and uncertainty.
The idea of reinventing ourselves, heaven forbid, at or over the age of 40 elicits fear and self-doubt—I know it did for me. Why would I leave a career I knew so well and was successful at to do something else, something I’ve never done before? Would I be too afraid to let go of what’s comfortable to stretch and grow—dare I say, be reborn? (Yes, even at the age of 40.)
Now, this isn’t a question that’s reserved for women of a certain age. I’ve asked myself this question each time I leaped out of a career that no longer served me or my life’s larger purpose—when I left television news in 2017 and then again when I left my job in public relations last year.
I was being pulled towards something else. I wanted something more. I wanted to be fulfilled.
It was during an intention and goal setting ceremony over Zoom this time last year that I was asked to write down what I wanted out of 2021. Who did I want to be? What did I want to do? After many pages, I wrote down, “I will open my zero waste business in 2021!”
I laughed out loud (luckily, I was on mute). This idea had been whispering to me for a while but it wasn’t a full-formed thought, and before that day I didn’t have the words or the courage to fully express this desire. It was like this sentence came from outside of me, but also from some place so deep that I recognized it immediately.
When the soul speaks, you listen, right? Well…it would be months before I finally found the courage to jump. Without a parachute and without a fully-formed business plan (which I do not recommend, by the way), I left my job and started fulFILLed—Utah’s first mobile refillery.
It wasn’t just faith that carried me through, thankfully. I had a team of women standing by to help me make the transition from employee to entrepreneur.
My first meeting with the Women’s Business Center of Utah (WBCUtah) went something like this: ”Help! I have no idea what I’m doing!”
The WBCUtah business advisor walked me off the ledge. While I didn’t have a business plan or even a business license, I had a few things that any entrepreneur needs: passion, purpose and a problem my business was going to solve. This, they said, they could work with.
That first meeting she walked me through the process of getting my LLC set up. Then we went over what kind of business licenses I would need and how to register with the State of Utah. From there, I was hooked. I signed up for every training I could register for and I made a weekly appointment with an amazing business advisor, Talia. (I could just kiss her, really.)
Talia helped me get my vision and mission statement nailed down. She set me up with the Small Business Development Center to work on market research. We walked through a marketing plan and even got into the nitty-gritty of product sourcing, pricing, and the difference between markup and margin.
In less than four months of opening my refill business, I opened a brick and mortar zero waste store in Park City. And there is no way, NO WAY, I would have gotten here as quickly as I did without the help of the amazing women at the Women’s Business Center of Utah.
Yes, a woman, in her forties, trying to reinvent herself as an entrepreneur, can do it. Especially here in Utah. Because here in Utah, we have an amazing group of women standing by, ready and willing, to walk us through this incredibly terrifying process. Sure it’s scary, but at least we don’t have to do it alone.
Kimberly Flores is the owner of fulFILLed, a zero waste store and refill shop in Park City, Utah. fulFILLed’s mission is to simplify low-waste living by offering refillable and package-free products to those looking to reduce their plastic waste and lessen their environmental impact. For nearly 15 years, Flores was a television news journalist who won multiple awards for her breaking news and environmentally-focused investigative reports.