Posted: Mon 16th Dec 2013
Each month, we host meet-ups for our members. One regular attendee is 'IT Whizz' Kate Head. We spoke to Kate about her experience of starting a business in her 50s, against a climate of ageism in the workplace.
Well, I offer friendly IT support to home workers and anyone else without regular IT support. I try to make any advice I give as non-geeky as possible!
Back in 2005, I saw an article in the Evening Standard about a 'Forward at 50' course at the Metropolitan University for women over 50 who wanted to start their own businesses.
I was very apprehensive on the first day, but there was a great vibe, and over 12 fortnightly sessions we learned what we needed to start our own businesses. I actually helped out fellow students and the organisers of the course, so I knew my idea could work!
I took the plunge in April 2007, registering myself as a sole trader with HMRC. IT Whizz started out mainly to help people who had been given a PC by their children "to keep in touch", and often they only had a basic knowledge of how to do email and access the Internet so I was able to do a bit of training to increase their knowledge, especially if their PC had got a virus or malware.
Just being able to support people who have problems with their PC/Mac/Linux/network boxes and get them smiling again!
I started work in IT in 1980 and was made redundant in 1997. I then got an IT job in a bank, but was made redundant from that job in 1999. Another job for a US bank lasted until 2001. Then I found myself on Job Seekers Allowance for nearly two years! I was going on lots of interviews - I just felt rejected on account of my age. This was, of course, all before legislation against ageism in the workplace.
It was at this point that I heard about the 'Forward at 50' course. I stopped getting Job Seekers Allowance and started up a business. (Nowadays, you have the option to set up a business whilst on Job Seekers Allowance, but it was different back then.)
I joined Enterprise Nation after I had attended a few of their great events. It's helped me by allowing me to talk to fellow home workers about their problems, so that I can get a better picture of what is exactly needed in the market place. I try to read the blog every day and I have bought a couple of really useful ebooks.
I want to be in a more positive situation with regular customers. I find it very difficult to ask for payment (I enjoy the work!), so I must make a positive effort to enable people to understand that my over 25 years experience in IT was not gained cheaply!
If anyone from the Enterprise Nation community would like to try my service in exchange for a testimonial, I'm offering an introductory check to find what support you might need - and please ask yourself "when did I last backup my data?" Email me on [email@example.com](mailto:%6b%61%74%65%40%69%74%2d%77%68%69%7a%7a%2e%63%6f%2e%75%6b?subject=Enterprise Nation offer "firstname.lastname@example.org")