The Globe & Mail recently ran a showcase on successful technology entrepreneurs who created start-ups after the age of 40. We’re happy to say the co-founder and CEO of HomeStars, Nancy Peterson, was one of the savvy business-people featured.
Here’s what Nancy had to say on entrepreneurship after 40:
Nancy Peterson, 46,
Founder, CEO, HomeStars.com
When she took six months off to have her first child at 36, it was the first time that Ms. Peterson had that much time away from her whirlwind career, most recently as a marketing and brands director at Kraft Foods Inc.
She realized that, as she had been climbing the corporate latter, she missed the “hands-on satisfaction” of business.
“For me, maternity was kind of a turning point,” she said. “You may work hard or harder as an entrepreneur, but you get to choose the hours you work.”
So, at the age of 40, she became an entrepreneur, launching HomeStars, a website where consumers go to compare contractors.
The site, which was inspired by Trip Advisor, is popular in six cities across Canada and is one of the top 600 most-visited websites in the country, she said.
When it comes to being an entrepreneur, age has its pros and cons.
The biggest advantage is having experience of working in large organizations, Ms. Peterson said. “Big-company experience really goes a long way in how you set up and structure yourself and build a team,” she said.
Although in the Internet world it’s easier than ever to work on a shoestring, she said her knowledge of sales and marketing from the consumer products industry is a benefit of her age. Her accumulated experience has been essential to building the HomeStars brand, she said.
But she does note the downsides of starting a business in the middle of a successful career.
“If you’re really trying to replicate your income from a big corporate job, it’s not going to happen with a really small cottage-y type idea,” she acknowledged.
“We’re at a great growing point, but it took three to four years to get there,” she said.