We get a LOT of questions around ageism at TechPixies. While the youngest women who have gone through our programme have been in their early 20s, the vast majority of women who join TechPixies tend to be 35-55.
Often the women thinking of joining TechPixies who are 50+ have major concerns about whether or not it is truly is possible to set up a business or return to work in the latter years of life.
This is precisely why I wanted to interview the AMAZING Angela Laws, who has single handledly built the TrustedHousesitters Facebook following from scratch up to 200,000+. The page itself has extremely high engagement with some posts going viral and getting 6,000 to 7,000 comments.
Below are a few highlights of my interview with Angela.
What were you doing before you got started in social media and how did you get into your role as a Social Media Manager for TrustedHousesitters?
My background is in sales, marketing and PR. I’ve done that since I was knee-high. So that has given me the skills, the communication skills, the business skills and the creative skills, you know, everything I needed to bring to the position where I am now. I have lived all over the world. I’ve worked in Canada, in the States, in the UK.
My progression into social media, was really a progression of my background but just into the digital world. Prior to taking this position, I was with this TrustedHousesitters as a pet sitter full time around the world with a home in Canada. I had an email from a young man who wanted to build a global community of pet lovers who would actually care for pets for free out of a passion for the animals, for helping people and for being in places that they might otherwise not go to. So I joined him and I was working remotely for him in Canada.
He knew my background and we had this social platform (Facebook) which nobody was actually doing anything with and so one day, I said ‘It is such a powerful media, we really should be using it. So they said… ‘Ok, do it’ and so I said ‘Ok’ and I retrained myself, I booked into some courses here the UK and in Canada and I did online. Really, you know, what this is (social media management), is doing what I’ve done all my life. It is just the digital form of it. Yes, you need different skills – but what was I doing before? I was following my passion that I have for animals.’Angela Laws
What advice do you have for women who want to go back to work or set up a business later in life?
If you are passionate about something, and you are somebody who will never take no for an answer and won’t have that door closed into your face, you can do anything you want to.
Everybody in this life needs a purpose. I have my 3 Ps: Pets, People and Places.Angela Laws
What skillset do women of a certain age bring to a modern company?
I believe that if you the skills that you learnt before digital they are powerful, they are meaningful. You’ve learnt a way of working that isn’t necessarily easy. It doesn’t come at the touch of a button, you have to go out and do it. All of that grounding now combined with the digital age and you have something really powerful.
You need all the skills, but you also need that bit of luck but you make your own luck. Look for it hard enough and you’ll find it.Angela Laws
Why is it great to be a social media manager later in life?
I’ve done all my children/home stuff. I don’t have that anymore. I don’t have children to get to school. I don’t have exams coming up. That’s all gone, they’ve got their own lives, they’re finished.
This is now my time. This is where I can actually give as much of me as I want to without having to go ‘Oh, it’s 4 o’clock. I have to go get the kids from school. With social media, you know, it never sleeps and after a certain age, we never sleep either.Angela Laws
Any last advice for women who may want to become social media managers/consultants?
I think you have to care about what you do, you have to love what you do. I believe that if you want to do it, then just go out there and educate yourself. If you’ve got marketing, pr and sales skills, if you’ve got all of that, social media isn’t really something to be scared of – it is just another means, another tool. Yes, it can seem daunting sometimes: the analytics, the strategy and everything else but you actually did that prior to digital. This is just a different way, don’t be scared of it and follow your passion.Anglea Laws