Inspiring stories of success, joy and refusing retirement from renegades rocking life after 50.

Renegade Boomer Podcast - Episode 3 with Gail McNeill

Featuring Gail McNeill

Episode 003 Retire to Portugal After 50!

Dreaming of retiring to Portugal? How about refiring instead? If you’ve felt the call to explore an entirely new way of life after 50…this episode of the Renegade Boomer™ will inspire  you! Tune in for a fun, lively, and fascinating conversation with Gail McNeill. It just might open a whole new chapter for YOU!

WATCH THE EPISODE BELOW:

SHOW NOTES:

Favorite Quotes

“You’re never too old to wear colorful clothing.” Gail McNeill

Favorite Moments from the Interview

Gail is intrepid and adventurous and has a refreshing take on getting older. She lives life out loud and in color and encourages all those around her to do the same. We both have a penchant for colorful clothing and I loved connecting with her over that.

Why the Renegade Boomer Community will love it

It’s time to rethink what “retirement” in fabulous Portugal can look like!

Orange blossoms and beaches are just the beginning when you step into who-you-REALLY-are and recreate your life.

Gail felt the call, downsized the material trappings of her life and UPsized a total transformation of body, mind, and spirit.

THIS is what’s possible when you welcome and embrace the very best of your life, by following your inner guidance with boldness, bravery, and bliss.

Find Me On Social Media:

https://www.instagram.com/thetinalorenz/

https://www.facebook.com/TheTinaLorenz

https://www.linkedin.com/in/thetinalorenz/

View Transcript

[00:00:00] Tina: Hi, this is Tina Lorenz, and I wanna welcome you to the Renegade Boomer™ Podcast. And I’m so looking forward to my guest today. Gail McNeill is my guest. Now, she refers to herself as an aging influencer. I actually probably wouldn’t use that term cuz as you will see, she does look anything but aging.

Her mission is to give women the skills, the permission, and the power to enjoy the process of aging. And she created a site called Fifty Sister to promote positive and healthy aging and share her silver hair journey to inspire other women to set their sparkles free. And you know I love some sparkles. I do love some sparkles. And also to promote the use of cruelty-free beauty products and encourage everyone to explore a vegan lifestyle as well. But she really wants to help other women find their tribe of like-minded women too. So, you know, have someone to hang out with that understands what we’re going through and what our goals are.

Gail, welcome. So happy to have you here today.

[00:00:55] Gail: Thank you for having me.

[00:00:57] Tina: And you are right now in, you’re actually in Portugal, right?

[00:01:01] Gail: Yeah. It’s evening here. It’s 7:00 PM. You are still in the middle of the day, but it’s 7:00 PM here. It’s nighttime, it’s dark, and I live in southern Portugal in Algarve region, which is right at the bottom. And I live in Eastern Algarve, which is very close to the Spanish border.

[00:01:17] Tina: Forgive my geographic ignorance, but are you close to a coastline then where you are?

[00:01:21] Gail: Yes. So the whole of Algarve region the south, actually the whole of Portugal is bordered by three different oceans. So we’re next to the Atlantic Ocean. I’m literally two-minute drive from the ocean.

[00:01:32] Tina: I just pictured just an absolute beautiful place, you know, oranges, growing on trees and, you know, beautiful scenery and bougainvillea, you know, flowers and blooms. Is it like that?

[00:01:42] Gail: It’s like that. So basically I’m building a house about 45 minutes from here. And I couldn’t get a house to rent near where I’m building because rental properties are very difficult to get ahold of here. And so I found this little house, this little cottage in the middle of an orange grove. It’s in the middle. I’m surrounded by oranges.

And basically it belongs to a farmer who grows oranges and we’re in the middle of it. And we’ve got no neighbors. We’re just surrounded by oranges. But we’re about a two-minute drive from the coast. We’re two-to-five-minute drive from town. It’s exceptionally quiet and exceptionally dark, but it’s brilliant. It’s a brilliant experience to live here.

[00:02:22] Tina: Yeah. My husband and I lived in Central Mexico for a few years, and it’s just such an interesting experience to live in a different culture, eat different foods, meet different kinds of people.

But even in Arizona where I am now, we one time lived close to a citrus growing area, and the scent of orange blossoms, I’m picturing, is something to really enjoy.

[00:02:41] Gail: It’s magical. They’ve actually come and harvested the oranges yesterday and today. They’ve stripped maybe about half to three quarters of the orange grove. So I’m so excited because in about a month’s time, it’s going to be this pungent cloud of orange blossom, and it’s intoxicating.

[00:03:00] Tina: Yeah, really, to be right in the middle of it, I actually can imagine because I know what that smells like. They are so lovely.

So I’m just really looking forward to this conversation because I’m all about Renegade Boomers™, renegade in the sense of, you know, we’re thinking outside the box. We’re not fitting into a mold that somebody else has decided for us.

And one of the things that I love is working with people who are making that transition. Those of us who are past 50, have had other careers and then transitioned into something new. And a lot of times, I find that the people I work with have kind of lost their way as far as their own identity, their own sense of who they are and what they actually came into the world with a calling to do.

So, does that resonate at all with you? Have you been through any of that journey for yourself as you were going past 50?

[00:03:45] Gail: Absolutely. So it happened to me. I think when you’re a child, so you’re someone’s daughter, then you are someone’s girlfriend, wife, and then you’re a mother and your mother, mother, mother, full-time worker, all of that. So, I was working hard, a mother, and then suddenly, my son, as soon as he finished college, we picked him up from college, took him to the airport, and he flew off for 18 months traveling. So we’d encouraged him to do that. We thought it was amazing.

But you know, we literally talked at the airport and said, “What have we done? What have we done?” And then the whole journey back, and it’s a four-hour drive back from the airport, all I kept saying was, “Who am I? Who am I now?” My value was in being a mother and of course, I’m still a mother, but I wasn’t a carer for him. I wasn’t involved in his life. I didn’t even know what country he was in. So it changed my priorities because I’d focused on work and I had to be successful.

I really wanted to be the best I could be in the job that I did, but suddenly I realized that we had this massive house that had like 22 rooms and there were rooms- I know there were rooms that I hadn’t been in for months.

[00:04:54] Tina: Are you living in a castle with a moat here or what? 22 rooms.

[00:04:58] Gail: It’s basically a Georgian house, and we bought it 10 years prior to this moment I’m talking about. And it was awful. It was back in, you know, haven’t been decorated since the 60’s and we renovated it. Our plan was that we would live in the top two floors and our son would have the garden level floor as an apartment, and then, as he got a family, we would move into the apartment, and he would live with his family above. You know, this is mother’s dream.

[00:05:26] Tina: That’s quite a well-developed plan you have there, Gail. You know that expression, the best laid plans, that one?

[00:05:36] Gail: Absolutely. So, he’s been gone. We know he’s gonna be gone for like 18 months. And so I’m suddenly at work, and my tolerance levels diminished quite quickly when I realized that I didn’t have to work, I didn’t have to put up with the things these people were saying to me. And also, why did I need such a big house, you know, the rooms I hadn’t been in for months and I had two luxury cars, this beautiful, amazing house. But I realized they didn’t make me happy.

And if you have everything you ever wanted, and it doesn’t make you happy, then what do you need? And I needed time. I needed time for me, and I actually needed to discover who I was, what I wanted. And I knew I was capable of so much more, but I’d pigeonholed myself because I knew I could make money in the industry that I was in and I could be successful and have an amazing career and be well respected and have values to my employer.

But I just thought, hang on a minute, my life is just, it’s already written for me and I just wanna rip up that script and I want to start again. So at that moment, I’d watched a film, you’ve probably seen it, it’s an old film now, it’s called “Up in The Air” with George Clooney. And in it, he said, “Everything you own, put in your backpack. So imagine you put in everything you own and how heavy it becomes.” Now, the moral of his story was that, you know, you do need lots of things in life to have a good life more than in a backpack.

But I took it the other way. I was like, “Oh, I love that idea.” I love the idea of not owning anything. So I said to my husband, “I’d like to sell the house. I’d like to sell everything in it. I’d like to get rid of everything in it, and I would like to just move somewhere else. I want to just start again.” And I’m so blessed that he was like, “Sure. Let’s do it.”

[00:07:22] Tina: I have a husband like that too, and we are blessed because I was gonna ask you, did he say, “Was that gonna include me?” You know.

[00:07:27] Gail: Oh, no. He was included, but we’re easy going because you know, we talked about moving to Italy. For 15 years, we talked, “We’re moving to Italy when we retire.” We learned Italian. We traveled all over Italy looking for the right place to settle. And everywhere we went, I said, “No, it doesn’t feel right. No, it doesn’t feel right.” And we liked a little town near Portofino, which is called Santa Margherita de Ligure, which is, oh, it’s beautiful, but I still didn’t feel a connection with it.

And we saw a program about Portugal and I said, I don’t really like Portugal. I’d only been here once. I was so unfair. That was so unfair of me to say that. “Oh, I don’t really like Portugal. It’s very touristy.” And then I saw this program of the nature and the forests and the mountains, and I said, “I haven’t been to that part of Portugal.” I think we booked a flight the next day. I’m very spur the moment.

We flew into Lisbon. We traveled north. We went all through the north. Well, not all through the north, but along the coast. And then it got cold, so I said, “Oh, I don’t like this.” I wanted to be warm. If I move into a country, I wanted to be warm.

So my husband said, “Well, should we go to Algarve?”

And I said, “No, that’s really touristy.” Anyway, it was cold. We ended it up in Algarve, and we did the coast, from one coast to the other. We went from the. Spanish border in the east, all the way to Sagres in the west, which is the corner of Portugal, but the far western corner. And I said, “Yeah, I like it here, but still. I still haven’t found the place.”

So where we lived in Devon in Southwest England, I said, “What do I like about where I live?” There’s a market town. I love this market town. So I googled “best market town in Algarve”, which is Loulé.

So we got in the car, we got there, I walked into the market and I said, “This is my town.” And that’s how we settled on that particular town in Algarve.

[00:09:23] Tina: I can relate. I can definitely relate to some of this, not to Portugal, but similar ways of making that decision. But I’m really struck by some of the things you’ve said along the way with your journey, that at one point it sounds like if someone had said, “So who are you, Gail? Who are you?” It sounds like you might have said, well, I am, fill in the blank for whatever the work it was you were doing. I’m a mom. I’m a home renovator. I’m a dog mom. I’m a wife. But then really starting to peel back the layers of realizing it really is an inner journey of who you are being and that there’s so much more to you. Those are all aspects of what you do. That’s the doing part, but the being part, it sounds like you went through kind of a, you said you needed time to just kind of, it sounds like reconnect with that, “Who is Gail?”, the essence of you, the deeper inner journey of who you are. Does that seem like kind of the process you go through?

[00:10:13] Gail: That’s so true. Because you are being pushed along from life. Life’s carrying you I think a lot of the time that you’re kinda going along like a piece of tumbleweed. The having children. They’ve gotta go to school. I’ve gotta worry about their education. I’ve gotta make sure they eat right. I’ve gotta make sure they go to the right university.

And there’s just on, on and on. Life is taking you on this journey. And I think when you make the decision to stop, when you say, “I don’t wanna do this anymore.” So I walked out of my job. I literally said, “I don’t like how this meeting’s going.” I picked up my bag and I left.

And so I got home. My husband said, “Oh, what are you doing?” I went, “I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m gonna do, but I don’t wanna do that anymore. I don’t want to do that.”

So, he had his own business and he was looking to expand, but he didn’t trust anyone to work with him. And I said, “Well, look, how about I work with you for a little bit? But I don’t wanna work with you full time.” Because, you know, we’ve been married a long time. Yeah, they’re 24 hours a day. It’s not a good idea.

Anyway, long story short, I rebuilt his website. I changed his marketing strategy. I changed the account. I changed everything about his business within that two weeks. And because I was used to dealing with C-level executives, his business was recruitment, I said, “Well, look, maybe I can handle a few of your very senior clients, most important clients. Maybe I could help you.”

Well, eight years later, I was still working with him. And I had, you know, you have a moment of, I said, “You know, I don’t want do this anymore. It was never my choice to do this.”

I’m a really creative person. I’m always curious. I wanna know about everything. I wanna know what makes people tick. And I think I’d lost my sparkle. I felt like I’d lost my sparkle. I didn’t even know how to polish my sparkle. I didn’t know how to do that. And so I started looking for other women. Obviously, we’re all looking for our tribe, aren’t we?

So I started looking for other women to see, oh, who can inspire me? I want somebody who is adventurous, who wants to take care of themselves, who cares about the planet, who wants to keep fit, who wants to get the best out of life, who’s not limited by their age. And I couldn’t find anyone. And I was talking to my son, and I said, “I just can’t find anyone.” He said, “Well, of course you can’t find anyone because that’s you.”

And I said, “I haven’t done all these things.” And he went, “No, but you can do them and you will do them.”

[00:12:33] Tina: That’s part of the being, though. See, he recognized that inner spark that you thought you had lost, but obviously was still sparking away there cuz your son recognized it and helped you to realize it’s a reflection of you.

And I think that happens a lot in our journey with business and our life or like with people I work with, sometimes it’s people that are on the journey you’ve already been on, and now you’re commencing on it.

And so from that, you have built a huge social media following because so what was that next step? You just decided, “Hey, if I can’t find them, I’m gonna show up and be me and they will find me.” I mean, is that kind of what happened?

[00:13:10] Gail: Well, yeah. Because I said, “Oh, I was looking through Instagram, so I’m not really interested in Instagram. I don’t really wanna get into social media.”

My son said, “You should start posting.”

And I said, “No one’s going to want to listen to me.”

And he went, “Well, give it a go and see.” Because we were talking about social media, and he’s a really confident presenter. And I said, “You should do social media.” And he went, “I’m not interested, but you should be.” So, I said, “Oh, well, I’ll just post a couple of pictures and maybe I can find my tribe through those pictures.” You know, they’ll connect with me.

Well, within a week, I had 10,000 followers. And I was like, “What? What? What’s going on? I don’t like it.” And I actually stopped posting.

That’s happened to me a few times because then I kind of got stuck at 30,000 followers. Then suddenly, I was 70,000 followers.

And the thing is, it comes with a lot of responsibility because I get so, I’m sure you do too, you get so many emails and messages from people and they’re really heart-wrenching, heartfelt, begging emails, begging for help, and begging for guidance. And it’s almost like a bit of a panic and I was like, “Oh, this is too much responsibility. I only joined this for fun.”

But then I also got messages and emails from women saying, “You’ve changed my life.” “You’ve changed the way I think about aging.” “You’ve given me hope.” “I love following you.” You know, “You’re a positive influence.” “You’re real.”

And so then I would post again, and then I would withdraw. So I have a love-hate relationship with it for a long time. I’d have a bit of fun with it then I was like, “Oh no, this is getting too much.” And then the end of last year, suddenly followers came out of nowhere, and I think I’ve gained like 80,000 followers in a month than in the last two months.

And it’s amazing. And the thing is, when people call me an influencer, I’m like, “Oh, you’re talking to me. I don’t- Oh, okay.

[00:15:03] Tina: I think the thing is too, there’s so many aspects to this because the whole thing with aging, right? I mean, I think, ageism is kind of the last ism. It’s the last sort of blatantly out-there-in-the-open prejudice that’s acceptable to a lot of people.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve found as, and I know some of my friends, as you get older, you start being treated differently by the world at large.

And I heard someone the other day, and I can’t remember who said it, but I thought it was such a good term because they talked about self-ageism and really the expectations we have for ourself. If we start identifying that, “Well, I can’t do this anymore,” or, “I can’t do that. I can’t possibly move to another country or go on social media,” whatever it might be for each individual, that we build in our own limitations. And sometimes we defend those limitations all the way to the end, right? And we never actually do the things that we are called to do.

With you, it’s just kind of unfolded like a carpet unfurling before you as you started sharing your thoughts and your mission and your journey of going from I’m the employee. I can make a lot of money. I can live in my castle, you know, in the UK. But really, when you identified that all those outside things were not doing it for you. It’s all the more reason why we need to find that pathway for ourselves, especially as we are getting older because you have so much wisdom from just your life experience to share, right?

And I know that you had your 13 top things, lucky 13 of things you’re never too old to do. I was reading through your list and the very first of them was learn something new, right? So you learned how to navigate social media.

[00:16:34] Gail: You know, it’s interesting because I’m one of these people that I think I can do anything, and there’s no limit. If someone said, “This guy needs brain surgery. We can’t get a surgeon. We can get them on the phone.” I would give it a go because I think, “Well, why not?” No, but what I mean by that is that when I see someone doing something, “Oh, I could do that,” but I don’t just say I could do that. I actually do it.

And that’s how we talk to ourself too, isn’t it? So, I have a lot of women who message me and say, “I couldn’t do that.” “I can’t do that.” “There’s no way I can do that.” And I go back to them and I say, “Well, maybe you should change your language to ‘I’d like to try that. Maybe I could try that more. I wonder how good I’d feel if I tried that.’ Because when you were telling your body you can’t do it, you’re talking yourself down before you even started.” And I’m the opposite. I say, “I can do that. Even if I fail, I don’t care, but I have to have a go.”

A little example of that leisured wise, I went canyoning with my son in Spain this year where you jump off cliffs into water and swim through tunnels. And my son, he’s fearless, absolutely no fear, but there was a lot of other people there. So when they said who’s gonna go first, jumping off this cliff, I knew he would, but I looked at all of them and they were like, “No way!”

So I said, “Woo! I’ll do it.” Even though I was probably 10 times more scared than them, I just threw myself into it. I thought what’s the worst thing? I die. Well, what a way to go? What a way to go? This crazy woman threw herself off a cliff.

[00:18:13] Tina: Well, the thing is what you’re saying there about how we speak to ourselves. You know, I started my career online as a freelance copywriter, someone that works with marketing, communication. I love words. I love the power of words. But my programs have always encapsulated mindset and what I call the sacred science of mindset, because it’s built into us that we can create a different pathway in our brains, you know, new neural pathways by thinking it differently.

And so one of the things you were saying about yourself is, “Well, I think I can just do this no matter what.” I actually teach that even if you can’t quite get yourself like totally believing this thing you’re setting out to do, you can say, “Even though I don’t know exactly how, I believe this is gonna work for me to do X, Y, or Z.” You can start off by thinking, even though I’m not sure how it’s gonna come about, you know, you’re gonna trust in that process. And it sounds like that’s kinda how you live your life, is trusting in the process and trusting in that inner guidance, you know, your intuition, whatever you call it, just kind of guiding you through.

And one of the things about learning something new, you decided also to let your hair go. You went ahead with gray hair, right? And your silver sparkle. So tell me about that journey because my journey is that when I quit coloring my hair, I found out it was purple.

[00:19:23] Gail: Well, I had purple hair for a while, and I love purple hair. Your hair is amazing.

[00:19:30] Tina: Oh, thank you!

[00:19:31] Gail: But one of the things I did when I, so I said to my husband and son, “Oh, I’m thinking of letting my hair just go sparkly.” Well, I said gray, but let’s say silk.

[00:19:42] Tina: I like sparkle. Sparkles are good.

[00:19:45] Gail: My husband was like, “What makes you happy.” My son was like, “No! No! No!” Because it’s admitting. It’s seeing my true age, isn’t it? And you kinda want your mom to stay the same forever. So I didn’t listen to him.

So I thought, well, I can’t do the grow-out process. I’m not doing that. So I went and had all the color stripped from my hair to almost white. It was bleached and I thought, well, this is the last time I’m going to damage it, so I’m really going to damage it. So I stripped it back to white, but it was too harsh. So I put some violet tones to it, and I was like, “Ok, this is fine.” Then eventually they washed out, so my silver hair came through and I absolutely love it. I’m not just saying that I love it. I love seeing it in the sun when it’s glistening.

[00:20:35] Tina: Shimmery, shiny, and sparkly. And the thing is, when you talked about women saying to you, “Well, I could never do that.” I’ve literally had women say that to me about my hair color. “Oh, I would love that, but I couldn’t do that.” Or they say, “I wish I were brave enough.” And I was like, “Well, you can be.” You know, you can decide to be brave enough. Or worse yet, their husband would not allow it, you know, their partner in life would not allow it. It’s just like, oh no, you know.

[00:20:58] Gail: My husband knows not to tell me not to do something. Because it will make me want to do it even more.

[00:21:05] Tina: Well, that leads me to your number two on your list was give yourself a life makeover. So, oh my gosh. I think that’s what you’re doing. So, it feels very much to me when you’re speaking about what you’re doing, and I’ve looked at your social media that you’re still in the process. It’s not like one and done where you were in Portugal in the orange grove and there we go, right? So what do you see as far as what continues to unfold for you with this?

[00:21:28] Gail: I just love how much I’ve learned over the last two years. I think when you open your mind up to the potential of what the universe can give you and what you are capable of, I think it’s a little bit bewildering at first, which is why I’ve kind of limited myself for so long, why have my thoughts been so narrowly focused on like a horse with blinkers on, and suddenly the blinkers have been taken off.

And I think, well, first of all, I don’t care what anyone thinks about me. So I don’t care about failing. I never have. So what can I do? But then of course, it’s overwhelming with, “Well, I can do anything. If I can do anything, what do I choose?” And my husband’s voice saying to me, “You have to stop having these hundreds of ideas. You have to focus on one thing.” Because this is me. “Oh, I need some art. I’m gonna get some paints and I’m gonna paint some art.”

“Oh, maybe I’ll grow some herbs.” I’ll go do that. “Oh, I think I’ll design a website.” “Oh, let’s make bit.” And he’s like, “No, no, no. You need to focus.” So he’s really good for me like that.

But I was not in a good place two years ago, the whole pandemic lockdown thing messed with my mind. I didn’t like how people were treating each other. I didn’t like being restricted. I didn’t like being confined. I really struggled with that, like really struggled. I literally wanted to go to bed and never get up again. That’s how bad I felt.

Because I’m someone that used to walk for five or six hours a day with my dogs, then I’d get up really early and I’d go for three hours in the morning. I’d go for three hours in the evening, and suddenly, that was taken away from me.

And it was a shock. It was a shock, and I didn’t take it very well. So I found myself in a place where I didn’t like anything. I didn’t like people. I didn’t like the world. I didn’t like anything.

So I just thought, okay, so my mind, I can’t quiet in my mind. How do I quiet in my mind? Because that’s the first thing I need to do. If I’m going to feel better, look better, whatever it’s I’m gonna do to improve myself, I’ve got to quiet my mind. So I started listening to chanting, I don’t know what they’re singing, but I love the sound of the chanting.

So this is Buddhist temple chanting. And through that I found a monk. If you Google Nick the monk on YouTube, or you search him, you’ll find him. He’s got a very, very long surname, which I can’t pronounce. So Nick the monk.

I started listening to him and he’s got the most magical, calm voice. And he was talking about how to find peace, how to protect your energy.

And then he started talking about intermittent fasting. And intermittent fasting, of course, is something they do as part of their lifestyle because they can only eat two meals per day because the locals feed them. So the Buddhist monks go every day with their bowls and the locals give them whatever they fancy, as in whatever the locals can give them. “Oh, I can give you some rice. I can give you some fruit.” So these Buddhist monks can only eat what they’re given and they can only put in their bowl what they know they can eat. So he said, “I can only take what I know I can eat, but I have to eat in line with what I’m doing. So if I’m chopping down trees in the afternoon, I need to eat more.”

So he said, “I cannot leave anything.” It’s against the Buddhist temple or whatever the rules are. Buddhist rules that you cannot waste food. So, he only ate twice a day. But he’d been living in California and used to eating five times a day.

And he said, of course he looked like an average human being before he went there. And then suddenly he looks very athletic and slim because his calories are confined to an eating window of six hours. And I looked at him and thought, “Oh, he looks good. Maybe I should do that.” And at first, I said to my husband, “I’m only gonna eat in a six hour window.” And he looked at me like I was crazy because I love cooking, I love talking about food, eating food, everything.

And I said, but no, if I can control my mind through the chanting, if I can start controlling holistically everything about my life, I’d put on a lot of weights. I’d put on 15, 16 pounds in that year. And I said if I carry on putting on weight, I’m going to get sick. I don’t want to get sick. So let’s start with intermitent fasting and that’s restricting me.

And I’m gonna focus on, laser focus on intermittent fasting and learning everything about it. So I did that and I lost 28, 30 pounds within four months, like gone. Gone. And then I was left with this wobbly bits and I thought, now, I need to work out. So that’s where I started jump ropes, so.

[00:25:55] Tina: Wobbly bits.

[00:25:57] Gail: That’s learning something new. So learning something new, which is learning about how fasting benefits our bodies and how our bodies take time off from digesting food to actually repair and do maintenance on our bodies. So that was amazing for me to think, actually, I can repair my body, I can get my weight back in check, and I’ll have the energy to actually want to do something. So I’ve learned more in the last two years than I’ve learned in my whole life.

[00:26:27] Tina: I think that’s such another important point of being a lifelong learner. And that’s something that I encourage in my business, the people that I train, people I work for copywriting, marketing strategy, and the people I work with in the coaching capacity.

It’s that curiosity, you know? And it keeps us moving forward. And when you said you weren’t afraid to fail, and really, if we can redefine what failing means, it’s just another learning experience that we can draw from, and we get to choose how we process that.

And that’s the thing that I always come back to is we make a decision about how we are going to create our own reality. And our own reality is created from our thoughts. How we think, what we’re thinking is creating our experience of our reality.

And so I just think you’re packing so many lessons of things that I resonate with into your life experience with all of this, and that brings us to number seven. I’m skipping down your list, but you’re never too old to wear colorful clothing.

[00:27:22] Gail: I love it. I’m not wearing colorful today. I actually have a really busy today with loads of all my meetings so I just grab something. But normally, I’m like you. I’ve got bright pink, bright orange, yellow, purple, because, I mean, I look around at people and they’re wearing black, and they’re wearing gray, and they’re wearing beige, and I’m looking at them thinking, no wonder you’re not smiling. I put on a pair of orange pants, and I’m like, “Oh, I feel like sunshine!”

[00:27:51] Tina: Yes. I’m a walking beam of sunlight, you know.

[00:27:55] Gail: I look at you, you’re surrounded by all of that color. I mean, I’m in my little rental cottage. My cottage is so tiny, you would not believe it. And I’m looking at you with envy, thinking, “Oh! All that color.” But I’m renting and I’m practicing minimalism by not buying anything.

But yeah, color. It really has an impact on me. Color. So it has to be bright always.

[00:28:19] Tina: Yes. Well, for me personally, there’s energy in color. What you see is how I live my life, basically. Someone said, “Well, do you do purple hair because it’s a branding thing?”

I said, “I’ve been having my hair with purple in it for over six years.” And they went, “So why?” I said, “Because I want to,” you know. It’s silver and purple, you know, so I love that when I saw the colorful clothing, I thought, “Oh yeah.” And colorful life and colorful everything, right?

But number nine, your number nine on your list, and everybody, at the end of our conversation, you can tell ’em how they can find all of your 13 things, is to start a new business.

And I noticed that you referred to, you’ve started one with digital art. You have done affiliate marketing. You have t-shirt printing that you do, all of that.

And I particularly love your number nine because I didn’t start what I’m doing as far as freelance copywriter, marketing strategist, part of it till I was past 50. And my joke is always don’t do the math cuz I’ve been at it for a while, for quite a while actually.

But I came into it with no experience. I was on my own from the time I was 17. I was homeless in my 40s, and I’d never been paid to write anything for anybody ever. And I just read an article about copywriting and decided I’m gonna do that.

And so, like you, I made a decision of I’m just gonna do it and did multiple six figures the very first year without a website for half of that, you know, just by making a decision and starting to take the actions that go with it. This is what I work with now as a Renegade Boomer™.

You know, when we talk about retirement, one of the things I was gonna mention is we should kind of retire the word retirement really. Because each person gets to decide that for themselves. But you know, it used to be that the average lifespan was only around 61 to 65, something like that. And now, we are going so much further.

So you know, the old days in the 30’s and the 40’s, it was like, well this is when people will stop working cuz they’re only gonna live five more minutes, and so there we go. And now it’s, my mom lived to be a hundred for example. And so, the idea of doing the same thing for decade upon decade upon decade is like, oh my gosh, I can’t even imagine.

And so being able to transition into something entirely new. It’s like I talk about rewire, refire, rewrite your story about what this second chapter, third act, whatever you wanna call it, is gonna be when you’re past 50. And it doesn’t mean pack your bags and go sit in the shadow somewhere and be completely ignored or marginalized, right?

So what are your thoughts about this starting? I was never told to start a business. What is your thinking about that?

[00:30:43] Gail: I just think that people pigeonhole themselves and they stay in that little box. You know, I’m a postman. I’m a doctor. I’m a lawyer. I’m a painter. That’s what I am.

When people say, what do you do? I say, “Oh, I do lots of things.” “No, no, but you have to choose one.” “I can’t choose one. I can’t choose one because I do lots of things.” And then they’ll say, “Oh, you’re retired.” I said, “Well, I haven’t worked as in for someone else for a while. However, I’ve never stopped working because I can’t, I just can’t.” The thought of sitting still, sitting down and doing what? Knitting? I don’t know what I’d do.

So, I wanted my own website and my son’s friend said, “Well, I’ll build you a website.” I said, “No, no. I’m going to build it myself.” And he laughed so hard at the thought that I could build my own website. And I went, “I’m glad you laughed because now I really am gonna build that website.”

[00:31:32] Tina: “I’m really gonna build that website.”

[00:31:35] Gail: I learned how to register a domain, how to get hosting, and then how to use WordPress to create pages. And of course it was a disaster for a long time with deleted stuff. I’ve lost connection. And then I had fiftysister.com up and running, and I was like, “Huh! I did that.”

And, you know, my son’s friend said, “Would you want me to tweak it for you?” I said, “No, no. I know it’s not amazing, but it’s my amazing, so let’s leave it.” So I was so proud of myself for doing that. And then I need to learn how to edit videos. Okay. Well, YouTube. I went and learned how to edit videos, how to shoot good photos, how to use your iPhone to take good pictures.

And then, one day, I was looking for a t-shirt. I was like, “Oh, just there’s no funky t-shirts for older women. They’re all awful. I don’t like them.” And I’m like, I don’t like kids one because then- I said kids, 20-year-olds, I don’t want the youngsters’ ones, because they’re cropped t-shirts and I don’t like them. So, I was like, “I’m gonna make my own brand. I’m gonna make my own brand.”

So, I started designing. Didn’t even know how to do that. But I started designing my own t-shirts, and then I used a company to fulfill it. So basically, everything’s backend to another company. So I just have a shop front and then it’s printed to order, print on demand through a company that’s organic t-shirts. It’s ethically sourced. It’s vegetable-dyed. Something I couldn’t set up on my own without a huge outlay. So I thought, I’ve gotta think smart here. I can make a profit without ever touching that t-shirt.

[00:33:07] Tina: Isn’t it just amazing what we can do because of the internet, right? It is a global market now. And, you know, people will say, “Well, do you work with people where you live?” And it’s like, not often actually. My clients are all over the world, right? Australian, New Zealand, UK. We’re talking right now between Tucson, Arizona and Portugal, right?

You can have an online business wherever you are. And the other aspect that I love about copywriting in particular is it’s the messaging for everything, right? And so when you learn that skill, and I’m sure you know, you just have a natural ability for your communication style. And that’s really, it’s really just understanding how to put that together into your messaging for whatever it is that you have, whether it’s t-shirts or digital art or affiliate marketing, which some people may not know what that means. And that means that you’re signing up to promote someone else’s products and basically on commission. Like, you can have your own website, you could have your emails about it, whatever it might be. Or a bonus, like when you purchase this, you get one of my t-shirts, you know, that kind of thing. Basically, you get paid something every time someone purchases.

So when you have a large audience on Instagram, for example, that’s another way you can really monetize that big following. Because when we talk about the size of the following, it’s also what are you doing with them, right? That’s the next step is what am I doing with that following? And that’s how people end up making money with YouTube videos and Instagram and all that is by monetizing the following by having something of value that they would be interested in purchasing from you basically. Have you thought about that?

[00:34:35] Gail: I’ve been quite careful with that to be honest. So I’ve got Instagram and Facebook, and Facebook is starting to grow now. So Instagram for me because there’s somewhere to post photographs to bring people in to read the writing in my post. So I’ve learned that if I want to get attention, I need to write. I need to have a reel, and then people will look at the caption, and they’re actually more interested in the caption than the reel, but it’s the way I call people in, visuals.

And then Facebook is, I’m building a group. Well, it’s actually, it’s my page as in it’s my page box. People are starting to support each other and give each other advice, and it’s kind of a safe space for them to do that.

Now, when we go back to affiliate marketing and promoting products to my followers, I haven’t promoted. I think I’ve only promoted like two products, and that’s because two reasons. Number one, I don’t want it to be like TikTok, where TikTok is basically QVC. People are selling.

[00:35:30] Tina: Oh, right.

[00:35:31] Gail: They’re selling, selling, selling. And it hurts my head when I see people go, they’re telling you something, and then they’ll say, “Oh, well what about one of these?” And I’m not interested in that. I don’t wanna be sold to. So I’ve been really careful not to sell things.

I promote skipping ropes because I love that brand of skipping rope. I love it. It’s the best rope. I used a skincare product, I loved it. I promoted that, but I don’t promote it all the time.

So I’ve actually got a management company that I’ve signed with in the last two months, and they said, “Why haven’t you been taking all of this paid content? Why haven’t you done it?” I said, “Well, I don’t believe in 99% of the products that people bring me.” So they’ll say, “Oh, we’ve got this light that you shine it on your face and it’ll make you look 10 years younger.” I said, “No.”

[00:36:14] Tina: Do you walk around holding it while you’re, wherever you go or what?

[00:36:18] Gail: I’m not interested. That sounds absolute junk. I’m not interested. “Oh, we’ll give you lots of money to promote it.” I said, “No because I don’t like it.”

[00:36:26] Tina: I really hear what you’re saying. And I wanna make that abundantly clear to anyone watching this, because the whole thing with marketing especially, is you need to believe in what you have of value for those you serve, right?

And you are serving people so abundantly with all your messaging on Instagram. I’ve seen your beautiful photos of what you eat each day, you know, but just beautiful. And it’s helping raise awareness about plant-based eating, for example.

I’m sure you’re barrage with people saying, “Sell this stuff. Why don’t you sell this stuff?” But you’re not familiar with it. You don’t know them. You don’t know the product. You don’t know how they’re representing the product outside of the rest of the world, outside of your realm. And you have not used it yourself, it sounds like.

And so, I think that’s the other thing with affiliate, that you need to know that you’re offering value because your audience is a precious part of your life. You know, they’re there cause they trust you. They believe in you. They care about what you’re doing. You’re helping them. And that is to be treated with respect.

And so when we talk about, you know, you say you don’t wanna be sold to. And I think that’s what happens in people’s heads. It’s like, you know, you’re just coming at me because you want something from me. You know, you feel that energy from someone. And it’s a whole different situation when you have something of value that helps a person in their life and they are then interested in being part of that with you. That’s a whole different deal than just selling for the sake of selling, right?

[00:37:46] Gail: Absolutely. I mean, my background is in sales. I work for huge software companies. I did multimillion pound deals. I flew all over the world, putting together business solutions for these companies. And I love selling if I believe in something and there’s value for the customer, but there’s also value to me that I get the monetary reward for putting in the effort.

However, I’ve been so cautious about my brand. I was talking to my management company. They said, “Why haven’t you been pushing anything? You could have made so much money. You haven’t really made any money.”

And I said, “But that’s not been the point of this journey.” It’s been to find a tribe of people that I can help. I’m not necessarily the head of the tribe. I’m not the chief, but we’re all together. And then when I do find the right thing or I develop the right thing, or it becomes obvious what I need to share with everybody, then that’s when I’ll do it.

And they were like, and I don’t know if they were halfway between, she’s an idiot and she’s a genius. I don’t know. You know, I could have made a lot of money. And of course we all need money. But I said, “No, no, no. I will know when the time is right and the product is right.” And I said, “If I can’t find the products that people are asking me for, I’ll make them, I’ll design them. I’ll produce them.”

[00:38:58] Tina: Yeah. I believe you’re gonna continue to do amazing things, and it will come from your heart, your spirit, that inner guidance that you have and your relationship with those you serve. That’s the ideal right there.

I don’t know though. I’m thinking about some kind of an event in Portugal.

[00:39:14] Gail: You should come obviously.

[00:39:20] Tina: Like can we have some fresh squeeze orange juice while we’re there? You know.

[00:39:23] Gail: The thing is in Portugal, people say to me, “What do you miss about England?” And obviously I lived there a very long time. You know, I miss the hiking. I miss hiking in the forest, and hiking on the beach. I miss pub lunches. So a pub lunch in England is, there’s a log fire crackling. You’re having a hot meal, you’ve been through a walk, you’re covered in mud, you’ve got a muddy dog. You walk into a country pub, nobody cares that there’s mud over the floor.

That’s what I miss it’s that kind of I don’t know just muddy, casual crackling fire kind of thing. Little things that I miss, but, you know, blue skies here 300 days a year.

[00:40:02] Tina: Yeah.

[00:40:03] Gail: And people, the Portuguese people are just the most accommodating, friendly, kind people I’ve ever met.

[00:40:11] Tina: Well, if I were to go to another country and to explore living there, I think Portugal will be at the top of my list. It just sounds beautiful, you know, the sunshine and all that. Some of the best of what we experienced living in central Mexico is the people, you know, really the heart of the people there was just beautiful. And I love Mexican art and crafts and food and all those things.

Well, I anticipate more amazing things coming from Fifty Sister. I think I said it right. But can you tell everybody how they can find you so they can become one of your people on your social media and just be watching what you’re doing and be part of your world? How can they find you?

[00:40:51] Gail: Well, my main channel for photos and writing is Instagram, so people can find me there. If people are more interested in intermitent fasting and food and being more part of a community and building this group, then it’ll be Facebook.

I’ve kind of neglected YouTube over the last year or so. But I may put more effort into that. But it’s, first of all, Instagram. Secondly, Facebook. And if you get lost, just go to fiftysister.com and you’ll find everything.

[00:41:17] Tina: That’s what I was gonna say. If they just put in Fifty Sister, they’ll find you?

[00:41:21] Gail: Yeah.

[00:41:21] Tina: Yeah. Awesome, awesome. Well thank you so much for being here today. It’s really been a fun conversation. Makes me wanna go to Portugal and come visit you.

[00:41:30] Gail: Honestly, you won’t be disappointed. I got lots of emails from people saying, “I never really thought Portugal for holiday, but I’m coming now because of you.” And this is like every week. I think I might have, you know, encouraged a lot of people here.

[00:41:46] Tina: There’s a tour business in your future. Well, thanks so much, Gail. It’s just been delightful having this conversation. I look forward to talking with you again soon.

[00:41:55] Gail: Yes, lovely to meet you. I hope to see you again too.

Copyright 2023 Tina Lorenz

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