Anna Young is a co-founder of Clubking Inc, a virtual site for bridge instruction. After hearing the vision of veteran bridge instructor, Peter Steinberg, Anna ‘unretired’ to help launch a company to take Peter’s unique interactive bridge classes to a national audience. Using skills honed from an entirely different career path, Anna demonstrated that age has no boundaries. She says, “Stepping forward to risk something unfamiliar can be exciting and a chance for real self-growth, not to mention a lot of fun”.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND, AND WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?
I returned to work after 30+ years of retirement. I did have a rather unconventional path to retirement. After working for 15 years as a Registered Nurse, I married, started a family, and chose to leave my career in Nursing Administration for my new role as a full-time mother. While this was technically called retirement, I always thought of it more as a career change. In addition to parenting, those years were rich in providing time for volunteer activities giving me new skills and experiences.
When I say I returned to work after 30 years, I am not referring to a part time job to fill in a little free time or help with the finances. I was approached by a talented bridge teacher, Peter Steinberg, who wanted to create a company to market his online bridge classes to the world. Even though I was convinced by Peter’s humor, ability to teach bridge, passion for bringing the game to new players and his much-needed skill in helping existing players improve their play, many questions were unanswered as I said “yes” to this partnership.
So, how does a long-retired Nursing Administrator launch a Bridge Club startup? While it may seem that a professional career in a hospital provides little in terms of the skills needed to launch a virtual teaching website, in fact just the opposite occurred. I found I had to evaluate my skill set differently. Removing all the specific nursing related elements of my former career, left me with the following awareness of myself. I am
- a total believer of my product (Peter Steinberg is the best bridge teacher ever)
- highly skilled at balancing as many balls in the air as needed
- have a calm and clear manner
- can prioritize tasks
- have great hiring skills and the knowledge of when and who to rope in
- am computer savvy
- know what I don’t know
- know how to google anything
Q: WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO GET STARTED WITH CLUBKING?
The primary motivator for me is my excitement and absolute confidence in my product. Peter Steinberg is not only the best bridge teacher ever but also has boundless energy (and yes, he is older than I am). Peter knew that he could sell his program if we could just get people to try one of his classes. My challenge was to create an interactive website to showcase his program and then to get people to try a free class. He would do the rest.
Q: HOW HAVE YOU ATTRACTED CLIENTS AND GROWN YOUR FIRM?
Our starting point was creating a great interactive website.
For that, I reached out to my network of professional contacts starting with a friend in marketing, Barb Chappell. Barb guided us to Sneha Lundia Agrawal at Step2Growth. Sneha listened to our vision and then focused us. Together we created a realistic timeframe enabling us to launch right on target. We are still in the early months requiring constant review and tweaking as we strive to market to larger and larger audiences.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR CLUBKING FOR THE FUTURE?
We are at that critical moment where we need to expand our team. We need everything and all at once. Prioritizing how to expand remains a challenge. Our starting point is to add more teachers and greatly increase our marketing efforts. The addition of Ellen Diamond as an Advisory Board Member provided additional guidance.
Q: WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES YOU'VE FACED SO FAR?
The biggest challenge was during the prelaunch months when we were creating and revising our vision. Offering a variety of online bridge classes required the creation of new classes from Beginning through Advanced Bridge levels. Understanding what infrastructure was needed to move an in-person classroom lesson onto a virtual platform was quite a learning curve.
Q: WHAT'S YOUR ADVICE FOR RETIRED FEMALE FOUNDERS WHO ARE JUST (RE)STARTING OUT?
My experience demonstrates that opportunities often come at unsuspected times in our lives and in unimagined ways. I would never have envisioned a nurse and a bridge teacher would have been such a perfect fit to launch a new business. But it shows that we must be careful in how we think of ourselves so that we don’t confine ourselves into small spaces. Remaining open to new opportunities, whenever and however they may present, provided me with a most fulfilling experience. Adapting to new challenges, stepping forward to risk trying something unfamiliar can be exciting, a chance for real self-growth and rewarding. It is clear to me that age has no boundaries.
To learn more about Clubking, sign up here for a free first session.