At the risk of sounding privileged, some of the perks of retirement are having a steady fixed income, paid off house and cars, and lower expenses. I know this isn’t true for everyone. We were both fortunate to be in Ohio’s Public Retirement System with offers much better health care and retirement benefits than Social Security.

One of the ways to balance that “privilege” is to give-back by volunteering or mentoring. I recently met a young man who was selling amazing body lotions, sugar scrubs, and other body products. Ace is a proud gay black man with an entrepreneurial spirit. I struck up a conversation with him when he was selling his wares at an event. The event was the dedication of a Historical Marker for Jacks/Summit Station – the longest running lesbian bar in Ohio. It was my hang-out in the 1980s – but I digress!

I purchased and tried Covet Concoctions Luxe Body Butters and was amazed at the quality. I fired off a thank-you email to Ace and offered him a couple of tips about his marketing that he could take or leave. He willingly took the advice and reached out for more. Our mentoring relationship fully took off when he asked what he should call me. I gave him three suggestions: Mentor, Business Mentor, or Crazy Old Lady with Purple Hair. Thankfully he chose Mentor. His goal is to turn Covet Concoctions into his main hustle instead of having to supplement his income by working another job.

Ace needed some help with his ETSY page and web site. Those were both easy fixes for me and I enjoy doing it. Next up is marketing and start-up funding. These are much tougher, but I enjoy the challenge. On-line sales have had a tiny uptick. Ace put together some samples so that I can get the product into people’s hands and turn them into customers. At age 65, I have a heck of a lot more contacts than Ace has, at age 19! There are also lots of opportunities to “vend” in the Fall in Ohio. We have festivals galore, celebrating everything from pumpkins to bratwurst.

My point is that retired people have a ton of skills to offer. We shouldn’t let go of the things about working that we enjoyed. We can use them to help others without worrying about the constraints of a business or agency. Seniors have perspective that comes from years of living, learning, working, traveling, and more. That knowledge shouldn’t be set aside when we hit 65. Share your skills! On the flip side, there were many things about working I didn’t enjoy – like managing people, budgeting, or working with a Board. I’ll never do any of those things again!

If you want to show Ace some love – consider making a purchase from his ETSY store or website. or