In the five months since the end of the GetSetUp Startup Accelerator program, Leslie has made steady progress with her business, Grace Place Creative, although not how she thought she would. Her original idea was to train people how to use Canva starting with her local senior center.
"Unfortunately, there wasn't anyone interested in learning how to use Canva, even though we tried to explain its use to them and teach it as a craft class."
Realizing she needed to move in a different direction, she started creating resources on Canva for senior centers. Her target shifted to the centers' activity directors.
"Instead of just meandering along and making do. I pivot and pursue."
This change of plan led her to start conversations with activity directors and create opportunities for conversations with the home residents. She started using Canva to make table tents with dinner conversation prompts and questions to foster reminiscing.
"Most directors are stretched very thin. So I asked questions about what kind of resources they needed and wanted and what I should focus on."
She also realized her heart was for facilitating intergenerational relationships. And that has opened up a whole new market beyond the assisted living homes to families around the table.
"My products are designed around intergenerational relationships, so I can pitch them to multiple audiences. I love kids, and I love older adults, and I think there's so much that can be gained from both generations learning from one another. You do it by creating those conversations."
She also has a few things in the works for the holidays, including printable party packs with games and worksheets.
"I'm refining my process, so I can have a product that I'm proud of, where I haven't cut corners, that has the design elements I want."
Plans for the future
While she's been pretty frugal with her prize money, she did update her computer, initially with the intention of running the Zoom classes. But now it's given her more power to design in Canva. And she's also learning to use a PowerPoint alternative to do even more design. And she's done market research on competitors' products to see how they do things.
Leslie would like to expand her business and eventually hire staff, including family and other older adults looking for an additional source of income.
"My goal for 2023 is to get other designers involved."
She also wants to set up an Etsy shop. She's taken classes, done her keyword research, and is ready to start slowly and steadily adding products.
She still has her website and will be working on adding products there in the future. She knows how to code with Gutenberg blocks editor on WordPress, which she taught herself during the Startup program, so she can continue building out her website and adding new products on her own.
She encourages other active agers with business ideas to pursue their dreams and get into a community of people like the Startup community who are trying to do the same thing as they are.
"Have people walking alongside you, before you, and behind you. You need all those people because you need the people before you to inspire, teach, and train you. You need the people walking alongside you to be in the trenches with you. And you need the people walking behind you so that you can encourage them because you're not here to be just your own shining star; you're here to inspire others.
I will be eternally grateful to GetSetUp and all of the people I've met who help me be who I am."
To learn more about Leslie and her business journey, listen to her guest appearance on the What's Next podcast. Read more about the Startup Accelerator program and explore GetSetUp business classes. Maybe you'll be inspired to apply for the next Startup Accelerator program coming in 2023!