Preserve life stories for future generations as a small business.
Encore Entrepreneur Inspiration: Ann Smith business of writing life stories
Ann Smith, age 70, and based in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, started Life Stories Remembered to “capture for posterity the legacy of a lifetime,” to “create a legacy for future generations,” and to “preserve the recollections of elders in most personal and unique way.” Ann conducts and records a series of personal interviews and preserves them on CD or DVD along with a professionally edited bound narrative.
What Works Now:
Ann’s business received attention in her local community. An article about her business came up under “Encore Entrepreneur” in Google alerts in the Better Smarter Richer inbox. There was an article on her in the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. The article was about how Ann’s business fits into the broader trend of Encore Entrepreneurship. Ann interviewed for BSR postcast and one more article in the Times Leader. The take away here is to get yourself out there as often as possible, and talk to local news sources, which leads to success.
Re-Invention, Re-Creation, and Re-Imagination:
With a solid background in a passion for education and social work, Ann was able to create a series of rich and rewarding careers for herself. Ann created, taught, and directed a special education program at a renowned private school in Maryland; practiced social work at a hospital in Fairfax, Virginia; moved to Wilkes-Barre, PA, and she was Director of Professional Services at Jewish Family Service for 14 years. In 1995 she began her first solo venture and she established a private psychotherapy practice.
Ann’s personal life changed as well. Her first marriage of 13 years ended; she married a Wilkes-Barre man, a “major move, both personally and professionally. I left all social and professional support and left big city life.”
She was not religiously affiliated growing up. She moved to Wilkes-Barre, immersing herself in the Jewish community. Through her involvement with the local synagogue, she became friends with Max Rosenn, Judge of the 3rd Circuit Federal Court. He was the most respected legal authority in Northeast Pennsylvania, and actively practiced law until he died at age 95. A wonderful inspiration for encores!
Judge Rosenn had never been interviewed about his personal life. If he was, he was asked to speak into a recorder, which did not appeal to him. Ann suggested she interview him in person, he was very interested – the power of personal connection! Ann thought the interview would last two hours but it lasted over 25 weeks. “He truly enjoyed the experience and years later, after his death his sons were thrilled to have that first hand material.”
That was the beginning of Life Stories Remembered. Friends and family encourage Ann to preserve these memories as a business, and she attended small business development courses. Online research revealed there were no comparable businesses in her geographical area. Ann knew she had a marketable product.
She was able to create a business that allowed her to work from home and be flexible. The only time she leaves home is for an interview. It’s a perfect fit. Ann launched her business in 2008 and has been wonderful so far. Most of her clients are found word-of-mouth. She has been featured in the press several times over the years. She loves her work and finds that it makes excellent use of the skills, interests, and time requirements.