Anne Marie Cummings Author of the book Baby Boomer Bonding – Luxurious and Meaningful Lifestyle without Breaking the Bank has reinvented herself 7 times in 30 years each time creating greater purpose and financial rewards for herself and her family. Long before her name became synonymous with reinventing yourself in retirement (Retreats and Workshops she leads) Anne Marie was working 15-hour days in the technology industry squeezing in time before going to the office and on the weekends to work on her hobby of renovating and flipping homes. In addition to being an Author, Speaker and Real Estate Developer, Anne Marie has started building a community where like-minded people 55+ join together to share a home, known as the Marigold Mansion, and support and help one another live in place for as long as possible.
Can you tell our readers about your background?
I was born and raised in Ottawa, Canada and received my B.A. in Psychology from Carleton University where I studied part-time at night while working as a full-time Executive Assistant at the Board of Education and Crown Attorney’s office. Believing I could do more with my life I applied and was accepted to a prestigious law school; a dream I had from a very early age. In the summer between receiving my BA and attending law school I took, what I thought would be, a summer job at a large software company. The high energy of the technology sales environment captivated me and before long I abandoned my dream of becoming a lawyer and started my career as a sales executive in the technology industry.
After 13 years in technology I decided to leave the hectic pace to spend more time with my son; who was 6 at the time. During this hiatus from technology I opened a Decorating Den Franchise and started my reinvention as an interior designer which remains a passion of mine to this day. After a few years of doing that I was longing to return to the corporate world and went back into the technology rat race and handed the reins of the interior design business to trusted employees.
For the next 16 years I worked for startups and large technology giants and it was an amazing journey yet I was getting bored and wanted to try something new so I started flipping houses part time in the evening and on weekends while I was working full-time in technology. I took my passion for design and my head for business and combined them to create a successful real estate flipping hobby. After a very lucrative year of doing that part time I was able to leave my technology career and concentrate full time on building the Marigold Mansion brand which started by writing the book Baby Boomer Bonding – Luxurious and Meaningful Lifestyle without Breaking the Bank an Amazon bestselling book. I now lead reinvention workshops and speak on career transition, business reinvention, and Rescuing Your Dreams at various retreats and workshops; (see AnneMarieCummingsEvents.com for more details). In addition to being an Author and Speaker, I am building a community where like-minded people 55+ join together to share a home, known as the Marigold Mansion, and support and help one another live in place for as long as possible.
I have walked the walk when it comes to reinventing myself; having done so 7 times in 30 years each time creating greater purpose and financial rewards for myself and my family.
What inspired you to start your business?
When I went to visit my paternal grandmother in her nursing home, I often reflected on the life she had previously lived and wondered how she must be feeling, living in a home where she wasn’t the hostess and the belle of the ball. I couldn’t help but feel that her final years would have been more satisfying for her if she were able to live in her own home versus a nursing home. I wondered if she’d had the full-time companionship of supportive, like minded friends living with her would things have been different? Around the same time, I saw the movie Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and I felt that that concept was exactly what was needed and from there the idea blossomed.
Where is your business based?
Currently the business is based in Canada; however, I am looking at heritage homes in the US and Italy to expand.
How did you start your business? What were the first steps you took?
The first step was to write the book Baby Boomer Bonding. I felt this was essential because I needed to do the research associated with aging and what is important as we age. I then purchased a heritage home outside of Toronto and restored it to its glory days and from their the bootcamps began and the Marigold opened.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness for your business?
The book was a great way to raise awareness as well as news articles, blogs and radio talk shows etc.
What have been your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge to date was to raise awareness of both reinvention workshops as well as finding suitable house mates for the Marigold Mansion. In addition, the restoration costs are generally high with heritage buildings so getting funding has often been a challenge.
How do you stay focused?
I was an executive in the technology sector for 30 years; I use the same strategies running my business as I did when I was working in the corporate world. I start each day with a plan and I execute on the plan with great precision.
How do you differentiate your business from the competition?
I differentiate the bootcamps from my competition because my competition are life coaches but they have not reinvented themselves to the extent that I have over the past 30 years. I have literally had 7 different careers in 30 years and each reinvention was financially successful. I have walked the walk so to speak.
Secondly, with regard to Marigold Mansion, I differentiate myself from other home sharing competitors for two reasons. First, I only use restored heritage mansions; homes with an abundance of character and second most of my competitors are people who are buying into a percentage of a house. I think that model complicates things at a time when we should be trying to simplify your life. With the percentage purchase model when a person wants or needs to leave the living environment it is difficult to sell a portion of a house. With Marigold Mansion you simply lease a space in the house and when you want to or needs to cancel your lease you are able to without complication.
What has been your most effective marketing strategy to grow your business?
The book and speaking engagements have been a good way to grow the business and of course I have been featured in news articles, radio shows and blogs which is also very helpful.
What's your best piece of advice for aspiring and new entrepreneurs?
Never, never, never give up…..that is what the plaque on my desk says and that is my motto. Also, do not listen to people who say it cannot be done. “People Who Say It Cannot Be Done Should Not Interrupt Those Who Are Doing It”
What's your favorite app, blog, and book? Why?
At the moment I am reading a lot of Brene Brown as well as watching her podcasts + Joyce Meyer is also one of my go to books. I spend 1 hour each evening reading or listening to them to get inspired and sometimes when the day is long and tough, I need some encouragement and both of these individuals provide that through their teachings.
What's your favorite business tool or resource? Why?
I google everything; what did we do without it? In addition, I am a spreadsheet junkie; everything I do I use a spreadsheet to keep it organized and on track. I also like to use notes on my iPhone to keep track of things I need to do. Any tool that helps me stay organized I will use.
Who is your business role model? Why?
It is difficult to select just one; I have worked for some very inspirational leaders over the past 30 years from Charles Wang, Dr Goodnight to Larry Ellison. They all had their own style but each one was driven, smart, willing to take risks and believed fully in what they were doing. Larry Ellison once said that when you innovate you have to be prepared for people telling you that you are nuts. I have been told this a time or two in my life but I did the thing anyway.
What is your beauty routine? What are some of your favorite products?
Well, I love to look polished even when I am staying home. I do apply make up every day as well as wash and blow dry my hair. I love La Mer products to keep my skin looking young and I use Lancôme makeup.
How do you balance work and life?
It is much easier to balance work and life now that I am working for myself. I still work 8-10 hours per day but I do it on my terms. I am a very early riser so I can get a lot accomplished before most of the world wakes up.
What’s your favorite way to decompress?
I decompress by playing the piano, watching motivational podcasts, reading motivational books or watching Netflix with a glass of wine. Just depends on the day.
What do you have planned for the next six months?
I am currently in the middle of a very large project to acquire a 12,000 square foot Heritage Mansion that has been left to ruin for many years. It will take 28 months to restore the building and a lot of blood sweat and tears but I am passionate about bringing it back to life.
How can our readers connect with you?
Facebook: Marigold Mansion