Retirement Turns A Hobby Into A New Business For 85 Year Old – Forbes


Retirement Turns A Hobby Into A New Business For 85 Year Old – Forbes

85 Year old retire launches new business. Yvette Doolittle Retiree Sylva Coppock had some strong interests and hobbies

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85 Year old retire launches new business.

Yvette Doolittle

Retiree Sylva Coppock had some strong interests and hobbies before she left the workplace in her early 70s. She had worked as a desktop publisher, graphic designer, and executive assistant. When she retired, the plan was to just pursue hobbies. “I loved doing ancestry research,” said Coppock. “I spent a great deal of my free time pursuing this hobby over the years. So, I worked on my ancestry research, I volunteered, but as the months went by, I discovered that I simply hated being idle.” As a result, retirement didn’t’ stick she said. “I liked working on projects, being busy and productive too much so I became ‘unretired’.” 

Coppock enjoyed her two main hobbies of writing and ancestry research when they all came together in a rather unique way. 

“I sure didn’t set out to be the Grandma Moses of the literary world, but at 85 years old, I decided if my ancestor, Albert Porter Brown’s story was ever going to reach the printed page, I’d better write it.” Coppock is also a Certified Genealogist, with credentials from the University of Washington’s Extension Program in Family History and Genealogical Research something she pursued in her free time. She gathered information for years and made many false starts on the writing. It wasn’t until confined at home by Covid that she really started pulling all the research together and seriously developing the book’s story. 

Writing is a hard, lonely job. Writing a book takes endless hours and key determination to finish that project. Not many people want to do that at 85. Coppock added, “I seem to enjoy the research much more than the actual writing. I am certainly not a Civil War expert but have always enjoyed learning about that period of history. When I got deeply into genealogical research and learned about my great-great grandfather’s service in the 81st Indiana Volunteer Infantry, a terrible war, I got excited about finding out more about him. I was able to get copies of his military and pension records from the National Archives, a federal government site of military records and photos.  I found many resources and books that gave me the framework for my novel. Things took off from there and my book, a tribute to my ancestor called “One Man’s War” was born and just released a few weeks ago.

This book is populated by real people who lived, loved, and too often died in that war. Albert, his family, and his comrades-in-arms, were real people who lived in the 1860s. The settings I wrote about in One Man’s War are true to the facts. Only the day-to-day conversations between the characters are fictional. Hopefully, they ring true to the times,” she added. 

A fact that many authors learn too late in the writing process, is that being responsible for promoting book sales often falls on the author’s shoulders too. Today’s author must also be a book marketer along with being a writer. This led Coppock to launch her next career venture creating her marketing business for published books. She explained what that entailed. “To challenge me a bit more, I learned to develop a website to promote books by other authors as well as my own and so I launched, The Unique Book Shop.  It isn’t a threat to Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but it offers a catalog of books by authors whom I know and respect. It was launched in February of 2021.”  

Coppock explained why she, like many other authors chose to self-publish. “I tried for about six months to find an agent who would take me on, but was unsuccessful, and since I knew how to put a book together graphically, and have produced several books for others, I just designed, formatted, and readied it for a printer. If I had waited for a traditional publisher, it would not be released yet, so I self-published it. 

The website was born out of my involvement in the Renton Writers Workshop, where several of my friends have brought their work for critique sessions. Some have traditionally published books but haven’t had good marketing help. So, I just decided to form a book marketing business. I learned how to build a website, and The Unique Book Shop was the result. Launching it was one of the most challenging things I have taken on, and it took me over six weeks to develop the website. But the effort paid off, as it is now live out there in cyberspace. I never thought I would be an entrepreneur at 85!” 

When asked about why she takes on these hard challenges at this stage of life, she said “When asked where the courage to learn to do these new things come from, I admit it’s the personal challenge that drives me. I typically don’t know whether I can do it, or not, but I won’t know unless I try. Guess I haven’t had enough failures to dampen my enthusiasm yet. This favorite quote has been a motivation and inspiration for me, and I hope others will take it to heart as I do. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said: “Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.” No matter what your age is, you can still do anything you set your mind to.