Corporate Big Shot to Bed & Breakfast

I have a hunch that Ellen Goldberg was lucky to embark upon her second career more than ten years ago before hitting 50. The job of Innkeeper running a bed and breakfast apparently has a poor record for longevity. Most people only last about 7 years. Had she waited ten years, I wonder if she’d have made the same leap.

It’s hard work. All small businesses are hard, but I’d bet running a B&B is right up there with running a restaurant. You have to do everything, including deal with the unique and sometimes annoying demands and behavior of your guests – if and when you manage to find some.

Plus it’s a business that anchors you to a place. You can’t run it on a laptop from an airport lounge. You’ll find Ellen at the Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast Inn in Middlebury, Virginia.

But Ellen’s  reinvention story is fascinating and bold. She had solid corporate business experience combined with a childhood surrounded by her family’s business. In her own words, she brought a lifetime of experience to a situation in which she could learn something new – a real passion project.

It’s no accident that a high percentage of CEOwners come from parents who had their own businesses. If you grow up in a small business, watching your parents deal with all the details and challenges, you are less intimidated by the prospect of being your own boss. You might even assume at a very early age that it is your destiny.

Check out Ellen Goldberg’s destiny here: The inn of second-act happiness |

And here…

Innkeeper isn’t on my bucket list, but I can understand why Ellen is hooked. She has followed her passion. Successfully, it would appear. And she no longer has to go to anybody else’s meetings.

It’s a great way to live, and I don’t mean to discourage you from starting something hard when you’re in your 60s. If not then, when?

Find something that excites you, so that the work is an adventure. In your 60s, you only have time for a labor of love.



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