Each month, we give the 50PlusToday SECOND ACT Award to an individual who made an intentional decision to change gears in this phase of life. It’s our goal to recognize and support people who reinvented themselves at age 50Plus. We therefore choose recipients who are creative, innovative and inspiring to others. Their pivot might involve a new career, business, community effort or lifestyle. A successful, happy and meaningful life means different things to different people. Reading what others did might start you thinking about your next journey! The bottom line is that your second half of your life can be as good as, if not better than, the first! We hope to inspire our readers with success stories from others. (Is there someone you know that created a wonderful second act that you would like to nominate? Complete this form to submit their name for consideration!)
The recipient for May 2023 is Terry Dry
Terry Dry is an innovative entrepreneur that looks for opportunities to grow businesses that make a positive impact in people’s lives. His desire to tackle real-world problems and challenges led him, at age 50+, to found Smarter, a tech concierge business. Smarter uses a personalized and accessible approach to teach older adults how to use technology to live happier, safer and more connected lives.
50PlusToday: What are your unique personal skills that contribute to your success?
TD: For me, the key to success is to remain open-minded and constantly push myself outside my comfort zone. I believe that the right answer is always available, and it’s my job to find it. That might mean tapping into my network of trusted colleagues and friends, exploring new tools or opportunities, or thinking creatively and outside the box.
My entrepreneurial mindset drives me to take calculated risks and pursue new opportunities, while my innovative spirit pushes me to find unique solutions to problems. And, I am constantly seeking out new ways to improve myself and my skills. I view life as an ongoing journey of growth and development. I am addicted to learning and believe that every experience, whether good or bad, provides valuable insights and wisdom. By continually striving to better myself and my skills, I am better equipped to face new challenges and achieve success in all areas of my life.
My entrepreneurial and innovative spirit certainly contributed to my success. However, I believe fostering strong relationships and helping others is equally important. That’s why I strive to be caring, respectful, and helpful in all of my interactions, recognizing that success often requires collaboration and support from others.
50PlusToday: What did you do before starting your entrepreneurial journey?
TD: I worked in the music industry for several years, gaining valuable experience and skills. While I enjoyed my time in that industry and learned a lot, it was during this period that I discovered my passion for entrepreneurship.
50PlusToday: Tell us about what you are doing now.
TD: I am currently super energized and focused on my newest venture, Smarter, which is a membership service that provides personalized tech assistance to older adults and their families. We want seniors to feel more comfortable and independent on their devices and to have a trusted and easily accessible resource to answer their questions. Our ultimate goal is to demystify technology and help seniors live happier, safer, and overall better lives.
50PlusToday: What passion led you to start this new endeavor?
TD: A deep passion that is also personal to me played a major role in my decision to start Smarter. I am a member of the so-called “sandwich generation,” taking care of both children and parents. And I was the go-to person for any tech-related questions or problems for my parents and in-laws. It became clear to me that if my parents and others in their generation were more digitally savvy, they could live healthier and more connected lives. Witnessing the potential benefits technology can offer to older adults, I could not sit idly by and watch them struggle with it. This passion to make technology more accessible and bridge the digital divide grew even stronger as I talked to more people who shared the same concerns. As a result, I set out to solve this problem with Smarter by providing personalized tech assistance.
50PlusToday: How does your age and experience help in your success?
TD: You know the saying, “If I only knew then what I know now”? Well, it’s so true! It’s amazing how much more effective I can be now as a founder and CEO of a startup. With age and experience comes a wealth of knowledge gained from my previous experiences. And as you get older, you just naturally accumulate a bigger network of people you can call on for help or advice. You also find that your peers also climbed the ranks in their respective fields, creating an ecosystem of mutually beneficial connections. So now, I feel I’m better equipped to be strategic and efficient in my current role.
50PlusToday: What unique skills did you have from your previous job/business/lifestyle that help you in this new position?
TD: I think the most crucial skills I bring to the table are the ability to articulate a compelling vision, attract the right team, and provide that team with the necessary resources they need to be successful. I refined these skills throughout my career and entrepreneurial journey. Of course, I also made my fair share of mistakes, which I see as learning opportunities that contributed to my skillset. Above all, I believe being a good human being is the most important skill one can have in both business and life. It’s surprising how far kindness can take you.
50PlusToday: What advice would you give someone in this age group searching for their meaningful second act?
TD: It’s never too late to pursue your passions. In my case, though I was a CEO of a successful marketing agency, I knew deep down I had a fire inside me to build businesses that would positively impact people. So, I made the tough decision to resign. Most importantly, I wanted to be happy and more fulfilled. My advice to anyone in their second act is to ask yourself the tough questions. Are you happy? Are you fulfilled? Do you have a passion you want to pursue? Are you afraid of the unknown? Be honest with yourself and embrace who you are, not who you think you should be. And don’t be afraid to start small – many successful ventures begin as “side hustles”. In fact, most of my ventures did. Personally, I found that being an entrepreneur in my 50s is even better than when I was in my 30s. I have more experience, wisdom, and humility at this age. So go ahead and follow your dreams, because it’s never too late to find your meaningful second act.
50PlusToday: Finally, please give us three random facts about yourself.
- I’m a huge Beatles fan and pride myself that I’ve personally had the pleasure to meet three of the four Beatles (Paul, George, and Ringo).
- I finally won my fantasy hockey league after 20+ years of trying. The bragging rights with my friends and family was worth all the years of painful failure :).
- My greatest joy in life these days is playing bocce ball with my family. It’s not lost on me how precious these times are together. Plus, the good-natured trash talking between me, my wife and our daughters is hysterical.
50PlusToday: Your favorite quote:
TD: “People of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and made things happen.” – Leonardo da Vinci
About Terry Dry
Terry Dry is a seasoned marketer, entrepreneur, strategic advisor, CEO, and coach with over 25 years of experience founding, growing, and reinventing companies. His most recent venture is Smarter, a membership-based technology support service designed specifically for older adults. With Smarter, Terry hopes to bridge the digital divide and improve the quality of life for older adults and their families. Terry is also the founder of Future Proof Advisors, a company that advises mid-market businesses on overcoming growth barriers and achieving better outcomes. As a pragmatic visionary, Terry blends innovative thinking with practical solutions, which has resulted in the successful exits of his previous companies, including RSVD and Fanscape. He began his career in the music industry and has since dedicated his time to fostering tomorrow’s leaders as an Entrepreneur-In-Residence and member of the Board of Advisors at Loyola Marymount University, and a mentor to MBA students at USC’s Marshall School of Business. Terry is based in Los Angeles and devotes a great deal of time and energy to charitable work with several homeless and environmental organizations. LEARN MORE ABOUT Terry Dry and SMARTER HERE.
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