Over-40 female entrepreneur? Here are five personal branding tips to remain visible


By making the decision to stay visible we remain open to opportunities.
Two women having a conversation at work, woman in her 50s wearing glasses smiling and facing female manager
Image source: Getty Images

I watched on helplessly as she cried.

I was in a Zoom meeting with a client who just admitted she was adjusting to no longer being the tall, striking, and beautiful young executive that commanded attention. She was over 50 and feeling invisible. She is not alone.

Many studies suggest women feel invisible over 50 and as early as 45. There is even a name for it – Invisible Women Syndrome. As a female entrepreneur who just turned 40, the concept that I won’t be seen by 50 is terrifying.

On the flipside, global publications like Forbes created the 50 over 50 list to celebrate women who are achieving later in life. In a bid to remove the professional ‘tick tock’, it explores what’s possible for older women and aims to act as a reminder that there is no rush. Phew!

With a bounty of conflicting messaging and research, the best thing we can do is make the decision to remain visible and proudly so. Though ageism may exist, it is imperative that women over 40 take control of the narrative and remain in the proverbial spotlight.

After working with a variety of leading and powerful female entrepreneurs and executives from around the world, here are my top five tips.

Act your spirit not your age

Tao Porchon-Lynch, who at the age of 97 was one of the world’s oldest yoga teachers said, “I don’t believe in age, I believe in energy.” Research conducted at Harvard supports the theory that we can slow down, and even, reverse the aging process with the right mindset. From a personal branding perspective, acting our spirit rather than our age allows us to challenge convention and maintain a youthful vibrant energy.

Forge a standout style

A client of mine is 64 with light pink hair and stylish designer glasses. Though you might immediately assume she is in the creative or fashion industry, my client is the CEO of a management company. Far from showing up in a stereotypical way, my client has put intention and effort into remaining visible by forging a standout style.

Invest in a highly curated profile image

From a personal branding perspective, there are two crucial communication assets that are worth investing in. They are your professional bio and profile image. Research has shown that your profile image can have a dramatic impact on your perceived levels of credibility, likability, and influence. In other words, attracting the right people and opportunities may come down to the image you project. When choosing a photographer, aim to find someone you are comfortable with and that truly understands the image and impression you want your profile image to portray.

Make your digital footprint count

In an interview with Tim Ferris, Mark Zuckerberg said, “I think that there’s a physical world and a digital world. And the real world is both.” The gravity of these words is especially important for those over the age of 40 who did not grow up with social media. Getting comfortable connecting and communicating online is an increasingly important way to remain visible and more importantly, relevant. Make your digital footprint count by ensuring what comes up when you google your name is recent and resonates with where you want to go.

Create a multi-age network

When you only spend time with those who are the same age and have had similar life experiences, you may end up in a feedback loop and echo chamber that is frankly outdated and limiting. This especially applies to personal branding, as we can get caught up in societal norms and self-imposed limitations on who and what we can be given our age. Spending time with those younger (and even older) can help us evolve our thinking, discover new sides to ourselves and freshen our perspective.

By making the decision to stay visible we remain open to opportunities and remind little girls and young women that their value will never be determined by a number, and neither will ours. 

Carlii Lyon is a personal branding coach and speaker. Find out more about Carlii at www.carliilyon.com.au