real life

George McEncroe is proof that life after 40 is really just the beginning.

Twinings
Thanks to our brand partner, Twinings

There’s a certain dread that comes over many women when they approach significant birthdays, like the end of something is approaching.

It certainly isn’t. Just ask George McEncroe.

On the latest episode of The Well, hosts Bec Sparrow and Robin Bailey spoke to three women including McEncroe about how life isn’t ending at 40 – it’s actually just beginning.

Rewind a few years ago and McEncroe was in her 40s and not where she thought she’d be. A single mum of four, she was in the middle of a divorce when she found herself being rejected by the bank for a home loan.

“So I had this chunk of dough but because I’d spent my most productive earning years looking after my kids like a lot of women I didn’t have enough money for the bank to say, ‘You qualify for a loan’,” she said.

She ended up working four jobs and doing anything extra she could, from writing for television to teaching, to make ends meet. Eventually, she decided to sign up for Uber but a bunch of health issues including a brain tumour kept pushing it back.

Listen to George McEncroe on The Well below…

After hearing her teenage daughter talking abut some pretty horrible stories, she decided to take matters into her own hands.

“I was driving back from my divorce lawyer in tears when I had a lightening moment and I thought ‘I am going to build the app that I would drive for’,” she said.

Shebah, a rideshare app for women that offers female and family-friendly services such as school pick ups or runs to the airport when a baby capsule is needed, was born.

Originally called Mum’s Taxi, McEncroe worked frantically to build the app.

“But all my friends were giving me so much crap about the name, calling it frumpy and daggy and ridiculous. So I listened to them because they are wise counsel,” she said.

“So then I got a business partner and found a really good app developer.”

While her friends were supportive, some pointed out she’d never run a business before.

“As a stand-up comic, having to learn to market and promote and not be afraid to cold call and market yourself, you’ve actually done a lot of business-y stuff,” she said.

“I like learning new things, listen to podcasts on start ups and that’s why I went with the Go Fund Me page which is recommended because you can get comments and not just cash.”

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Launched in March 2017, Shebah became the most downloaded app in the app store within 24 hours and is currently available in Melbourne, Geelong, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, with Perth, Darwin and Adelaide active soon.


And so what does she say to people who claim 40 is ‘too old to start again’?

“Go and punch yourself in the face,” she said.

“You’re being ridiculous, you’re foolish. You’ve just been wasting your time, you haven’t started. You haven’t even started until you reach 40. Seriously, you don’t know anything.”

But no-one said it was going to be easy, as McEncroe has learned.

“You can crawl under the rock but no-one is coming. I tried that, lying on the kitchen floor, but no-one came, no-one was rushing in. Or at least they haven’t for me!” she told the podcast.

“You can’t lie down and die because your kids need you so you dust yourself off and say, ‘What can I do? I often think of that great Caitlin Moran speech: ‘Live through the next five minutes, then the five after that, then the five after that, and before you know it you’ve strung a day together like a string of pearls’.

“Do something you can do and you will survive just about anything. You do have to back yourself in.”

She can clearly remember the moment she decided to take the leap, after presenting a Women In Business award and seeing all these women doing things.

“I thought they’re all doing it, why am I being so timid? Everything I look at was built by someone. Why not me?,” she said.

“That’s how I felt about the bad thing had happened in my life when my sister took her life. I thought why me. But why not me? Why shouldn’t the good and bad happen to us. Why shouldn’t it be my turn to get out there and give back?”

She has some solid advice for anyone else questioning whether ‘it’s too late’ or afraid to make a change.

“If you can see it, do it, give it a crack. Don’t die with the music in you, you’re dead forever.”

Thanks to our brand partner Twinings and their new Twinings Feel Good Infusions Range.

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