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.”