Advice for Baby Boomers Who Want to Start Down on the Entrepreneurial Path – Stelios Valavanis

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Stel Valavanis
Stel Valavanis

Stelios Valavanis is founder of onShore Security and investor in several early stage companies.

“Boomers are in a different life stage that can offer them exciting new opportunities like pursuing lifelong dreams of entrepreneurship.

My advice to Boomers figuring out their entrepreneurial path would be that In addition to exploring the industries you know well, and/or are passionate about, look at what areas are growing in the economy, and have good trajectories over the next decade or two.  In my case, I pivoted my business, onShore Security, about 10 years ago, because the growth opportunity was really in focusing on offering customized cyber security services for our clients.  Today onShore Security does that in a way that uniquely positions our clients in sensitive industries like banking and international construction to be truly cyber safe.

Because investors can sometimes see your later start as a potential negative due to sometimes unjustified fears that you may not have the energy to take your dreams all the way like a younger entrepreneur might, you have to be prepared to tell your story about why now, and be ready to show some skin in the game with putting some of your own investment dollars into the business as well.

Know your value, as someone who has leadership skills under your belt, operational hustle, and can leverage years worth of life lessons and experiences.

My wife and I have just recently launched a new business incubator in Evanston, Illinois, just north of the Chicago city limits called The Gallery which can found online at the thegallery.VIP.  What we are quickly discovering there is that as everyone is adjusting to the new pandemic era “normals” of today many boomers are envisioning new possibilities for themselves either as solopreneurs or as leaders of larger entities. It’s actually an incredible time to do so because change means opportunity. As things are shifting, so are the needs of the marketplace and it’s a chance for entrepreneurs to come up with new ways to meet those needs, and capitalize on that.

 In a nutshell, boomers have an incredible opportunity window today as so many things are shifting to become more empowered than ever in terms of starting new ventures that fit many of today’s new needs in the marketplace. Certainly at our company, things are accelerating as businesses are trying to adjust to today’s new normal of Work From Home which is a big trend that is not going anywhere and is in fact growing, and it requires that their cyber security postures are tweaked accordingly because employees are getting on the corporate network from all different locations now and sometimes on different devices increasing the risk of a potential cyber hack many fold.

I encourage all the boomers out there with unrealized dreams of entrepreneurship to seek out the gaps in the marketplace and look at this time of enormous shifts as their time to make it happen.” – Stelios Valavanis.

Stelios graduated from the University of Chicago in 1988 with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and has 39 years of experience ranging from software development to network design and cybersecurity. He’s founded 8 companies, invested in 10 more, sits on various boards, and develops interactive audio installations.

Stelios currently serves on the board of the ACLU of Illinois and is the CEO of onShore Security, an established cybersecurity provider of managed security since 1999, serving primarily the financial services industry.

He is a strong advocate of open source software and its contribution to Internet security.

Hanh Brown: [00:00:00] Today. My guest is Stelios Valavanis. He’s a founder of onshore security and an investor in several early stage companies. He graduated from university of Chicago in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in physics. He has 39 years of experience ranging from software development to network design and cybersecurity.
[00:01:34] He’s founded eight companies invested in 10 more, sits on various boards in develop interactive audio installation. He currently serves on the board of the ACL. You have Illinois, his onshore security and establish cybersecurity provider of managed security since 1999. Serving primarily the financial services industry.

[00:01:57] He’s an advocate for open source software and its contribution to internet security. Welcome stale. Can you share with us where you’re from and your journey to where you are right now with regard to startups and entrepreneurship?

Stelios Valavanis: [00:02:11] Great. Yeah, thanks for having me. My name’s Stelios Valavanis and I’m the CEO and founder of entre security, but that’s just the culmination of probably a lot of things.

[00:02:21] And I also do angel investing and recently started a new incubator to put my angel investing activities all in one place and work with my wife on that, who who’s becoming more and more active. I live in the Chicago area by, I used to office. In the downtown Chicago, they’re empty offices now, but they’re there.
[00:02:40] And the home is Evanston, Illinois. It’s been a long journey.

Hanh Brown: [00:02:44] I’m from the senior living industry and I’m an advocate for older adults, entrepreneur we can get started with what advice do you have for the baby boomers who want to start down on the entrepreneurial path?

Stelios Valavanis: [00:02:59] Well, definitely it’s exciting to hear about people who do want to do something new, something different, something innovative.

[00:03:05] I think they need to recognize that in themselves first, if they’re just thinking about getting themselves a job, which is maybe the majority of what people do when they start a business. Oh, that’s fine. And there’s good ways to do that. And I don’t think it’s terribly different. And depending on your age or point in your life, in your career, When you think about though doing something because you really want to do it, make sure that you’re clear about what you’re trying to accomplish.

[00:03:34] Wealth comes in many forms and in many ways, don’t assume, um, that starting a business is a good idea. As far as building wealth, I can tell you some very safe, smart things to do like income generating real estate, for instance, that are better path to wealth than building a company. Building a company is a big deal.

[00:03:52] So once you can understand that about yourself and understand your drive and then make some good decisions about that, then I’ll help you. I call it passion. That’s the biggest mean? Forced there. People think that they’re excited about money. I half the time I talk to people who think about what it’s going to take to do something huge, because it’s going to make a lot of money.
[00:04:13] I find out that, Hey, you could just do this or that invest in Bitcoin. And it makes a lot of money. They’re passionate about their idea. So let’s have, let’s find that first. That’s my first piece of advice. Find out what your passion is and whether this is what’s driving you.

Hanh Brown: [00:04:27] Great idea. Thank you. So have you found that there’s a bias against investment in baby boomer entrepreneur compared to let’s say younger entrepreneur.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:04:36] Yeah, there definitely is. And it’s not simple though. It’s not just, Oh gee, Hey, here’s this, somebody here that I’m not excited to invest in because they’re further in their career. It’s much more nuanced. It’s more about what they’ve done in that time. What they bring to the table in terms of financial investment.
[00:04:55] Are they willing to put skin in the game? I mean, that’s something you often get with somebody young is they’ll burn the midnight oil, do what it takes. I see so many entrepreneurs more. Older ones than younger ones that try to do something on the side while they’re keeping their careers going while they’re doing that.

[00:05:12] Well, that’s a no, every investor’s going to look at that as a negative. Is that a factor I’ll come of age? Not necessarily, but those questions come to mind when somebody that’s middle-aged it comes to an investor.

Hanh Brown: [00:05:24] That’s true. I guess you’re looked at a full commitment as opposed to a side business.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:05:29] Yeah and tan, you make the commitment, not just will you for you’re supporting other people. That’s an advantage of a 20 something. They could live in their parents’ basement for a couple of years, if they have to and not have to make a dime. And sometimes that’s what it takes. There’s ways to mitigate it, but they have to be responded to.

Hanh Brown: [00:05:48] How can baby boomers stand out to investors? And what do you think they bring to the table that the other generations can add?

Stelios Valavanis: [00:05:56] The first thing that every interpreter brings to the table, gung Roald is their absolute market understanding whether they gain that or they represent it. They really know what that the market is saying.

[00:06:10] And sometimes that’s a disruptive thing. That they’re countering an established concept about how the market is now somebody in their own generation, younger, old. Brings that part of the understanding what their life is like, where they’re coming from. But somebody who is older actually has a whole bunch of experience.

[00:06:31] So they might represent many different markets. Their careers have put them into large organizations, small organizations. They might have interacted with components of something in let’s say, corporate America or in their own space that you couldn’t have gotten. Otherwise they need to walk in the door and tout that all, not just that they have experienced, but that their specific experience, it gives them that number one edge when you’re starting intrepreneurship is understanding your market.

Hanh Brown: [00:06:57] Very true. So can you tell me and the listeners more about your business incubator.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:07:04] Yeah, the gallery is, first of all, it’s going to be a lot of fun. And remember what they say that love what you do. And you’ll never work a day in your life. In 2010, I became liquid for the first time in my life and had already been very connected to what you would call a startup community, which is.

[00:07:20] Too often synonymous with tech, which back, I think that’s a mistake, but that’s okay. That maybe that made more sense for awhile. And that was because my company did mostly software development in the nineties. And so a lot of our customers were startup companies. I was always eager to play there. And in 2010, I started doing that.

[00:07:36] So that activity though, as it matured, I mostly worked with an organization called Chicago arch angels. Almost all my investments are in conjunction with Chicago arch angels. And I realized that I was most excited about very early stage companies, which we weren’t touching with CAA, and that my wife started a coworking business called creative coworking with two locations, one in Evanston, one in Edgewater in Chicago.

[00:07:59] And, um, Always in mind, the whole community aspect and the let’s call it like supporting entrepreneurs. A lot of solar preneurs and coworking spaces actually have a lot of solo preneurs. A lot of people, I think discount count that I moved just, we realized that there’s so many people, so much potential to do a lot more.
[00:08:16] We understood that we would see that at first but quickly, that became something that we, when you had to be done more formally, in fact, Four years ago, we started doing something like the gallery and quickly realized the one person we were partnering with really wanting to do a fond instead. And they went off.

[00:08:32] And since we opened another location at that time, our kind of energy and time got absorbed. Now today with COVID happening, we realized, Oh, this is the time early in times of crisis, typically financial crisis. There’s a lot more entrepreneurship for some, for obvious reasons, which are that. Oh, I don’t have a job now.

[00:08:51] What do I do? But some for not so obvious reasons like, huh? The world’s changed. Some competitors in a certain space may not be able to keep going or may not be able to compete in certain way or the market’s changed. And I’ve always been looking for that. Here’s a work from home thing. Oh my God. Now we have five times, 10 times in there where people work from home, anybody that had some kind of innovation that was compelling to the work from home market, all of a sudden just tripled their market.

[00:09:19] And now that is going to bring more players to the table or people that had a great idea that they didn’t think there was a big enough addressable market to attract an investor or to launch it. There’s just change is generally bad and good. Let’s find the good part. This is what the gallery’s about.

[00:09:34] We’re bringing the expertise that we have with all the amenities we provide in the coworking space, the capital that we have available to us. The connections we have the network. My wife was the president of the chamber of commerce. She’s made so many connections with that government, nonprofit. I mean, there’s so many things out there and most people have no idea how to start.

[00:09:54] They just have an idea. And if they have that support and we’re not alone, other people do things like this. If they have that support, they can go way up another level and guess what? We will make money as investors by helping them do that.

Hanh Brown: [00:10:07] What about the current climate that makes it specifically a great time for baby boomers to start businesses?

Stelios Valavanis: [00:10:13] I think a lot of people don’t realize that baby boomers have a lot of wealth. They, baby boomers probably have more disposable wealth than other previous or subsequent generations. And we don’t know actually if that changes as the next generation gets into those later years. So I really think it’s a good thing to leverage quickly.

[00:10:35] Understand. And there are many opportunities, but that’s one that’s that to answer your question is I would think the first thing to look at understand that the baby boomer market, in terms of the disposable wealth, they have the kinds of demands and things they’ll want to do with that things like traveling, asset management, legacy, there’s all kinds of things that are different with the baby boomer generation.

[00:10:58] And again, it’s to my point about understanding your market. So they bring that to the table. That’s just a default thing for baby boomers. Take an individual who has expertise in a certain space or sort of experience. They can multiply that effect. They could go after a certain niche need. That really is hard for someone else to address and big company by the way, are terrible at it.

[00:11:17] It’s a big ship and they can’t steer it. There’s always room for startups. There’s always room for innovation. That’s something also that any generation, but baby boomers are particularly need to understand. They’re more set in traditional ways than the younger generation. If anything, I’d say they have a disadvantage.

[00:11:34] It’s not. In their age, the age can be turned to their advantage. Even with the investors. As I described before their disadvantage lies in that they’ve not grown up fully embracing technology and obviously some do more than others. I’m sorry. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care if you’re going to do a cleaning service or you’re going to do rocket science.

[00:11:54] You have to become very strong in technology, even if it’s just about making decisions and understand that as a corollary, to my answer, that that there’s a shortcoming you need to overcome as a baby woman.

Hanh Brown: [00:12:06]So that brings me to the next question you might’ve answered. Well, maybe you’d want to elaborate more.
[00:12:11] And that is what do you say to the baby boomers? Who’ve always wanted to be entrepreneurs and are learning to be more tech, savvy technology, and also social media. What additional advice that you can give them?

Stelios Valavanis: [00:12:24] give them? I think they really need to take advantage of the fact that assuming that they have some stability at this point in their lives and really can choose something for some better reasons that they’ve chosen before I say something, I mean a way of making a living.

[00:12:39] If they think of it as an exciting, fun thing, I found that very quickly, embracing technology becomes easy. You try a new thing and you fail and it’s, you struggle and you try something else. And that accelerates you get better at trying new things and a techie. I think anybody who goes down that path, even if they never saw that in themselves, we’ll start seeing themselves.

[00:13:03] I would challenge anybody. Who’s a Luddite and can’t stand technology and new ways of doing things and challenge themselves and find out if they indeed are going to end up. Like I suggesting, and I have friends with people in my family, I’ll say who I’ve experienced this with, who resisted and resisted.

[00:13:22] And now you finally have a smartphone in their hands and they’re experts on all the social media platforms, whatnot. But you do have to do that. Just try it. You can always walk away.

Hanh Brown: [00:13:33] That’s true. I think they’re already using it to stay connected with family members. Now it’s a matter how to turn that around for a business venture

[00:13:42] Just like social media, honestly.

[00:13:45] Oh gosh. My children are in their twenties now, but growing up, I was probably the most anti social media person on earth because I wanted to guard them from it. So I did not use it. But then how did you and I come across each other through social media? So I think there’s a time and place and we just got to learn how to use it constructively.

[00:14:06] And here’s the benefit of it is you get to meet great people and learn from one, right?

Stelios Valavanis: [00:14:11] Of course, isn’t this true about everything in life? The responses are more nuanced. There’s no black and white. This is good. This is bad. So, yeah, it’s but then that means that we have to make mistakes. And if change is happening faster.

[00:14:22] Yeah, we have to, yeah, I have to embrace it. That is something that is definitely a newer thing in our culture is making mistakes. That the term in the startup tech world is fail fast. So yeah. So try to do that. And that’s what capital does. That’s another kind of common misunderstanding. This would be for the first time interpreters that they understand like about what raising capital means and raising capital.

[00:14:43] Isn’t about like, well, I need money to do this. No, you need money to do that fast. You can do a lots of things slow. You can learn to program and whatever design the next super-duper database or whatever system application. But the, but if you want to do it fast in such a way that you can get at the market before somebody else does, then you need money.

Hanh Brown: [00:15:03] I love it. Fail forward, fail fast.

[00:15:06] Hanh Brown: [00:15:06] Yeah. That’s right. And take action, right?

Stelios Valavanis: [00:15:09] Yeah. Yeah. Look, make mistakes. Learn. Yeah. And if you can’t see your journey as something where it’s, you are developing, you’re learning, you’re enjoying, to be honest with you, you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. There’s some very safe, quiet things that can build wealth and make good income.

[00:15:26] And yeah, it’s really, that’s not the hard part. A lot of people don’t realize that. The obstacles that you face, you’re going to face one way or the other many, many times we’ll start with a lot of obstacles because I were, they don’t have good educations or they’re ill-equipped, or they don’t have connections to people that can support them and finding people, learning things, all of it is attainable.

[00:15:46] It takes time and it takes support. And you’ve got to find those things, but start with understanding what it is you actually want to do.

Hanh Brown: [00:15:55] Do you just want a job or do you want to do something exciting?

[00:15:59] Yes. What is your advice to folks that perhaps have this thing hanging over them over the years regarding ageism?

Stelios Valavanis: [00:16:08] unfortunate and it is something they have to overcome. And it’s primarily perceptions. I pointed out a few things that are different with different generations. I definitely, at the end of the day, people are going to judge you by what comes out of your mouth.

[00:16:21] More than how you look and everything else that’s at the end of the day. Somebody that is, yeah, that is, that is worth actually getting, gaining the respect. They’re going to listen into what you say sometimes that means you have to be the expert on some particular topic or some area before you can sound like the export that, and that’s okay.

[00:16:38] And that should be something actually appealing to somebody who is probably starting with some good bit of experience. Another way. I think the counter age-ism. Is to make sure that you do leverage what you have, what you bring to the table. I’m not just in terms of experience. Like I described any wealth, you build assets, you built, most people have significant wealth.

[00:16:57] Ingler houses, homeownership in the United States is much higher than in rest of the world. So that can be leveraged that I hate to say it, but as an investor, I’d like to see somebody that took out a few hundred thousand dollars out of their home, in the form of a line of credit to be able to build that first.

[00:17:13] Proof of concept or minimum viable product that they are eager to build so that you should leverage that you should show that you built something with that time that you’ve had other ways to counter age-ism too, I think would be just to demonstrate on eagerness. There’s a youthful eagerness in combination with now a, let’s say a seasoned kind of coolness and confidence.

[00:17:37] You can one up. Those young pups who are showing lots of excitement, show some excitement, but also demonstrate that steadfast, strong, confident competence that comes with age.

Hanh Brown: [00:17:49] Thank you so much for that. That is really inspiring. I feel that I follow the steps, the advice that you’re giving, but I’ll tell you, you have to really internalize it.

[00:17:59] We got to live it and breathe it every day and be committed. Everything that you’re saying. I wholeheartedly believe in, let’s talk about the aging journey and the healthy living associated with that two angle. I like to cover one of which is what do you see as business side, the opportunities for the healthy aging industry?

[00:18:21] That’s one and then two on a personal side. What do you think we all need to do? As far as embracing our health and our life and our longevity?

Stelios Valavanis: [00:18:32] I remember, I guess, a previous generation where there were these ideas about smoking cigarettes. And that it was a stimulating thing. In fact, to this day, I’m not certain, but I think Alzheimer’s patients still bed at night benefit from it.

[00:18:45] And maybe that’s old information. And I think there’s, that has a lot more to do with the mind at work, the brain at work, rather than the drugs. Maybe I’ll answer the both parts of your question kind of the same way. I do pay attention to the products and the services and whatnot that are intended to support a healthy lifestyle style in later life and whatnot.

[00:19:05] And we can’t undo the past. So I’d say go back in the past and tell your young self to stop eating junk food or whatever. That would be better if you’re past that. I do think the peace and. Trust me, that industry is doing a great job, supplying information, product materials, or that even though there’s, I think there’s a lot of missteps in supplements and things like that.

[00:19:26] I, they should embrace FDA and they don’t, but you know that, but there are definitely qualities of foods and supplements. What not that helped a lot. But I think that piece missing is mental stimulation. And mental stimulation can come from many places and many forms and you can choose your own that benefits you.

[00:19:44] And I’ll apply this to myself too. Some of it is just things like researching to accomplish, but let’s think more generically. There’s a reason why, why mathematics and music come together. For instance, there’s a reason why a visual stimulus in experiments show greater synaptic growth, whatnot, and our brains changing and growing.

[00:20:05] Maybe you can argue it’s more or less malleable, whatever, those it matter. The answer is still the same, but we have to do is still the same. Let’s stimulate ourselves. And that means cultural consumption music, the movies. What do you know what I would like to challenge anybody? That’s a baby boomer to do is to play.

[00:20:23] High intensity hand-eye coordination, video games.

Hanh Brown: [00:20:27] Yeah. Right.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:20:28] Yeah. Yeah, no, isn’t that missing? When’s the last time you saw the self-help website, say, Hey, go play some call of duty now and last some aliens or whatever. Now I’m not a gamer. So it’s funny. I’m saying this, but I might see my kids play games and I really am.

[00:20:44] Frustrated with our whole culture, per se, how so much, we try to fight off all these things in our culture that we consider might have some negative effect and they probably do have some negative back, but think about the positive effect. We’re growing this generation of super hyper button, pushing eye twitching, nerds, and banked, and also nowadays with all the online versus a games, communication to talking with each other, they’re coming to the end.

[00:21:10] They have to move and think fast. So really, I think there’s something very positive. That’s come out of gaming, especially online gaming. But again, I don’t want to F I’m only emphasizing that somewhat because I think that’s missing in the baby boomer generation. Okay. But let’s go also embrace the things that they will more readily adopt listening to music, all kinds of music, classical music, punk rock, turn it up.

[00:21:32] Make it loud, do a dance Zeppelin rolling stones. My seven year old boys. Favorite song is the immigrant song from led. Zeppelin’s a third album. Yeah, I know. Right. And so we watched the boar. Dragged rock movie and the store goes crazy when that song comes on. So yeah, but those are the things. And why do they matter?

[00:21:54] It’s not about this like youthful bigger stuff. It’s about the brain. It’s about us stimulating ourselves and frankly, inspiring ourselves.

Hanh Brown: [00:22:04] Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. And there’s nothing wrong with playing the immigrant song or let’s up Lynn, a rolling stone because nowadays our children have certain likes in taste.

[00:22:15] That motivates them. I still have one teen at home. My older two are gone. Now I can listen to my music and jam like he does. There’s nothing wrong with that. We can be a built and still have fun like they do.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:22:30] Of course,

Hanh Brown: [00:22:30] sometimes unfortunately we stay within our lane, stay within our definition as a parent, as a baby boomer, you fall into that stereotype.

[00:22:41] And that’s not good.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:22:43] I’m going to do that after we hang up, fear of encouraging a recklessness is to our kids. So we show this side of ourselves. I found out things about my parents as an adult that were not apparent at all as, as, as a child that they did. And I thought about that a lot. When I had children, I four children.

[00:23:02] I thought about that a lot. Yeah. Do I reveal these things? My brother would caution me. Don’t say, that’s going to encourage this. You tell them the bad things you did or the whatever, not so bad is if it’s

Hanh Brown: [00:23:12] acceptable for them, because you did it and you shared it with them. It’s like, Ooh, is it acceptable?

Stelios Valavanis: [00:23:18] And, and you know, that’s not a, that’s not a point to discount, but at the same time, you might also be. Taking away you lose. You’re losing something too. You’re gaining something, you’re losing something. You’re losing that, that, that child’s ability to look at the world as something that they play in rather than they’re forced to follow.

Hanh Brown: [00:23:38] That’s true. Do you have any other takes that you would like to share fifties plus baby boomers? That’s born what? 1946 and 64. It’s such a great generation of folks who had gained the wisdom. And the knowledge, but sometimes just lacking the respect from the earlier generation. And I think we need to do a better job in closing that gap because yeah, because I think we have to look at the elderly folks in such a way, because we’re going in the same direction that they are.

[00:24:12] So how we address those issues. That the older adults are facing now is going to be a reflection of how our children younger generation will be addressing when we’re in that place.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:24:24] I would be careful not to set too high expectations. We talk a lot about what was the previous generation called the world war two generation or wherever.

[00:24:31] I think the baby boomer generation has been the most generous and caring her of their parents. This is the transition to social security happened in that generation. And so there’s, that was some help or some financial support, but yeah, I don’t want to count on that same level from my children. And I don’t say that, you know, without some concern.

[00:24:53] To your point. And I’m sorry to say it that way, but that said, we do also have a lot more available to us in terms of keeping us healthy and fit longer, not just living longer. So I do think we’re going to be less of a burden on our children. I firmly believe that and science is getting better, whatnot.

[00:25:11] And again, we have. We have capital to do that. I would like to see a future generation where there’s more support for our whole community, especially in terms of health and wellness and longevity. And I think that will happen because people demand it. So this will be a lighter burden, but yeah, this we do right now.

[00:25:29] We should pay attention to it and try not to happen. Too high expectations let’s live our lives let’s realize, well, I S my parents seemed like they live their lives for their kids. Some of that was a facade, but a lot of it was true. And I’m not saying that’s a mistake necessarily, please. I mean, especially somebody, if you’re thinking of starting a business, that’s something you’re doing for yourself.

[00:25:50] And that’s, you need to start with that mentality. And for once it’s okay to be yourself, it’s okay to do something for yourself. It’s okay to enjoy your life. It doesn’t have to be all for your kids. At some point, they got to take care of themselves too. And at some point you might need them to take care of you.

[00:26:07] So let’s try to enjoy this a bit. I love being an entrepreneur, so.

Hanh Brown: [00:26:12] Yeah, I love what you’re saying because I’m living it. I’m feeling it right now. You’re right. Our parents, they lived their lives to take care of us, to ensure that we have the proper education, proper values and principles, and still at home.

[00:26:25] And I guess that’s wonderful. I think that’s comes with the back then type of upbringing. That’s how I was raised. And to some degree, I’ve had my own journey where I did a similar thing. Where I pause and what was important for me and dedicated my life and raising my kids, which I think is the best decision, but there comes a point, like you said, just live your life and enjoy it and just live to the fullest.

[00:26:52] And it’s about you now and allow them to have their separate lives. Become entrepreneur, learn a new skill, invest in yourself. That’s key.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:27:01] In fact, you might even inspire them, your kids.

Hanh Brown: [00:27:06] Yeah. I, I appreciate this conversation because I think you’re speaking to a lot of people. When you say that many parents live their lives for their kids, that’s an ad mobile, but there comes a point and I’m in that place right now. So it’s exciting to talk to you.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:27:24] Thanks for putting together this wonderful podcast.

[00:27:26] I think it’s a great service.

Hanh Brown: [00:27:28] Thank you. I have my personal journey in caring for my parents and I see there’s, there’s a lot of improvements that needs to happen. Here’s another conversation I recommend for many families to go through earlier in life instead of later. And that is. When you’re in your forties and fifties, I’m in my mid fifties and I have parents that are in their mid nineties, but let’s have that conversation about caring for your parents.

[00:27:54] How are you going to do that? We plan our financial at an early age, right? Financial planning, I don’t know, thirties or so, but we don’t have these conversations of how we’re going to help our parents until it’s too late. Let’s face it. We’re all living longer. We likely to have some kind of illness that comes with aging.

[00:28:17] So let’s talk about that. Let’s learn about what, what dementia is and the possible caring for them. Let’s say at home or in a senior living. Cause often those conversations that come up in a crisis when you have to make that decision ASAP, that’s another thing that families are focused on.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:28:35] focused on. My, my, both my parents are gone and my mother had a good long life and our age and my dad died fairly young, 63.

[00:28:43] But one thing I saw with my mom is that she’s the one who did not want to have those conversations. I don’t know what it will take to get people to have that conversation, but at least in the least case we being the middle-aged ones now. I should be willing to have that conversation with our children when they’re young adults let’s say, or is early as possible.

[00:29:02] And let’s not be like our parents, which again, I’m, I’m just assuming, I guess that many are like similar to my mother and you just don’t want to have that conversation. I would say things worked out somewhat for my mother, the way that she would have wanted them and caring for her and the years that she really needed it.

[00:29:18] But, uh, it could have easily gone a bad way. I was in fact, encouraging her. The a few years before she passed away too, to downsize. And I said, not just because we have this whole house, you live alone in, but she’s lived in forever and it’s not needed or something like that, but more because that’ll give her a chance to go through her things and remember, and give them to people for her grandchildren.

[00:29:39] And Greg has all these things and she could not stand it. She said that any talk about like, And her life coming near an end was terrible. Again.

Hanh Brown: [00:29:48] I’m with you. And I’m also learning and adjusting my attitude to be open-minded and just embrace aging and just honoring it wherever you are in life. Now later, the last quarter, you just got to, as long as you have a healthy attitude of where you are and where you want to be and be very purposeful.

[00:30:09] You’re going to live a full life and when it’s time for you to leave, there’s eternal life. So I see that as a celebration.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:30:16] Oh, absolutely. Yeah. That’s wonderful. That’s a wonderful way to put it. Yeah. And you don’t get your, get, let your passion drive you. I, everybody has something they’re excited about the love.
[00:30:25] I mean, maybe it’s your grandkids too. That’s fine too. But, uh, yeah. Thank you for that. Thank you.

Hanh Brown: [00:30:32] well, I really enjoyed this conversation. I’m glad that I could reach out to you. I love social platform and meeting great minds and having these kinds of conversations. I hope that somewhere along the way, if our work cross paths that will further collaborate.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:30:46] Absolutely. Yeah. While we were always looking for businesses to apply for the gallery, that’s a new thing. We, you know, we have a handful of applicants, so far, some good ones and onshore security. We, you know, we do cybersecurity for banks for, you know, good sized companies and, and you should understand you.

[00:31:01] That’s very passion driven. If you look at there’s a video I have on our mission page, where I describe my personal passion. And that is as an enabler. You hear me talking about entrepreneurs and. Oh, look, you can, you can do all these things you didn’t realize you could do and whatever. And go ahead, try it.

[00:31:17] Just fail and that’s okay. Well, that’s exactly, what’s driven me to build an it company where I help businesses and guess what? Cybercrime forts that. And so I had to become the vigilante, whatever though, to fight cyber crime. So that’s really underlying entre securities. Motivation in fighting cyber crime is because it disables us.

Hanh Brown: [00:31:41] It’s why we can’t have nice things congratulation to you and your wife on this exciting journey and best to you. Let’s stay in touch.

Stelios Valavanis: [00:31:47] All right,

Hanh Brown: [00:31:49] take care.

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