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Finding Courage in Midlife: A Nurse’s Transition to an Aromatherapy Business with Kim Benoy | Ep #125

March 18, 2024

Finding Courage in Midlife: A Nurse’s Transition to an Aromatherapy Business with Kim Benoy | Ep #125 In this episode of the Second Act Success Career Podcast, host Shannon Russell sits down with Kim Benoy, a former nurse turned certified aromatherapist and entrepreneur. Kim shares her inspiring journey of transitioning from a nursing career to pursuing […]

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Finding Courage in Midlife: A Nurse’s Transition to an Aromatherapy Business with Kim Benoy | Ep #125

In this episode of the Second Act Success Career Podcast, host Shannon Russell sits down with Kim Benoy, a former nurse turned certified aromatherapist and entrepreneur. Kim shares her inspiring journey of transitioning from a nursing career to pursuing her passion for aromatherapy and essential oils. Through her business, Kim educates others on the therapeutic benefits of essential oils and creates personalized blends to address various wellness needs.

Kim discusses the pivotal moments that led her to embrace her second act career, including her exploration of essential oils during the pandemic and her decision to become a certified aromatherapist. With her podcast, “Midlife With Courage,” Kim empowers women to pursue their passions and find fulfillment in their second acts. Through candid conversation, Kim and Shannon explore the liberating feeling of pursuing one’s passions later in life and the importance of embracing change with courage and confidence to start over in work, business, and in life.

Join Shannon and Kim as they delve into the joys and challenges of entrepreneurship, the fulfillment of helping others through aromatherapy, and the boundless possibilities of finding success in one’s second act.


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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 -
Finding Courage in Midlife: A Nurse's Transition to an Aromatherapy Business with Kim Benoy | Ep #125
Episode - #125
Host: Shannon Russell
Guest: Kim Benoy
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Kim Benoy: it's okay to go back to what you really love to do, what wakes you up, what gets you going. it's your time now to do that, find that courage to do that, once you do that, you start being more courageous in those kinds of things.

Then you get more confident and there's no limit to what they can do. I mean, 70 years old is not the end. That's just a brand new start

[00:00:24] Shannon Russell: Hey, you are you feeling stuck, desperate for a career change or thinking of starting a business, but you're just not sure how to make your first move. I'm television producer turned career coach Shannon Russell, and this is the Second Act Success Career Podcast. This is where you will not only get the career advice you've been craving, but you'll get tips from career and business along with inspiration from others who have made a career transition to find second act success.

Let's get started.

Welcome back. My friend [00:01:00] today, we are chatting about a second act success story with my friend Kim Benoy kim was a nurse for 26 years before she pivoted and became a certified aroma therapist. Yes. Kim now has a business making essential oils for others. And she is the host of the Midlife With Courage Podcast. I can't wait to bring in Kim and have her share how she went from nursing to aroma therapy. This is her second act success story. Let's get started.

[00:01:34] Kim Benoy: it's okay to go back to what you really love to do, what wakes you up, what gets you going. it's your time now to do that, find that courage to do that, once you do that, you start being more courageous in those kinds of things.

Then you get more confident and there's no limit to what they can do. I mean, 70 years old is not the end. That's just a brand new start

[00:01:59] Shannon Russell: [00:02:00] Hi, Kim. Welcome to the podcast. How are you? I'm doing

[00:02:03] Kim Benoy: great. How are

[00:02:04] Shannon Russell: you? Good. So excited that we're able to do this. I was on your show,

[00:02:10] Shannon Russell: midlife with courage, not too long ago. So I'm excited to have you here to share your

[00:02:13] Kim Benoy: story.

Yeah, this is great. It's kind of weird being on the other side of the microphone. I have to be honest.

[00:02:20] Shannon Russell: when we met and we were chatting, your story is so perfect for second act success because you truly are in your second act. and I want to dive into that because you started your career as a registered nurse.

so talk to me about, kind of going from school and getting into your first job in healthcare.

[00:02:37] Kim Benoy: I actually had decided that I was going to be a nurse when I was pregnant because I had twins and I had to spend a lot of time in the hospital just for checkups and things and I loved watching the OB nurses and I thought, well, I want to do that.

So Crazy enough when my girls have two girls, two years old, I got into nursing school. it was fun. We'll just put it that way. so at that time it was kind of hard to get into [00:03:00] hospital nursing, which is where I wanted to be, obviously. So my very first job was as a camp nurse.

Which was kind of fun. And then I got into a nursing home. And then the next year I was able to get my, what I thought was my dream job, into the OB labor delivery unit at our local hospital.

[00:03:16] Shannon Russell: Yeah, and how was that? Did it bring back all the memories of you being there with your girls?

[00:03:20] Kim Benoy: Yeah,I guess I'm always trying to help other people.

And so I was loving being the person who could help the women in labor. And, when you're in labor, it's not your finest day usually, but I love being that person that they can look to and say, help, I'm going to get you through this.

We're going to, your baby's doing great. You're doing great. You can do this, just kind of empowering them in a way. I just love that.

[00:03:42] Shannon Russell: How did that impact you as a mom with young kids at the same time? Well, I

[00:03:46] Kim Benoy: think it helped me probably being a mom, I could empathize with these women going through labor because, I was a young mom.

I still remembered. And so just having that empathy and that connection with women, cause I'll tell them, yep. I'm a [00:04:00] mom of twins or I have daughters, it's just having that connection was really helpful, for probably both of us. True.

[00:04:06] Shannon Russell: Absolutely. And I'm sure juggling the schedule, right?

Cause being a nurse, your hours are all over the place. Yes. That must have been quite task to schedule. It was.

[00:04:16] Kim Benoy: Yeah. And my husband actually, he was a mechanic and he worked shifts too. So there were times when our schedules overlapped and we had, his grandma was just wonderful, and his mom and some of my family too, but mostly his grandma would come and she would take the girls and she would bring us food, which was even better.

So I wouldn't have to worry about supper. bonus there. But yeah, so we had a lot of help with that and I so appreciated that.

[00:04:42] Shannon Russell: That's wonderful. And so you were a nurse for 27 years.

[00:04:46] Kim Benoy: Is that right? Yeah. Yeah. I can't even believe

[00:04:49] Shannon Russell: it. So what made you decide, okay, well, I want to try something new.

Nursing has been great, but there might be something else for me. Yeah,

[00:04:57] Kim Benoy: well, I think. It was kind of a [00:05:00] gradual process, about six years ago or so, I was introduced to essential oils, with a company, andI decided I wanted to make a little extra money, so I did a little side job with them, and before I knew it, I realized, like, these oils have these awesome therapeutic properties, and they don't just smell good, and I also was kind of thinking along the lines of the way health care is or was or both.

it's more important to keep ourselves healthier so we don't end up in the hospital and, focusing on wellness and health. And so that was kind of all happening and I realized essential oils were kind of a tool that we could use along with a whole bunch of other things. so I kind of went back and forth for a few years between, I'm focusing on nursing.

Now I'm going to focus on the oil as I go back and forth, and then I finally got to a point where I'm like like the business part of it. I love the business part, but I don't like selling. And I realized I'm not going to be like [00:06:00] the top level seller in this company. And I didn't want to be, that wasn't where my heart was.

I wanted to educate people and help them learn how to use these oils safely. And so. I decided, I think it was a couple years ago, I was in a job that I really was not enjoying and it was nothing to do with COVID or anything. It was just kind of, well, some things that were happening and I was miserable.

And so I devised a plan to come up with my own products and I would sell those and bring in some income and. In the meantime, I had my podcast. And so I wanted to grow my podcast and hopefully monetize it and, have that be an income too. So anyway, it kind of all came together and I just decided, I think I'm done nursing and it felt okay, like I thought I'd be.

sad about it, but I really wasn't right.

[00:06:50] Shannon Russell: were slowly working on these side, options for other careers, your podcast and the oils, and then kind of maybe got you a little ready to [00:07:00] take that leap and leave your

[00:07:01] Kim Benoy: main job. Yes. Yeah. I think I just had to try some things and I kind of have learned

After you turn a certain age, you can even learn to go with your gut, and you have a little more courage to kind of Do what you want to do rather than what people are telling you, you need to do. And so I had that going too, and I love doing the podcast and I love teaching people about the oils. And so that's where I went and it's been awesome so far.

[00:07:31] Shannon Russell: , it's so interesting too, because as you said, you weren't sad leaving. I'm sure it was a shock to your coworkers and maybe to some family members, but I think that's when you know, you're heading down the right path when it doesn't feel like this jarring change when you can look at it like, okay, I'm just closing that chapter.

you served other women and help people in your community for so long, over two decades. And now you can say, I've done it. Now I'm going to [00:08:00] close that chapter and move on to my second act and you followed your gut, you followed your heart in that.

[00:08:06] Kim Benoy: Yeah. And I think Shannon, you and I talked about that you kind of, well, that box is checked now that book is closed and that's good.

That's okay. Yeah.

[00:08:15] Shannon Russell: And I find it to be exciting. And I did that with my career as well. And I think it's exciting because why not go out and try all of the different things that you kind of have simmering in the back of your mind? And why not go out and try it? Because no one's going to bring it to us. We have to pursue those things that have that glimmer of excitement that maybe I could do that.

Maybe I could write that book. Maybe I could start that podcast and to go out and do it. You just feel that sense of accomplishment. Yeah.

[00:08:43] Kim Benoy: Yeah, exactly. It's just like you have this freedom. That's what I was like. I felt liberated. I don't have, my kids were grown up and they were out doing their thing and my husband was here, but you kind of do his, he does his thing.

I do mine. And, I'm like, oh, wow, I can pretty much do whatever I want. It's [00:09:00] amazing.

[00:09:00] Shannon Russell: Well, let's talk about the podcast. So when did you decide I'm going to start my own podcast? Where did that come

[00:09:06] Kim Benoy: from?

Oh my gosh. So I was going to a, like a business networking event and the speaker there had said, do whatever. your passion is, do that in your business, whatever gets you out of bed in the morning and whatever that is, put that into your business and your business will thrive.

And I kind of thought about that for a while. it was during, the pandemic and what I thought about when I thought back about, what I love to do, I'd love to get up in front of people and speak. And of course we couldn't then. You could not do that. So I thought, well, my daughter had a podcast at the time and I thought, well, I'm going to do a podcast too.

And it was one of those things where knew it and I wanted it and it was awesome. And I had someone help me, she's kind of a business consultant, and so she helped me research. And my goal was to have, in 90 days, I wanted one episode ready. Well, in 90 [00:10:00] days, I had one episode already out and another one ready.

So I was just. I just jumped in and got it going and I just loved it like just featuring other women and they're inspiring stories and just sharing that is just the lights me up as my pension,

Especially if going back to the nursing you're there chatting with these patients and letting them know that you're relatable and you can do that on your podcast as well.

[00:10:23] Kim Benoy: Yeah, you know, it's not all about me, but I get to talk to women all over the world and how would I have done that any other way, when I think about it, just earlier today, I was talking to a woman from England. Like, it's crazy to me that I get to do that

[00:10:37] Shannon Russell: And meet people that you wouldn't have met otherwise. And then it's really great. I think the connections that we have, because now I can meet someone else and say, Hey, let me introduce you to Kim. Or, you guys could work together and you can collaborate and you can help each other. And it's just this really incredible community.


[00:10:54] Kim Benoy: and I've learned that through my, business, that connecting people with other people, that lights me [00:11:00] up too, like, oh man, I know somebody that you should talk to. And then they do. And it's like, oh wow, that's amazing. So yeah.

[00:11:07] Shannon Russell: So the name of your podcast is Midlife WIth Courage. Where did that come from?

[00:11:11] Kim Benoy: I wanted to talk with midlife women because that's where I was at. I wanted to tell them. But through the stories of other women, that it's okay to go back to what you really love to do, what wakes you up, what gets you going. it's your time now to do that, find that courage to do that, once you do that, you start being more courageous in those kinds of things.

Then you get more confident and there's no limit to what they can do. I mean, 70 years old is not the end. That's just a brand new start

[00:11:43] Shannon Russell: so it's so inspiring you're right. Once you take that leap, you get that courage and then it just grows from there and you realize you can do more and you try this.

So you, during the pandemic began your podcast and you were still nursing at the time. [00:12:00] Yes. Okay. Yeah. And then, but you're dabbling in your oil business on the sides, essential oils. And then tell me about launching into becoming a certified aromatherapist and what you're doing

[00:12:12] Kim Benoy: now. Yeah. So that was kind of, it's like my third reincarnation or something, but I love the company that I was working for basically.

Like I said before, it wasn't my passion to sell, to people and grow that way. I wanted to help educate and I wanted to learn more because as much as you can learn from a company with a product, you're, there's way more out there. And so I thought, well, I think I can do that by becoming an aromatherapist.

And. I'm so glad I did because there's so much more information out there about, the oils that you can use and carrier oils and, just so many different things. And so I really became, I guess I'm passionate about it [00:13:00] as well, like teaching people how to use them safely. certain oils, you should only use a certain way, or you shouldn't use so many.

And I wanted to do that without the sales pitch, because I think I ran into a lot of times where I'd want to do classes for people about oils and it was through a company. So they were probably thinking, well, she's just going to sell me the oils. That's all this is. It's a sales pitch and it was, but it wasn't, so I thought this is my way to educate and share and help people without telling them to.

[00:13:31] Shannon Russell: Buy this oil, So how does it work then? How do you gather people if you don't have a specific product that you're selling to them?

[00:13:40] Kim Benoy: I'm at that point right now where I'm kind of 2024. It's going to be my education start. So I'm working on some, online courses.

So people can kind of go there and the first one it's just basic oil information, like how do you use the oils? How much do you use and what are they for? [00:14:00] And then I'm going to see where that kind of goes because there's people that have pets that want to use oils with their pets.

I mean, the sky's the limit as far as that goes. And then the other thing that I'm working on is like a monthly subscription where people can sign up and they get two little emails a month with a tiny little video like five minutes or less about one specific oil.

So if you have an oil sitting on your,your shelf that you haven't used in a while. I'll remind them how to use it. just little bite sized pieces. Really easy. They don't have to go to a website. All they do is open their email and there it is. So, I think I heard a lot from people that, Gosh, I bought this oil and I don't know what to do with it.

Or I was using it for one thing and I don't know what else I can use it for. So, I thought that would be a really great way to educate people a little bit more easy. I agree because

[00:14:47] Shannon Russell: I actually just pulled out some oils that I purchased from a friend and I'm like, well, I know I can put this into Something that I drink but I can also diffuse it, but I can also use it as a cleaning [00:15:00] supply So it was yeah, there's so much information out there and you're not sure what the best safest Route is to go.

So I love that you're educating people on it. Yeah, and are you making your own as well?

[00:15:11] Kim Benoy: .Yeah, I actually love doing that. another part of my business too, is kind of creating products for people specifically. I do a summer market as we were talking about earlier, and a lady came to my table and she had a scar from a surgery.

And she said, someone had given me an oil and it worked great, but is there anything else you can give me? I ran out anyway, so long story short, I ended up making her a little serum that she put on her scar to help decrease, The inflammation and the itching and everything. And it was so cool because she came back a few weeks later and she said, Oh my gosh, look at this.

It's so much better. And I love that serum that you made. So, I love to do that. if people are having issues with, I mean, it could be anything, anxiety, physical things like plantar fasciitis, eczema, I love doing that research and kind [00:16:00] of figuring out which oil would work best for their particular.

Aromatherapy. That's what it's meant to be as for an individual, sure. I can make. a heel balm that I make for anybody with dry skin.

But if I've got someone who's got something else going on, I can make a product more, customized to them, so I love that too.

[00:16:19] Shannon Russell: How is this compared to when you were just selling the oils for that other company

[00:16:23] Kim Benoy: it's just feels right. it feels not that, I mean, I love the company. I love the oils, and I got a really good business education from the company. this is allowing me to connect with people more personally and I make a blend for them that they would purchase from me, but it's that, their blend.

And so, in a way, I'm nursing this way. I'm using my nursing career and my nursing background,to kind of create something just for them. and so that lights me up. I love that part of it.

[00:16:52] Shannon Russell: Taking what you've learned from your first act and those skills and the things that you were good at and that you enjoyed and carrying [00:17:00] those over into your second or your third act is exactly what you're doing you're educating, you're helping, you're taking those skills and using them in different ways through your podcast and through your business now.

[00:17:12] Kim Benoy: it's so nice because I have the freedom to do that. some people will say, well, you know, I'm old, but you're experienced and you can take those things that you've learned and put them to good use and keep on learning, you never stop.

So, I like being this age.I feel like I've bloomed more than when I was a younger person. Can you

[00:17:31] Shannon Russell: imagine? I always like to think if we had this kind of confidence that we have now and kind of that trusting in our gut, if we had that in our 20s or even early 30s, like how different our lives

[00:17:42] Kim Benoy: would have turned out.

Yes, yes, I know. you know, my daughters are younger, they're in their 30s and just, I try to tell them these things, but. You can't tell somebody they have to experience it themselves, but please listen anyway.

[00:17:57] Shannon Russell: Seriously, it just, it [00:18:00] feels like we know when to say no, that doesn't work for us. And yes, I want to pursue this further.

And I love that you decided to follow your gut and your kind of inquisitive nature with these oils to say, like, well, what else can I do? That is going to serve me and my customers and clients. you've really narrowed into the business that seems to fulfill both.

[00:18:25] Kim Benoy: Yeah. I feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be, but yet, there's maybe there'll be something else that I find too that, it's just, I can, if I, you know, something else comes along, we'll see what that is.

I mean, you kind of have. It's like you have the courage to try things, if they work out, great. If they don't work out, that's okay too.

[00:18:44] Shannon Russell: yeah. So what is the

[00:18:45] Kim Benoy: name of your business? Right now it's Midlife with Courage is kind of the name of it.

I'm kind of in this transition where I'm calling my aromatherapy something else. It's Blooming Branch Aromatherapy. So I don't want to start a whole new [00:19:00] website, but I might have to. So that's to be determined. Yeah. And

[00:19:05] Shannon Russell: that's okay. You're figuring it out too. and it all kind of works together too, midlife with courage, this is what you created in midlife with your courage and you're helping other people feel empowered.

through what you're doing with aromatherapy. So I can see it all working together as well. Oh, good. I think it's . it's important to show that you can have multiple streams of revenue. You could have multiple things going on in. the second phase of life too. , it's not going to be that steady paycheck that you had as a nurse, but tell me how your quality of life is today than when you were nursing in the past.


[00:19:45] Kim Benoy: I think in the past I did what I had to do or what I was supposed to do. where I'm married, we had two kids, we had to make money to live. but now I have. I can do what I want to do more. And you were talking [00:20:00] about how like I had such a busy schedule as a nurse and there was a, it's a little challenging to go from that to having all the time in the world to do what you need to do or want to do.

And sometimes it took a while to kind of. Stay organized in that because if I don't have a lot to do, I'm probably just gonna hang out with my dogs or something. you know, I have to organize my time. but it's for things I want to do and that fill me up. So it's like night and day difference.

[00:20:26] Shannon Russell: That's, I think the beauty of being an entrepreneur, especially at this stage in life.

[00:20:31] Kim Benoy: you know, if I kind of slack off or I don't do something, it's on me. It's nobody else. It's my fault. So it's good accountability.

Oh, yeah.

All right, it's time for our five fast Q's of the week. Here we go.

[00:20:47] Shannon Russell: so name one thing that these different chapters in your life have taught you.

[00:20:51] Kim Benoy: small changes can lead to big results. So just change one little thing. You don't need to do, don't need to think really big.

[00:21:00] Just start small and do little changes to try to kind of, and then be a little patient and see what happens and then go to the next

[00:21:06] Shannon Russell: one. Would you recommend taking a leap into a big life change to your best friend? If my best

[00:21:13] Kim Benoy: friend was ready, then yes. Because everybody has their own timeframe and they need to follow their own path.

So if they were ready, if they were, expressing that to me, I would say, yes, go for it. But maybe if I'm not sure, or they're not sure, maybe my job is just to inspire her. And so that would just be my role for her.

[00:21:34] Shannon Russell: what is one piece of advice that you would give to someone who is trying to start a second act?

[00:21:39] Kim Benoy: What I would tell them is to focus on yourself first. Find out what your purpose is. What do you want? What fills you up? I've been doing a lot of journaling even lately, just writing things down as they come up. Like, what do I want to do? What is this going to be? Like, why am I doing this?

And so I, you have to [00:22:00] do that first. don't go out and try all the things. Focus on first on you and what you want.

[00:22:05] Shannon Russell: So what does the next chapter look like for you, Kim?

[00:22:09] Kim Benoy: Oh, well, more education. I want to really grow that online education part and see how many people I can reach. And just, I really, I truly want to be like a bridge between,people who are buying oils just to buy them and not really knowing. And then people who are really wanting to, better themselves or become healthier and help them find

all the ways that they can do that.

So whatever that looks like for right now, you know, I'm hoping it's that online education and that subscription and we'll see where that goes.

[00:22:41] Shannon Russell: 2024 is going to be a good year. Yay! Well, where can our audience connect with you? The podcast, your oil business, everything.

[00:22:51] Kim Benoy: Yeah, the best place to go is my website.

And that's www. And I've got [00:23:00] my podcast episodes are actually on the website. And I had do a blog.

And if you want to go ahead and subscribe, then you will get all the notices and all the information you could find.

[00:23:12] Shannon Russell: Great. And your podcast is not just about oils. It's not about that at all. It's about being courageous in your midlife. And it's a fantastic podcast. I just have to say, I truly enjoy it.

And I love getting the little pieces and gems of inspiration from your guests. I'll link to all of this in the show notes because I really want, feel like listeners of my podcast here will love listening to you as well, Kim. So

[00:23:37] Kim Benoy: thank you. Yeah. It's amazing. The women that I find to talk to the stories they have, I mean, including you yourself, it's just, I love that.

I love sharing that. And yeah, it's mostly, that's what it is. There's a little bit of oils in there, but really. not a lot. So yeah.

[00:23:56] Shannon Russell: Well, I'll link to everything and this was so much fun. I'm [00:24:00] so happy that we connected and became friends and I just love everything that you're doing and how your career is evolving and continuing to.

Grow and evolve. So congratulations and thank you for being on the

[00:24:12] Kim Benoy: show. Thank you so much. I loved our talk on my show and I just love staying in touch with you and thank you again for having me. Thank you.

[00:24:21] Kim Benoy: outro

[00:24:22] Shannon Russell: Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to Second Act Success. To view show notes from this episode, visit Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much.

Thank you again for listening. I'm Shannon Russell and this is Second Act Success.


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