It’s never too late to become an entrepreneur. In fact, becoming an entrepreneur later in life is a key to success.
There has also never been a better time to be in this phase of life and succeed and you won’t be alone.
It’s never too late – late is better
It’s a megatrend:
- The Kaufmann Foundation report shows that Baby Boomers outpace millennials by a two-to-one margin in the number of startups in the U.S. every year and are almost twice as likely to succeed than those age 20 to 34.
- Individuals over the age of 50 accounted for 64 percent of current business owners, a 31 percent increase year-over-year. Among aspiring entrepreneurs, 43 percent were 50 or older. Guidant Financial.
- Older adults aren’t just doing it to make money. Many are following a passion or looking to fulfill a need.
- Funding options are better for mature entrepreneurs with personal savings being a major funding source rather than traditional avenues. Entrepreneur Magazine.
- It also stands to reason that as Millennials and Gen Xers (which lead in startups) get older, the average age of entrepreneurs will get higher and higher. National Bureau of Economic Research.
- As Kim Perell writes in Entrepreneur Magazine, “Not only can you start a business at any age, but age is actually a predictor of entrepreneurial success.”
It makes sense
And why not? This latter stage of life is the perfect time for it to be “my turn”. After youth and adulthood, learning more about life and yourself, it stands to reason that this is the opportunity of a lifetime to find a New Way Forward that’s right for you.
Older entrepreneurs have the experience, networks, and access to capital necessary to be successful. At this stage in life there is a greater focus to make a difference, be relevant and leave a legacy that drives them to not only start a business, but often create one that seeks to solve a problem.
They can also have the drive and determination that necessity brings as many become entrepreneurs (which extends to the self-employed) as a need for income and often by virtue of ageism preventing them from finding a job.
While it’s ever too late to become an entrepreneur and your age may be a success factor, you still have new things to learn and decisions to make.
Older entrepreneur keys to success
- Make smart financial choices for funding by fully leveraging your place in life as an older founder.
- Seek out younger mentors and mentees. You both have a lot to offer each other. Embrace it.
- Be proud of what you know, be humble about what you don’t. This is basic and critical. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Play to your strengths. Find people to fill those areas where you are weak.
Also, many businesses fail because of poor expectations about:
- What it will take to succeed
- Sometimes what you think will be easy will be hard and what you think will be hard is easy
- How long it will take (longer than you think)
- How much funding will I need (typically more than you think)
…and a multitude of other big and small matters that you didn’t even know you didn’t know but really need to know.
But it’s all worth it.
According to a survey by Guidant Financial 76 percent of Baby Boomer business owners reported their happiness as an 8 or above on a scale of 1 – 10.
Paul Tasner who launched a successful startup at age 66 was told by two global insurance company researchers that what he was doing as an entrepreneur is one of the healthiest things you do can at this stage of life.
The reasons are as deep as they are obvious. Fulfillment, purpose, significance, success, a lasting legacy, and income.
These in turn lead toward better mental and physical health and a deep level of satisfaction.
It’s never too late to become an entrepreneur. Truly some of your best years can still be ahead of you.