Is youth the secret to success when it comes to being an entrepreneur? The truth is that entrepreneurial drive probably depends more on your personality than your age. In fact age offers the advantage of experience that often outweighs youthful enthusiasm when it comes to starting and running a business.
The worldwide economic recession has left many older men and women without jobs. They are stuck in a position where they cannot find jobs but do not have sufficient funds for retirement. The realization comes that despite claims that ageism does not exist, very few companies want to employ someone over 60. At the same a steady increase in life expectancy means that we are not only living longer but also staying healthier for longer.
In a report called The Coming Entrepreneurship Boom the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity was found to be in the 55-64 age group. This report was written a while ago but the trend seems to be continuing.
A growing tribe of entrepreneurs, both men and women, are starting their own businesses later in life. Some of them are doing so because they want to retire in style; others have always had a dream to be an entrepreneur and finally have the time to make it happen; and others are forced in this direction out of necessity. Whatever the reason, many of them are proving to be even more successful than many of their youthful counterparts.
Technology can be one of the challenges for a business owner of 60 plus. You may not be as technologically savvy as younger entrepreneurs but there is nothing to stop you from learning. Plenty of courses are available to help you get up to speed. It’s crucial to understand where you may be lacking in experience so you can get the right training or hire the right people to fill these gaps.
Lack of confidence
Many people in their 60s are modest when it comes to assessing their own skills. This is particularly the case when they compare themselves with younger people who are au fait with complex technology. It is easy to underestimate your capabilities and you may have to remind yourself of what you have to offer. Check out this previous article on how to build your self-esteem.
There are a number of advantages to starting a business later in life. Of course there are still risks – but this is the case at any age.
The main advantage you have as an entrepreneur in your 60s is years of experience. Even if you have spent years running a home, don’t underestimate what you have learned in the process – you probably know how to organize, budget, plan, delegate and many other qualities essential for running a successful business. Every ounce of experience you have picked up in the course of your life can be utilized whether it’s a skill, a hobby or even qualities like perseverance that you have learned through years of struggle.
It is always better to start a business in an area you already know something about and have had an interest in for a period of time. You have a much better chance of being successful if your business is driven by your knowledge and experience as well as your passion. If you love photography, for example, and you have spent years doing it as a hobby, think of all the experience you can share with others. People will appreciate the skills you have acquired over the years and before you know you it, you have built up a client base.
As an older entrepreneur, you probably have many acquaintances who are already successful entrepreneurs. Reach out to them for suggestions and help in their areas of expertise. You probably already know many people in different walks of life that can give you tips on marketing and much more.
An online business
One of the biggest advantages that you have today is the opportunity of starting an online business. You don’t have to worry about a physical location and you don’t need much capital to begin. In the online world you will find many entrepreneurs of 50 and beyond who are successfully earning an income online. Their age does not matter at all – passion, skill and experience are what make them successful.
A 20-year old may be capable of working long hours but people in their 60s can bring some formidable advantages to the table. Running your own business is often a scary step, particularly if you have never done it before but it can provide a level of autonomy that is incredibly satisfying. Turn a hobby into a thriving business and you will experience a sense of fulfillment that few jobs offer.
Your first steps
Despite a lifetime of experience, many of us are reluctant to start a business at a time when others are thinking about retiring. And you definitely shouldn’t jump in without giving it some serious thought and doing some research. Running a business is never easy and there is no guarantee of success. However, approach it in the right way and it has the potential to change your life.
When you have decided on a particular business, here are a few simple questions to ask yourself. Answering them will help you to clarify your purpose and get to the point where you are ready to write up a simple business plan.
- What is your goal?
- What products or services do you want to promote?
- How much money will you need to start?
- Who are your competitors and what can you do better than them?
- Who are your customers and how can your product or service improve their lives?
- How will you make contact with your customers?
- Do you have someone who can mentor you and give you practical advice?
Many 60-something entrepreneurs find that the benefits of having their own business outweighs the risks. They maintain a feeling of self-worth and earn enough to enhance their standard of living in retirement. Why not join the growing tribe of entrepreneurs over 60. Does the idea of starting a business in your 60s scare you or appeal to you? I would love to know.