When one thinks about entrepreneurship as a mid-career option, there are a series of concerns one tries to address. This includes the risks, the responsibilities, the finances and majorly, the age factor. It is essential to note that entrepreneurship is never associated with age. These days, terms like entrepreneurship and startups are used in connection with youngsters and fresh graduates from colleges. This is probably inspired by the success stories of young entrepreneurs who made it big in a short period. But, the success of a business or an entrepreneur does not depend on age. You are never too old to be an entrepreneur and it is never too late to embark on a new journey.
Entrepreneurship isn’t just a young person’s game
Once a person crosses the age of 40 or 50, he/she might feel they are too old to be an entrepreneur. But that isn’t the case. You don’t have to be 18, 20 or 25 to start your own business. Entrepreneurship doesn’t come with any age restriction. Most successful entrepreneurs started later in life and made their mark in their respective fields. Gordon Bowker founded Starbucks, the most popular coffee chain across the world, at the age of 51. Charles Flint founded IBM at 61 and Harland David Sanders founded KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) at the age of 62. Mc Donald’s, Walmart, Adidas are all started by people over 40.
With age come many advantages
Research shows entrepreneurs who started their own business in their mid-careers are likely to be more successful than the youngsters who started one right after college. Let’s look at some the positives that come with age and work experience.
Experience – When you start a business in your 40s or 50s, you have about 20-25 years of work and industry-specific experience. With this worldly wisdom, you take better decisions about the business in terms of execution, establishment and its expansion. With experience, you also know that success does not come overnight and it takes time and effort to achieve it. You are less likely to feel disappointed by the way your business might perform and take it as an opportunity to persistently build a strong base for it.
Network – When you start a business a little later in life, you can leverage the professional network you have built over the years. These contacts can range across various fields – management, marketing, writers, engineers, media, advertising and so on. It is this network of yours that help in promoting your brand or business in the initial stages. Sometimes it is through these contacts that you can build your client and/ or investors list.
Find your true calling – This could be your Ikigai moment and you should not look back and just listen to your heart and mind and get started. It may also be the case that you found your true calling and you are keen on building a business around it. This is common with many who begin to reflect on the social impact they’ve created or the number of lives they’ve touched. This is another positive trigger that has helped many from mid-level age group to build successful enterprises.
Financial stability – Initial investment and financial stability are few of the biggest setbacks for young entrepreneurs. But, it is an advantage for those who plan to start their venture later in life. With a job for over 20 years, you might be financially stable to start a business of yours. Or, you might have an idea that would work well in the current times than it would have 20 years ago. Perhaps, this is where you might want to use a part of your savings.
Management – Your work experience for the past several years might have thought you industry-specific managerial skills, networking, team management, teamwork and much more. All these skills come handy while running your own business. Because of your experience, you have an idea of how to work in a team and how to get the teamwork for you sticking to the deadlines. Everything right from hiring employees to managing a successful team.
“Any time is a good time to start a company” – Ron Conway, Silicon Valley angel investor.
It takes courage to move out of your comfort zone of having a stable job and getting into the adventurous world of entrepreneurship. There isn’t any right time to start something new and you never know when your idea might click and grow beyond your imagination. With good planning comes great business. And remember, you are never past the age of being an entrepreneur.