Why Entrepreneurship Isn’t Just for Young People

Why Entrepreneurship Isn’t Just for Young People

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Entrepreneurship and Business At Any Age - Age Is Just A Number

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” These are the words of the legendary American author and humorist “Mark Twain“. Age really is nothing but a number and this has been proven time and time again.

Read on as Author & Seasoned Entrepreneur Kevin D. Johnson breaks it down on why Entrepreneurship Isn’t Just For Old People.

 

Entrepreneurship Can Start At Any Age

“I’m too old to start a business,” said my forty-four-year-old friend when I encouraged her to become an entrepreneur. I shook my head as she rambled on about how she has too many responsibilities and how she’s not as creative as she used to be. Her excuses were ridiculous, but all too common for people her age.

As the media focus on young CEOs like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, it is easy to assume that most companies these days are started by teenagers and people in their twenties. Consequently, many older people buy into this media hype and think that starting a company is for young people, accepting that their chances of success are limited by their age. This assumption and the media hype couldn’t be further from the truth.

First, the media hype is heavily focused on the technology sector, which tends to glorify young superstars. When it comes to what is most appealing to the media, the new social media company always overshadows the new bakery on Main Street. However, most new businesses in the United States aren’t tech-related and sexy. They will be primarily sole proprietorships and small businesses with fewer than five employees. Most of their owners will be old enough to a tech guru’s mother or father.

Second, older people are starting more businesses than people in their teens and twenties. According to a Kauffman Foundation study, Americans between the ages of thirty-five and forty-four represented the largest increase in entrepreneurial activity from 2008 to 2009. Americans between ages fifty-five and sixty-four constituted the second-largest jump. The reasons range from middle-aged adults wanting to supplement their income to retired individuals wanting to continue working. Regardless of the reasons, older Americans are catching the entrepreneurial bug, which is good news for everyone. Unfortunately, we don’t hear enough about these exciting data.

Interestingly, research shows that older people are more likely to be successful when they start businesses. Older entrepreneurs have the experience needed to better navigate the rough waters of entrepreneurship. During years of work, they have developed a treasure chest of skills that makes them highly valuable. For instance, if they go into business in the same industry in which they worked for many years, their understanding of the business is a tremendous competitive advantage.

In other good news, University of Chicago economist David Galenson contends that “experimental innovators” require time to reach their peak. His research, which is largely credited with cracking the code of the creative mind, concludes that experimental innovators do their best work in life at an older age. They accomplish their genius through trial and error. Examples of these innovators are Steve Jobs, Mark Twain, and Alfred Hitchcock.

Older people may give a bunch of reasons for saying they are too old to start a business, but they are just excuses, many of which are defended with misinformation. Now we have plenty of data and reasons to support why being in your later years is an asset, not a liability, when starting a business. If you are in your early thirties, forties, or older, it is not too late to start a business. Don’t let your age deter you from pursuing your dream. Ultimately, a solid business idea paired with flawless execution, not a fresh face, is what leads to success in business.

 

CS Lewis Life Inspirational Picture Quote

 

Article originally appeared here: The Entrepreneur Mind 

Make sure you get your hands on Kevin D. Johnson’s Book: The Entrepreneur Mind: 100 Essential Beliefs, Characteristics, and Habits of Elite Entrepreneurs

This book is a must have for any aspiring entrepreneur.

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. Ha! I have all of you beat and set out to prove an old bird is a smart bird with experience in reserve! I am only 80 years young, starting my 8th business and excited as a June bug in summer. Yes, I have some experience in accounting and am on my way to becoming an enrolled agent. Look out you may need my services—hope not–but you never know.
    Kim
    I

  2. For a few years there, online media was opinionated, written and shared by the 20-something generation, right around the time of the 2008 financial crisis when entrepreneurship became a necessary option — just because it wasn’t heralded before doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening. I’ve been serving entrepreneurs for almost two decades and the average age of our client tends to lean towards 40. It’s good to celebrate the young generations and their passion to innovate, but they certainly didn’t invent entrepreneurship!

  3. Cheers for this great post Joel. I know commenting late on the post, but the thing that matters is that I really liked your article. It’s widely seen that people hesitate to put up their ideas in front of others and lead a business only because of their age. I would definitely ask such fellows to have a look on this page.
    Again, thanks for all the
    motivation.

  4. I am a 50 year old woman and for the first time am now starting my business. It’s amazing how the years have given me patience and desire to learn which I did not have in my younger years. I will continue to stay motivated, look at all the options and hopefully make the decisions that will cause me to succeed in this. I see so many young entrepenuers full of fire and this can be intimidating but I have found that my experience through the years have made me an expert in my arena and no one can touch that. So, like Joan said in an earlier reply to your post, “If you are the type to enjoy self-employment, age shouldn’t stop you (but plan carefully–you have less time to recover from financial disaster!). If you are not the type to enjoy being self-employed, then age doesn’t matter, it won’t work for you when you’re young either.”

    • Kathy, you are on my same timeline! Go bold! I’m 10 years down the road and my only regret was that I was not as bold or decisive as I could have been. Remember, the best decision is the right decision, the next best decision is the wrong decision, and the worst decision is no decision! The best part about starting when older is you have the experience to make better decisions (and the worst thing is that the wrong decisions you’ve made in your life tend to make you hesitant).

    • Thank you for posting of your perspective. I am 47 and looking to start over at something new. Not sure what yet and don’t want to rush into the wrong thing, but I feel a sense of urgency at times that I do my best to tame. Options suddenly seem to be more plentiful now than when they were when I was in my 20′s going to college. Planning is the thing that makes me slightly nervous as I can relate to what you said about not having a whole lot of time to recover and yet time is time. We will do the best we can and learn much going forward no matter what happens. I hope by now your plans are shaping up nicely. Good luck!

  5. It’s never too late, period. What some of you are forgetting that are shouting to start young is all the experience you bring to the table once you’ve been around the block. You also (likely) have more access to capital that you’d otherwise need to borrow when in your teens or 20s — and if things go wrong, you’re starting your life/career off in the red. Still think it’s less risky? And (hopefully) your network is much deeper and wider, for support, when you start off in your 30s, 40, 50, etc.

    To that point, while we have our share of clients that are fresh out of undergrad, one of our clients is 70 and has the promising product of the lot — in our opinion and within the investor community.

  6. I believe that starting young is best time to become an entrepreneur for there are few risks involve.When you are young, you have no family that can be pulled deep in the waters with you. You can also learn from your mistakes withipout worries.What I should have done though that my children will learn when Is learn a lot.Learn about what I love to do and pursue that.Then open a business.

  7. I started my business at 50 after being laid off from my corporate job of 20+ years. I had always wanted to be self-employed but had believed all the horror stories. Ten years later, even though I won’t say it’s been easy, I still think it’s the best move I ever made and wish I had done it sooner. But the business experience I gained as an employee was extremely valuable in my new venture, so that is an advantage of being an older business owner. If you are the type to enjoy self-employment, age shouldn’t stop you (but plan carefully–you have less time to recover from financial disaster!). If you are not the type to enjoy being self-employed, then age doesn’t matter, it won’t work for you when you’re young either.

  8. I beg to differ, I think that you are most creative when you are younger, you can achieve at any age but entrepreneurship is a young kids game. Just an opinion. Good luck to the older people though.

      • Are you like 12? Good luck to older people? I would think the older the entrepreneur, the more experience under his/her belt, bigger network, more money, ability to make smarter decisions. I say good luck to the young, inexperienced guy who doesn’t have a clue.

  9. Yes age is definitely nothing but a number, I know many accomplished entrepreneurs that have made the leap of faith at an older age. Most of them though do say that they wish they did it earlier. Great post, thanks to Kevin D Johnson and the Addicted2Success team.

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