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Why Entrepreneurship Isn’t Just for Young People

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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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.

 

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 100 million lives in the last 6 and a half years.

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Kim Skaggs

    Jun 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    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. Emily

    Jun 3, 2014 at 2:56 am

    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. TJ

    Dec 24, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Very well said. And that goes for almost all things in life. It’s never too late to start

  4. PV PIXELS

    Jul 19, 2013 at 5:36 am

    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.

  5. Kathy Brookins

    Jul 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    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.”

    • Joan

      Jul 10, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      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).

    • cat

      Mar 7, 2014 at 4:17 am

      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!

  6. Jay

    Jul 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    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.

  7. Calrissian Taikun Whitaker

    Jul 8, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Age has nothing to do with entrepreneurship or the success of a business start-up. Only ones amplified ambition to succeed.

  8. shobelyndayrit

    Jul 7, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    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.

  9. Joan

    Jul 6, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    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.

  10. Stacey Louve

    Jul 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    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.

    • Jay

      Jul 8, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      I’m still trying to figure out if you were kidding.

      • Sylva

        Jul 16, 2013 at 1:43 am

        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.

  11. Steven

    Jul 6, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    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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Success Advice

Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive

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“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!

Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.

Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.

Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:

1. Wasting Time

Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.

Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.

“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks

2. Inaccurate Responses

An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.

Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.

3. Constant Back-and-Forth

Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.

Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.

You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.

A Better Approach to Emailing

For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.

Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.

Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:

1. Checking Them Less

I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.

2. Responding Quickly

People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.

“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk

3. The If-Then Technique

The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”

This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”

I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.

The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.

If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.

Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!

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Success Advice

4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave

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It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.

It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.

Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:

1. Where Are You?

No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.

The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.

“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn

2. Where Do You Want to Go?

When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.

There’s this saying:  When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.

Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.

So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?

3. Why Do You Want It?

Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.

You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.

So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?

“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins

4. How Are You Going to Get There?

And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.

For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”

To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.

In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to  get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.

Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.

Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.

Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!

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Success Advice

The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work

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Claude Silver CHO of Vaynermedia
Image Credit: VaynerMedia

A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.

The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.

A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”

Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.

Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.

Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:

1. By being unafraid to share her own story

Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.

When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”

Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.

“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson

2. Committing to a strong value system

VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.

With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.  

Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.

Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.

3. Listening with action

As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something.  As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.

Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.

Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.

“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:

“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.

I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.

From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.

What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!

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Success Advice

The 7 Secrets of High Achievers Revealed

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We all have goals in life, but very few of us ever learn to consciously set, work on and see our goals through. In our naturalness bias, we marvel at those who have set and reached their goals thinking they have some esoteric abilities that we don’t. We overlook that the final product is the result of a series of mistake-ridden, unrecorded pains. What if we could learn from the process, the habits and rituals of the high achievers? (more…)

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