If you’re over age 40, you may think that the time to launch your own business has passed. After all, the media inundates us with stories of people who started businesses as teenagers and became millionaires in their 20s. However, for every Mark Zuckerberg who started Facebook from his college dorm room is an entrepreneur in his or her 40s, 50s, or older starting a business for the first time. In fact, the United States Small Business Administration reports that 40 is the average age of the small business owner. The average age for an entrepreneur to sell a business that he or she started is 47.
Age is Truly Just a Number
You might still be convinced that you’re too old to start a business of your own. If so, consider Charles Flint and Sam Walton. They were 61 and 44 years old, respectively, when they started International Business Machines (IBM) and Wal-Mart. Here’s something else to encourage you: The age of an entrepreneur when starting a business plays a huge role in its eventual success.
The saying that it’s never too late to try something new is more than something you might see on a motivational poster. It’s backed by actual statistics. In 2016, nearly one-quarter of up-and-coming entrepreneurs were between the age of 55 and 64, while those over age 65 made up 16 percent of the self-employed population.
Steps to Entrepreneurship in Middle Age
Perhaps you had a long and successful career in a specific industry, only to find yourself pushed out in favor of younger workers. One reason for this is that the technology that older workers used for years is now obsolete, and employers don’t want to invest time and resources in retraining. Instead, they hire younger workers who already know how to use the new technology who will also accept a lower salary. It might sound like a losing proposition, but you can take your many years of experience and use them to start a business of your own.
Building a large network of business contacts is an important first step if you’re considering entrepreneurship. Make sure that your list of contacts is current and let your immediate circle know what you plan to do. If you don’t feel comfortable with electronic communication, set up meetings with those in your industry who you think could have valuable information for you. Research indicates that in-person networking tends to work the best anyway.
When it comes to finding investors for your new business, it should encourage you to know that most prefer a more seasoned professional going into business for himself or herself than a new college graduate. Just keep in mind that you may need to sacrifice financially for your new business at a time in life when you expected to have more disposable income. It’s a risk, but the new venture can bring you a better income if done well.
No matter what age you find yourself embarking on entrepreneurship, we’re here to help. Lowcountry Business Advisors in Greater Charleston, SC strives to use our experience and passion to help business people achieve their goals. Let’s meet for coffee and see how we can work together.