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How To Be A Mid-Life Entrepreneur

Published in Advice, Career, Entrepreneurs, Start-ups View comment on this article ►

923406_shirtpockettieWhere does it say you have to be a mid-twenties university dropout to launch a successful business? These myths are perpetuated because of the endless press devoted to people like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. These are great stories. So what?

Not Reserved For The Young

First of all, entrepreneurship is not something that belongs to the very young. In fact, they know very little. They often succeed by total fluke. Don’t be taken in by the endless hype that permeates almost anything written about business success. Nobody has the maturity and experience of someone over 50. Take that to the bank, and while you’re there, apply for a new business loan. Do it with confidence and even bravado.

Be Realistic

Consider the following before you make a leap into business. Can you give up your day job? This is very important thing to consider. Do you have the resources to carry you over the rough start-up period? Do you have a well thought out dream, an idea that will work, or that you believe will work? If you do, start by writing a business plan. That will help a lot. That will give you a clear vision of what you’re getting yourself into, and it gives you something to show to lenders.

You Have Life Experience

Even with a very well thought out set of goals, there are many many challenges you’ll face along the way. That should not deter you. The big difference between the mid-life or later life entrepreneur and the frat boys is that the latter have no idea what they’re facing, so it’s full steam ahead. You, on the other hand, have experienced life and you know the hands you can be dealt. Again, that’s alright. That’s an advantage, though it may make you more hesitant than a 24 year old.

Be Who You Thought You Were

It’s never too late to be who you thought you were. This is well worth thinking about and remembering. You can be the person you thought you might become way back when…

Don’t Be Deterred

Entrepreneurship does not belong to the very young. Let’s bust that myth now. There are stereotypes we accept as truisms that are faulty. There is ageism out there and you have to meet that head on, like minorities meet prejudice in our society. It’s there but it can be overcome. In fact, late in life entrepreneurs bring something to the economy that is needed. What they bring is maturity, focus and experience. You can’t buy that.

You Know More

An older, more seasoned business person has a set of deeper aims and ideas. That person has seen a lot and can better understand where opportunity lies. Older individuals have a better sense of markets and how they evolve. They understand things like finding a niche. They understand what efficiency is. A more mature entrepreneur is much more likely to research and experiment, both vital to starting and operating a business. An older entrepreneur has a built in network along with years of experience and years of taking knocks and recovering. There are a lot of things this person can do out of the gate that a 24 year old is incapable of doing.

Online Business and Consulting

Older entrepreneurs have discovered the joys and the ease of online business. Who needs bricks and mortar? Starting an online business with little or no investment is a very smart way to burst onto the business scene in your middle years. It offers you the opportunity to experiment with products and services before having to make any kind of a large commitment. The other big one for the mature entrepreneur is consulting. Here is a business built entirely on your past experience that you can start for the cost of business cards.

New Technologies

Another myth that follows older entrepreneurs around is that they somehow lack the knowledge or the skills associated with things like new technology and social media. How dumb is this? Again, what it is is ageism. There are people among us who believe that anyone past a certain age cannot possibly understand Twitter. Give us all a break please! Shall we now start calling them baby boomers? Okay, baby boomers. Get this straight, the boomers are probably the hippest generation in the history of humanity. If any group understands the nuances of Facebook and how LinkedIn works it’s a boomer. Sure, if you think you need a bit of help with some of this stuff, go ahead, find a Generation Y Millennial to bring into the business as an employee or even a partner. You may think you need that person but you probably don’t. But go ahead if it makes you feel better about certain things that are probably well within your reach.

It is never too late to get into business. There is no expiry label on baby boomers.

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