Is it harder to start a business when you are older?
I know starting a business requires long hours and a lot of stamina. It also requires a lot of skill. It is often hard to work the longer hours as you get older, but you have developed more skills. Do people recommend starting business when you are just out of school or developing experience and then starting a business?
Great question! I was just reading about this topic the other day.
You can start and succeed with a business at any age, with the obvious qualifications, if people value what you offer and will pay you to have it delivered.
You must answer some important questions because they help you:
- focus your efforts
- clarify what you have to offer
- verbalize what the customer is thinking "what's in it for me?" ***Super Important***
QUESTIONS (start here)
---What exactly are you offering to the market place?
---What value will it bring to your future customers? Save money? Time? Reduce stress? Make more money with less resources? Get more customers with my current efforts? Etc
---What job does your product or service do for people?
---Why should I give you my hard earned money instead of spending it elsewhere?
Remember three important things while getting started:
First, check what assumptions you or the people you listen to are making about the business you want to build. The fewer assumptions you have the higher your chance of success.
Second, always be specific about the questions you ask. When you are specific you are moving forward, being specific is a decision. When you are vague or general you standing still waiting for clarity to make decision.
Three, Action makes prosperity possible. Action causes failure and success. Failure is the pavement that you travel on to prosperity.
Simplifying Business, Focusing on the Customer
PS - I'm always available to answer follow up questions via email or on mosaicHUB.
Barbara, Mark Twain said “Ignorance and confidence are all you need in life and success is sure.” As a young man I loved that saying because other than a solid work ethic, those were the only qualifications I had. Whether you are young, old or in between, success in business requires that you have an unwavering commitment to succeed and that you effectively leverage the resources that you have available to you. Assuming that you have the appropriate capital and a good business model, you can usually overcome whatever skill deficits you may have.
Barbara, age alone is not the only nor main determinant in starting and succeeding at business.
Passion and the unbending desire to, is a greater determinant. You see passion and an unbending intent is the fuel that will power or move You to arise early in the morning and stay up late at night.
It is also the thing which will propel You into learning and bettering your game. Your desire to have and do business will also keep You focus and on purpose when the naysayers gather to perhaps unentionally break your spirit.
Its also the thing that will help You to come up with legally and morally creative ideas to meet your monthly financial responsibilities when that 'contract' falls through or when something took twice as long and cost twice as much than anticipated.
In short its Passion, Desire, Unbending Will and not age. that helps You through the dismal days. Anyone could have that drive at any age. But the thing behind Passion, Desire, Unbending Will to do and Be is doing your purpose.
The thing You do must be and feel to You as if something is missing if You donot do it. It must be that thing that when You do it time stops and the world falls away. It must also be that thing that though You ought & should be well compensated - You will do for free because doing it gives You a pure pleasure and peace.
It must be in a way your 'first and true love. It must be Your life's purpose and that can be revealed at any age!
Peace & I Am wishing You well!
I've been advising small business owners for 25 years, and I see that people start businesses at all ages. Here are a few common categories:
-- People who get professional training, then go out on their own, so they never really work for anybody else (except their customers). Pretty quickly they see they must make their professional practice work as a business. These folks are in their 20s.
-- People who start out working for a large company, get fed up with it, and strike out on their own, perhaps taking a few customers with them. This often happens in their 30s or 40s. Most of my clients fall into this category.
-- Corporate escapees or castoffs, in their 50s or 60s, get laid off--or retire--then either start their business or buy a business. I have a client who took his golden parachute from investment banking and started a yoga studio.
-- Recycled Boomers. People who retire in their 60s who get bored and decide to launch another venture. I have a client who sold his cable programming company at 67, and has started a training program for other retirees.
The young often see older people as decrepit and slowing down. But when you get to be 70, you say, hey, I still love my work, and I still have plenty of energy and gumption. And what else would I do for the next 20 years or so? I, at 71, am about to launch a new offshoot from my company, training coaches and consultants to do what I do.
I think it's a myth that you have to work 24/7 when you start a business. Many do, of course, but I think that's often due to poor planning or choosing an inadequate business model.
Of course starting a business is easier if you have experience/skills, capital/resources, time, and can attract great people. Which you're more likely to have when you're older. When you're young, you have fewer responsibilities, less to lose, and more time to make up the losses.
If you don't have the experience and skills, reduce your risk with continual learning. Find advisors and listen to them. Verify your ideas before spending your life savings. Treat your business plan like a series of hypotheses to be tested a la Steve Blank--Read The EMyth Revisited, and then set up systems so that you run it and it doesn't run you.
I'm 61, in the middle of it, and loving it.
That ultimate answer depends on personal and market conditions. Since I am in my 60"s and have started several businesses and will do at least two more, let's see if the factors I consider can help:
1. Where is your heart at? Are you passionate about something that will fuel you or are you motivated by other reasons - needing income, whatever?
2. Are your skills still current? That is important yet some refresher training can overcome that.
3. What have you learned that gives you unique and timely insight to this business opportunity? That is more relevant when differentiation and a compelling value proposition are important, maybe less critical when running a franchise or staple business.
4. Do you have the resources you need - financially, network, support, team, other?
5. Have you tested your most important assumptions?
Barbara, please note, few of these questions have to do with age as that really is an attitude and something you can control. Yes, as we age we can get typecast into stereotypical behaviors. I run into that where I compete in marketing against younger talent shops but heck, my talent team are all young and I add a level of insight, strategy and critical thinking that proves itself every time but in my business I have to stay ahead of trends and new thinking. Yours may be less demanding but its all good.
I wish you luck in your decision. Bill
I have seen it work both ways; it's a matter of the individual. Experienced or not there are many lessons to learn and each business has it's own unique lessons to teach so the experienced are not at a far greater advantage than the newbie.
I have to go with responder Neil Licht, if you have enough passion to inspire yourself, you owe it to yourself to give it a go. A simplistic answer? Not at all; a successful business always begins with a passionate and committed person. Not suggesting that's all; only the beginning but the right place to start.
Interesting question seeing I am older and FINALLY! FINALLY! I am taking the leap of faith and starting my own technology company.
So here are my thoughts and what I have found so far:
I am definitely wiser as I have seen what works and does not work in other start-ups as I have experienced spectacular wins and losses due to the management and board members.
I have more confidence and diplomacy (hopefully) in presenting and talking to people and know what works when it comes to sales and marketing from my 20 years’ experience in High Tech.
I am also realizing how there is so much I don't know and love learning new things when starting up a new company.
The other plus is that I have a great network of resources and advisers who know my capabilities and are willing to open more doors as I move forward.
However, the cons I am finding are:
More difficult to juggle start-up, regular job as I need the funds to pay for the development of the platform, and home life with a child.
I also find it more difficult to find seed investment primarily because I am older and a woman and it seems many of the investors want to invest in the next Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page, so I tend to notice a dismissive attitude. EVEN though what I am developing is brilliant AND I have commitment from customers, early adopters and beta testers BEFORE I go live next month.
So in my very humble opinion, it can be a bit harder, but I am having so much fun and renewed my passion for something I can really sink my teeth into. I have not felt so excited and eager to get going on something in a very long time.
I just wish that seed investors are easier to find so that I can do this full time and grow my start-up to the levels I see it can be in the first year, as I have too many opportunities and not enough time to follow through.
So my recommendation is that you are never too old, and if you have found something to build and you are passionate about it, the energy level is very high and so well worth the adventure!
Hope this helps from an older but young at heart CEO of a start-up AND an older mum!
This is a great series of questions that you have asked. 1st of all IF owning your own business is your passion, them it will never seem to make you tired. The wonderful set of skills are very key to the company and it's growth. This is a lead from the front mindset that I have with my companies. I think young professionals can began starting a company, when they are young in the marketplace. However it is very key, that they have a mentor, consultant type of company with them.
This also goes for the veteran professional as well. We all are as good as our talent and skills can bring the brand, forward in the global markets.
I hope this answers your questions.
P.S. If you need my services contact me, I look forward to helping you succeed.
The biggest growing segment of entrepreneurs and self employment is people over the age of 50. What these people have is experience and knowledge. You are right about the long hours in starting a business but the cost to entry is minimal because of the internet.
People want and will pay for how to make more money, improve their relationships, advance in their career, understand how to improve their hobby and the list goes on. The self help market is $11 billion dollars. eBooks last year was $1.9 billion dollars in fact 30% of the top 100 Kindle books on Amazon are self published. This means some unknown is beating out well know authors and the top publishing companies in the world.
Yes, experience and knowledge pays.
All the best,
I would guess that every experienced entrepreneur and/or consultant would provide a different opinion on this question. I have been on all sides of this question and have started businesses at a variety of stages of life.
As a young, inexperienced entrepreneur one has the advantages of not knowing what you cannot do and so you may challenge and overcome limitations imposed upon older more seasoned businessmen/women by their background, experiences and environment. That same predisposition to discovery and adventure allows a young person to see and do unconventional things in unconventional ways. This along with the interest of lenders, investors and promotors in encouraging young people to create businesses for the future can deliver another advantage. The final advantage I will address here is that when you are young and inspired it seems easier to create support from peers either because they are encouraged by your challenge to the status quo or because they have not established personal and business networks and believe they can grow with you.
Disadvantages to the young are lack of credibility, resources, and connections. There is therefore an escalated need for discipline, time, intelligence, energy and communications and networking skills. It is very difficult and demanding for someone right out of school to start a successful business but it is entirely possible and if successful will produce great results. It is also true that the best lessons in life are learned in failure and so no matter what happens for young people you have lots of time and energy for recovery.
Older people of course have credibility, along with many of the experience related advantages that age typically deliver. The difficulty in doing innovation later in life is a predisposition to standing true to what has experientialy taught you is the right or wrong way to do things. If you have responsibilities like a wife, home, payments, children or demanding lifestyle requirements you are severely impaired. You will also find it hard to get friends, family and others involved in the idea stage of your business because most are already consumed by their own needs and habits. Therefore you will be challenged to find allies and resources if you do not already possess them. Finally you will need to address the demands that starting something new will place on your time, energy and money so that you not sacrifice all of them for your adventure.
After speaking to both sides of the issue my answer would be that no matter if one is young or old there are right and wrong ways to start. You need to have a brain trust and mentors at either age. You need a passion greater than money. You need family and friends whom you love deeply and who return love in the same way. All entrepreneurs need intelligence, discipline and an internal drive for action and change. Finally all who engage in startups will be favored by a faith in God. The reason is that in order to build valuable enterprises, strategies, trusting and faithful relationships and teams you can trust while staying committed and faithful to your personal values, family and friends you will need morals, ethics and a constant friend to help deal with the many hard quetions you will certainly face. Even though this is an opinion I hope that helps to engage people thinking about starting businesses to think of all that is required vs the perceived reward.
Great answers. I started my business at age 40 and my husband started his own business a year ago at age 62. We both had so much experience in our fields that we found it easy to launch our businesses. We work long hours and so far we are ablle to keep up. He is 63 now and I am now 62. Being in your sixties requires you get enough sleep to keep up the pace, but we love it.
I just wanted to give away my suggestions here. Starting a business requires the ability, knowledge and the will power to the most. These would be the prominent ones to get-go with a new business aside the "age", I believe.
To be more practical, if you are meant to have the accomplishments you could just commence on, and lead through experiencing a progress with a simple solution - "hiring a subordinate". You'd then command and have your work done by your adjunct.
Nothing matters regarding the age. It's all that your "action" speaks louder!
I'm a "mature" entrepreneur with 10 yrs industry experience, and my business partner decided to venture out on his own after 20 years. We work with a small team of college interns and team members with 1-2 yrs experience. Until now, the mix works well - the oldies spend a little more time thinking about the fuzzy stuff like long term business goals and business risks; whereas the kids are raring to go and get things done. So, IMHO, you need a healthy mix of experience and youth to get a great startup going.
According to an extensive research conducted by Founders Institute ( http://fi.co ), the older you start the better the success rate.
Col. Sanders started his business at around the age of 40, and ventured into franchising KFC at around the age of 65. There are plenty of other case studies and examples (Founder Institute studied about 1000 of them).
Once there is passion, focus, and drive, age becomes irrelevant.
That's a difficult one. It depends on the entrepreneur.
With age comes experience meaning (hopefully) a better judgement, larger business network and knowing what shortcuts to take.
But often age also means larger expense account, family commitments etc making it harder to afford the no-income early stages.
So to (over?) generalize it; Starting early means more tolerance to low income and failure. Starting late mean (hopefully) better experience and increased chance of success...
I can only speak for myself. Just turned 50, 4th startup. 2 daughters, early teens. I know the thin line balancing that has to be done. But love every minute of it :)
So I'd go for starting with experience and business network that come with age.
It is impossible for me to imagine how it would be more difficult to start a business when one is older. In my experience, while extraordinarily difficult, it is easier when one is older at least into one's 60s (and probably much beyond that). I think it is not so much about stamina as about authentic dauntlessness (well reasoned, informed by experience).
Another question, more pertinent in my own experience, is how difficult it is to start a new business relative to seeking or sustaining employment in someone else's business as a function of age. The answer to this question is much more clear I think. Starting one's own business is relatively easier and increasingly so with age, certainly beyond 50.
In any case, if one has a solid case for a business, there isn't much reason to wait (especially these days because the case may disappear). If one is wise enough at a young age to realize the risks of one's own lack of experience, the solution is to hire people who are smarter or wiser than oneself. This is a good rule at any age or level.
It will be interesting to hear about the opinions and experience of others. Thanks for the question.
Getting in a little late to the conversation, but I find the fact that you are asking the question in the first place to be very interesting.
Put aside the "long hours" and "stamina" and ask why you're throwing up roadblocks even before you get started. The question seems to be coming from a place of fear, rather than from a place in the heart. The reason why we start a business vary from person to person, but for the most part, we start them because it's what we want to do - it's our passion, dream, and motivation, all rolled into one.
You sound like you doubt yourself and your capabilities. If you do what you want to do, then it's not really work, is it? The answer there may vary, but the point is, the work is easier if it's something you really want to be doing. Make a difference. Change someone's life. Help others to succeed. If you are doing those, how fearful do you think you might be?
Starting a business is a challenge no matter when you start it. The real question is - If I do what I love to do, does the rest matter?
I wish you all the best successes!
I recommend starting a business once you find something with which you have a passion and which meets the needs of others ... regardless of age. Each person's definition of 'older' is probably different. A teenage whizkid entrepreneur is going to think someone in their 30s is old. Life is too short to wait if you have a passion and desire to make a difference as an entrepreneur. If you're young, then balance out your team with some seasoned mentors. If you're not-so-young, then bring on some younger members if you feel the need. Many people mistakenly think of entrepreneurship as an individual endeavor - it's a team sport.
Wow, lot's of great answers. I had a career at a large company for years before starting my own small business. I think there are always challenges. Younger people usually don't have the network, experience or initial capital that can help. But, as you get older you often have more financial obligations, like a mortgage and family, so it's much harder to choose such a risky path. But, I think the key is to plan properly. I've seen hugely success entrepreneurs of all ages.