Being a member of an older generation can be an unnecessary stumbling block to many would-be entrepreneurs who believe their age prevents them from starting a new career path. How many birthdays you’ve celebrated should not be a deciding factor when deciding to become your own boss, since many highly successful entrepreneurs today didn’t start their own business in high school, in their 20’s, or even 30’s. Some very successful entrepreneurs began their career at a much later age, after building up their level of knowledge and experience by working a regular job for many years.
Older entrepreneurs often possess the life and career experience that their younger contemporaries lack. This wealth of experience can be very valuable when it comes to earning money, making the older entrepreneur a savvy and skillful business person. However, fear may block an older person from starting their own business. They hold back not only because of a fear of failure but from a fear of what others will think. Some would-be older entrepreneurs are afraid that if they suddenly attempted to start a new business at such a “late date” they will be judged a fool. A lack of self-confidence persuades them to hesitate in pursuing anything that may be perceived as a mistake or make them look foolish in the eyes of others, especially loved ones.
Fear-based thinking can haunt the older entrepreneur, especially if they live in a culture or family that places a lot of emphasis on youth or a way of life where older people are expected to “retire” after a certain age. Also, it’s not uncommon for family members and friends to regard a person desiring to become an entrepreneur as something of an eccentric or rebel. Also, some family members may heartily resent any disruption in the family’s present income stream and having to pinch pennies until the new business begins to make a profit. They may voice negative opinions of the budding entrepreneur which can fuel arguments within the family circle.
Anticipating this sort of reaction from family members can generate much fear and negativity in the mind and emotions of the older person who longs to be their own boss. It can cause them to give up striving to make their business startup a reality. However, if the would-be entrepreneur allows other people, even close family members, to put such restrictions on their career, it can cause a lot of anger and resentment in the future.
In spite of these mental and emotional drawbacks, the older entrepreneur has many advantages over their younger counterparts. On average, they have more established credit, borrowing power, mortgage equity, and money saved that they can use for startup costs for their new business. Older entrepreneurs with years of experience in their area of expertise can see the big picture and identify opportunities that a recent college graduate with limited exposure could not identify. Also, older entrepreneurs tend to have larger networks in place they have established over time that they can rely upon for help with problems they may encounter.
“Remember, wealth has nothing to do with money, success has everything to do with failure and life is as simple as you make it.” – John Dessauer