gettyYou’d be amazed how many people want to be entrepreneurs. You’d be even more amazed to learn this enthusiasm exists across all age groups. In fact, according to one study1, one in four over the age of 65 possess an “entrepreneurial intention,” while nearly one in five the age of 50 feel the same.
Certainly, when you imagine the typical entrepreneur, you picture the likes of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Apple
), and Bill Gates (Microsoft
). While young entrepreneurs have received much of the press, remember that Ray Kroc (McDonald’s), Colonel Sanders (Kentucky Fried Chicken) and Leo Goodwin (GEICO) were all in their 50s and 60s when they started their respective firms.
Indeed, a recent research paper2 concludes, “the ‘batting average’ for creating successful firms is rising dramatically with age. …a 50-year-old founder is 1.8 times more likely to achieve upper-tail growth than a 30-year-old founder. Founders in their early 20s have the lowest likelihood of successful exit or creating a 1 in 1,000 top growth firm.”
A lot can be said of these figures, but it’s possible that with age comes experience, and with experience comes marketable value. The allure of these dollars might be too tempting for those looking to find a way to counter the effects of inflation. This is especially true for those in or near their retirement years.
“Starting your own side business offers you a way to share your passions with the world while earning some additional income,” says Liz Miller, Director of Communications at GetSetUp in San Francisco. “It not only helps to keep you mentally and physically engaged as you handle regular tasks to make it a success, but it also helps you to form a routine and community. Staying mentally, physically, and socially healthy while having a sense of purpose and not being burdened with financial issues help everyone to age better!”
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This doesn’t mean starting a business is easy—at any age.
Chances are if you’re thinking about entrepreneurship while on the cusp of retirement or into your early retirement years, you have experience but not necessarily the experience of previously launching a business. Without that knowledge, starting a business can seem a daunting task.
What is the hardest thing about starting a business?
“The main difficulty of starting a business lies in knowing what you don’t know,” says Abhishek Pakhira, Chief Operating Officer at Aureus Tech Systems in Greenwood Village, Colorado. “There are many steps involved that the average budding entrepreneur doesn’t know about. It’s much easier when you’ve launched a business before.”
Don’t worry. It’s that first step that’s the trickiest.