Increasingly, we see the 50+ generation turning their hand to running their own business. For some, it is because ageism has blocked their access to mainstream employment, but for the vast majority, it is because they want the freedom as well as the opportunity to give back to their community.
There are a couple of definite advantages to running your own business in mid-life:
Ageism is not a factor in entrepreneurship. If your customer wants your product or service, they are not going to stop and ask how old you are.
You have a 30- to 40-year work history incorporating all the wealth of experience that goes with it.
You have a network extending right back to when you started working. If you remain in the same industry, or become a supplier to the industry you previously worked in, you will also have a large body of industry knowledge which you can capitalize on.
With age comes perspective and the ability to see the bigger picture. This can be extremely useful when you are starting up a small business. Without this perspective, many small businesses flounder because they do not understand where they fit in the global view.
Most of us, when we reach the last chapter of our life, feel that we want to leave a legacy and are driven by a need to contribute or give back to the community that enabled us in our earlier years. Running your own business offers the opportunity to help others.
Whether it is through mentoring the younger generations, offering employment to other boomers, or simply filling an important need in the market, there are plenty opportunities to utilize your skills and experience to make a meaningful contribution.
After 60, most of us are working to supplement an income, rather than to build investments, which allows us flexibility.
For example, Jess needs $1,000 dollars each month to bring her retirement income up to the level where she can maintain the standard of living she had when she was working full-time.
If she decides to consult or coach at $50 dollars an hour, that means she is only looking to sell 20 hours per month to bring in the income she needs. This allows far greater flexibility in her work routine.
Many people who start businesses later in life begin by building on a passion or a hobby which means it is much more inspirational.
You may not have much in the way of experience as an entrepreneur, but do not downplay what you have learned over a life of working. Spending some time working out what those skills are will stand you in good stead as you start your own business when you retire.
Hindsight is 20/20 vision, I know, but if I had thought all this through before I retired, I would not have gone through a slump in income as I struggled to get a hold in the marketplace.
There is much you can do in terms of business planning and drawing up a marketing strategy while you are still employed. In this way, as you walk away from your job, you can transition smoothly to becoming an entrepreneur.
I realise that if you are working full time and focussing on finishing projects and succession planning it is not always easy to find the energy and time. But you owe it to yourself, because starting your own business in mid-life can be very rewarding.
What would you do as an entrepreneur? Are you doing it? Why not? What’s stopping you to fulfil your dream/passion? If you have already started your own business, what benefits do you see? Please share with our community!
Tags Small Business