Suddenly you find yourself without a job or being forced into retirement. You don’t want to stop working. You still have a lot to offer and a lot you want to do. You feel rejected, alone, and wondering what you’re going to do with the rest of your life.
Increasingly, people in mid-life and older are starting a business. The latest statistics show that fully 55% of new businesses were started by people 50 and over.
Many of these ventures are started as a serious business to make money and seek opportunities that fulfill their interests and passions.
Age may be a negative in the corporate world, but with age comes experience, skills, and knowledge, a valuable combination for a successful business. And the good news is no one cares about your age when you have a product they want or you offer a solution to their problem.
Three advantages of the over 50 year old entrepreneur
There are three factors working in favor of an older entrepreneur that can help you build a successful business faster.
1-Experience, education, and skills
You have years of experience from your previous job and have gained valuable skills. It doesn’t matter the level of expertise you gained. It can be anywhere from an executive level, a mid manager to a lower level. It can be from a production company, a service industry, a blue-collar or white-collar job. Your knowledge and education are a big plus you can take to your own business.
2- Network of colleagues, friends, fellow employees, and associates
Everyone can draw on their network to help start their business. With the people you know you can bounce off ideas, form a working relationship, get information or referrals. This means your business doesn’t have to start at zero. You can leverage your connections to give your business a boost, get some marketing exposure, or initial sales.
You may have a nest egg saved from all those years of working or a retirement income you can depend on while you experiment with a new business. Having financial security gives you the advantage of not having to turn a profit from day one.
Hopefully, you no longer have the financial obligation for your children, and maybe your house is paid for and free of debt. If this is true for you, you have options to put a little capital into your business or hire some talent you need to get started.
What are popular businesses to start?
The three most popular categories of new businesses are a service business- both business to consumer and business to business, a consulting/coaching business, and a web-based business- offering either physical or digital products.
The advantage of all of these businesses is that they can be started relatively easily with little upfront costs. In most cases, they can be run from a home office.
A service business is any business that helps a person or business in a special area of their life. These are not hard to find..
In your personal life, you may use a transportation service, cleaning service, interior decorator, or fitness trainer. Just about any service you use falls into this category.
In business, they are bookkeeping, graphic designer, videographer, or virtual assistants. If you have interest or skills in any of these areas, it will be easy to get started. While there is an ever-increasing demand for these services, and because it is so easy to get started – you need to set yourself apart from the competition.
This takes a little more knowledge. Many times people will consult or freelance in an area where they have previous experience, either from a job or a hobby where they have gained expertise. Some examples include providing financial planning services, IT consulting, social media marketing, or executive coaching.
Web based business.
This is an ever-increasing area for new businesses. With technology, putting up a web site, selling digital products or physical products is very accessible to almost anyone. You can start an online store selling any kind of potential item, design the product yourself or source them from any place in the world and have them drop-shipped to your customer. All with little capital investment.
If you have developed a digital product, such as a course, e-book, webinar series, or want to provide group classes on any topic, you can host it all on your website and market through email, social media, and ads.
Why starting a business is the way to go
The possibilities and opportunities are almost endless. And age isn’t a limiting factor, there’s no corporate policies or hidden prejudices. You succeed or fail on your ability. As an entrepreneur, you control your marketing, the prices you charge, and the products you offer. If you find that one idea isn’t working, you can revise any part of the business until you find the right combination.
The best part of a business is the ability to grow it as large as you want or keep it as small as you desire. You can choose to use it to supplement your income, build a large business with full-time employees. Or create passive income by leveraging your time with freelancers and virtual assistants and selling products and services that don’t consist of trading time for money.
All options are available to you after you decide to start your own venture.
What steps you need to get started
The first step is to decide what business you want to pursue. Before you start you need to know what value you bring and what problem you’re solving for your customers. When you find your unique selling proposition, you can stand out from the competition.
Once you have that clarity, I firmly believe you must know your why. Finding your deep why will be the motivation that keeps you going when things get tough and at some point, there will be some challenges . I have covered this topic before and have a free PDF worksheet to help you get clear. You can find it here.
After you decide on your business idea you’ll want to validate that there’s a desire and need for your service or product. That there is an interested, and growing group of people who will spend money to buy what you have. For a more in-depth explanation read How to Validate Your Business Idea.
Now that you validated your idea, you will want to go from the idea stage to a business. Here is a list of the 12 steps to go from an idea to starting a business.
You don’t need to do it alone
If you are starting a business after a career of being employed, you may not want to work alone and try to do everything yourself. You can hire the talent you need to get your business up and running, and you can use a Virtual Assistant to do the things that you can’t or don’t want to do.
Most important is to form a support network of mentors, coaches, or join a mastermind group made up of like-minded entrepreneurs. All three are valuable resources, and they are not mutually exclusive. The most successful entrepreneurs may engage several forms of support to help and advise them in many areas. More on this subject at The Best way to Get business Answers – Seek the Right Advice.
There are many positives for the over 50 year old starting a business. Generally, you have the advantage of age and experience, a network you can draw upon, and financial ability. Entrepreneurs can be successful at any age and in a variety of ventures.
Don’t believe you’re too old to be useful.
Go out and start your own business!
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Three Quick Things Before You Go
The Solo Entrepreneur’s Guide – Every month I share original posts and the top business advice, articles, resources, tips, and tools in my TSEG publication. Sign up here, it’s Free
Idea Finder Course – If you’re ready to move forward on starting your business and need further help to find the right business idea. Get my Idea Finder Course.
The Business Start-up Mastermind Group – A small group of ambitious and like-minded entrepreneurs who met regularly to share their wisdom, and experience to brainstorm, support, and advise each other to help each other succeed. Check it out here.