If we’re not rich by our mid-20s, are you really going to be able to make it as an entrepreneur in this day and age? How can you have that “youthful vibe” brands seem to exude in your 40s, 50s, and beyond? I’m here to tell you that you’re not too old to start a business!
You’re Not Too Old To Start a Business
“Top 30 under 30” and similar publications can really have an effect on us. Nothing makes you think “I’m not doing enough” or worse, “I’m too old to be successful” than seeing someone who’s a millionaire at 25 doing something you couldn’t possibly have done at that age. I’m turning 30 in just a few months, so not terribly old by today’s standards, and even I’m wondering if I’m already passed my prime in the trendy business world.
But I can’t let that kind of negative thinking discourage me, and neither can you!
There’s a huge amount of media bias, or at least focus on the ultra young and their success. Because of this, it’s easy to have your perception skewed as to what’s real, and what’s the exception. Guess what? Those young entrepreneurs are exceptional, that’s why the focus is on them.
Here’s some facts:
What’s the average age to start a business?
This one is going to surprise you. Care to take a guess?
Personally, I would have assumed it would be somewhere in their 30s. Seems like a time where people are ambitious and starting out their careers, or established enough in something to go off on their own.
Turns out the answer is 42. (source)
So if you start your business before that, you’re actually younger than average. Now, I know enough about statistics (thanks university level management/econ stats class) to know that that might be the mean age, but there are always deviations from the mean and outliers.
What am I saying? If someone can start a business at 22, then they’re 20 years younger than the mean. That has the same statistical significance as someone who starts a business at 62.
42 is the average age, but you can deviate from the average.
But those are any kinds of businesses (there’s more)
They also found that with the most successful start ups, meaning the top performers in their first 5 years, were started by business owners that are even older. The average age for successful start ups was 45. (source)
This further reinforces the fact that young people starting successful businesses are the exception, not the rule.
What advantage does age have
Well for starter, those around middle age have more life experience and wisdom to apply to their business. They might have certain business related skills, time management, or even be well connected.
Although not always, they might have more finances available too. If they have money saved from their career, or access or credit, this might help. Maybe they’ve paid off their mortgage and have less expenses. That sort of thing. We’re not talking about those born with a silver spoon like Kylie Jenner, here.
Time is also on their side. Kids may be older or even moved out. They’re not in the “thick of it” like younger folks. But they’re still young enough to be energetic and ambitious with running their business.
They know their limitations and when to hire help
One thing I really respect about anyone established in a successful business or who’s a bit older (and wiser) than I am is their understanding of when to hire out and when to DIY. Although plenty of people still make this mistake at any age (and likewise hold the skill), it’s something I definitely see more with those who have more life experience.
When they encounter something they don’t understand, and it’s a skill they won’t need to use regularly (or their time would be better spent somewhere else) they simply hire it out. That might be hiring someone who design your website or handle your content (like me) or paying someone to clean your house while you log a few more hours at the office.
They have realistic expectations
A lot of young people (and I’ve seen this first hand) are chasing get rich quick schemes and other lofty business goals, even if they don’t realize they’re doing it. They tend to be heavily influenced by social media and the clout some people seem to carry, without realizing that there isn’t a lot of sustenance in what they’re saying.
A business is more than just starting an online brand, after all.
When someone has experience in the world, and especially if they’ve had the opportunity to watch businesses come and go and the world change, they’re more likely to set realistic goals and have contingency plans for set backs. When they’re not doing as well as they planned they reevaluate rather than call it a failure.
They also establish realistic businesses to begin with, ones that actually offer a service or good that people will want/need and can grow.
Younger people are awesome too
I have to put this here because I’m working really hard right now to go to school and build a successful brand and business of my own (after years of building brands for everyone else). In April 2020 I’ll be turning 30, kind of a big deal milestone birthday but still 12-15 years away from small business start up average or success age.
That doesn’t mean I can’t, or shouldn’t do it, or that I don’t possess enough skills!
So what can you do at any age if you feel like you’re lacking skills another age bracket has?
Find yourself a mentor or coach.
This might mean reading industry books or personal accounts, listening to podcasts, following pages on social media, or finding an actual physical mentor who can advise you.
The best part of this is you can get skills in either direction! I rely on more established and wise people to offer their advice, experience, and perspective on certain subjects I’m lacking in. Likewise, I offer skills and insight to other generations who might not be as “tech savvy” as I am.
If we work together, we can all learn something.Erika F.
Are you trying to launch your business but need a little bit of help? Get in touch with me to see how I can help.