Boss Lady

Why age is just a number when it comes to entrepreneurship


When you hear the word “entrepreneur,” who comes to mind? If you are like most people, you probably think of someone young, perhaps in their 20’s, and, in many cases, male. The reality is though that entrepreneurship is far more diverse — and older — than you might think. According to the most recent statistics, entrepreneurs are almost evenly split in terms of gender, and the average age of the typical new business owner is 40.

So why is it that so many people look at starting a business as a younger person’s game? And by the same token, why do so many people think they are “too old” to start a new business? The fact is that when it comes to being a successful entrepreneur, it’s less about how old you are and more about what new and exciting ideas you have to bring to the market. While there are certainly advantages to starting a business younger, there are also some that come with getting a few years of experience under your belt. It all depends on your perspective — which when it comes to launching a successful business, should be that age is nothing but a number.

Looking at the options: Starting young

One of the major advantages to starting your business in your younger years (i.e., under 35 or so) is that chances are, you have fewer responsibilities at this point and thus can devote yourself more fully to your business. During this time in your life, it’s possible to spend 18 hours in the office getting ready for a launch or spend 75 percent of your time on the road because you haven’t yet started a family — not to mention, you still have the energy and physical stamina for that kind of work. Taking on the world when you are younger is exciting, and your priorities are different than they will be when you hit your late 30s and 40s, or beyond. Your focus is entirely on you and building your own empire, so you won’t be asking yourself “How hard is an MBA really?” when presented with the opportunity to get an advanced degree. You’ll be asking “Why shouldn’t I do this now?”

Starting when you’re young often means that you have less capital to work with, but it also helps you learn to be frugal. And when you aren’t worried about college funds and mortgages, you’re better positioned to have a few lean years as the company gets rolling. What you shouldn’t assume, though, is that because you are younger, you are more innovative.

The trend of older entrepreneurs

It’s a popular misconception that older people stop being innovative, or at least less accepting of innovations, as they age. Research shows, though, that older entrepreneurs (i.e., those age 40 and up) are actually just as creative, imaginative and innovative as their younger counterparts. And when combined with their years of experience in the business world, older business owners are quickly becoming a driving force in the economy.

In fact, some argue that the experience and maturity that comes with age actually makes older entrepreneurs more successful. By and large, they are less likely to require financial support for their endeavors, and they continue to make a significant contribution to the economy in the form of their own expenditures, increased tax contributions and by employing more people. Older business owners are also more risk averse, meaning that their ventures tend to be more successful more quickly and less likely to fail within the first few years.

With all of this in mind, the question then becomes one of what is the perfect age to start a business? The answer is that there really isn’t one. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world started young (Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics empire approached $1 billion before she  turned 21) while others were more experienced (Ray Kroc started McDonald’s at 54, and Sam Walton launched Walmart at 44). Whether a business succeeds or fails is less about the age of the founder and more about how well it meets the needs of the market and how well it is managed. There is potential in everyone — it’s just a matter of tapping into it and using it to its best advantage.

About Business Woman Media

Our women don’t want to settle for anything but the best. They understand that success is a journey involving personal growth, savvy optimism and the tenacity to be the best. We believe in pragmatism, having fun, hard-work and sharing inspiration. LinkedIn

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