Sometimes it might feel like you must be in your early twenties to start a business (and be a hoodie wearing male starting a technology business). That’s the kind of start-up story we often hear about in the media and the kind of story that Hollywood just loves.
Being in your 30’s it might still seem reasonable to start a business, but does being a woman, in her 40’s, 50’s or even 60’s, mean you are too late and missed out on the opportunity to start a business?
Age should not be a limiting factor when starting a business.
In reality, that twentysomething-year-old who starts and builds a mega successful company is the minority of entrepreneurs.
Young entrepreneurs have many positive attributes such as youthful energy, enthusiasm and innovation. But an older entrepreneur has many advantages over youth, and that is experience and a larger network of both business and personal contacts.
Experience and networks matter.
Experience helps you make better choices to take your business forward and reaching out to your connections for support and guidance will help a business succeed.
Experience comes from all aspects of life, not just your developed professional skill set. With age we gain a vast range of experience. Personally, most of my life experience has come from the challenges of being a parent which has taught me patience, compassion, counselling skills, listening skills and empathy (amongst many other things). We should never underestimate the value of interpersonal skills, people with strong interpersonal skills are often more successful in business.
Maturity only comes with age and from years of life and work experience. As we mature we get less unsettled by problems when they occur and become more adaptable to change. And change and problems are all part of business ownership.
Being older we are much more aware of our weaknesses and strengths. This means we are often comfortable with not having to take everything onboard ourselves and are more likely to outsource services to compensate for weakness and in addition place a high value on external expertise. Again, this all helps with business success.
An older entrepreneur has another advantage, in that they may see a niche or have identified a gap in the market. Filling a gap in the market is a classic key success factor in business.
Fear of failure is common and this fear can stop us from taking the necessary steps to fulfil a dream, such as starting a business. But fear of failure is sneaky and can be cleverly disguised, and instead of honestly saying to ourselves “I’m afraid to start a business” we may say things like ”I am too old to start a business”.
Don’t let age ever stop you from starting a business. Age brings with it the qualities that will only increase your chance of business success.