When you think about entrepreneurs, you might think about those who forgo the college experience to chase their dreams. However, the idea that all successful entrepreneurs are vivacious, twenty-somethings is a myth. In fact, a 2018 study by MIT showed that the average age of startup founders in three separate divisions was 42, 43 and 45.1
Entrepreneurs have to be creative and passionate. These qualities do not have an age limit. In addition, experienced workers are directed and focused. They are able to use their experience to determine what will and will not work in their field. With the assistance of a degree in entrepreneurship, experienced individuals can pursue their business and entrepreneurship goals with confidence.
What “Older” Entrepreneurs Have Accomplished
You are never too old to be an entrepreneur — and a successful one at that. Here are some of the business founders that prove age is just a number:
- Netflix CEO Reed Hastings started Netflix DVD rental at age 37 and Netflix streaming when he was 47.2
- The founders of McDonald’s, The Coca-Cola Company and Kentucky Fried Chicken were all over the age of 50 when they launched these businesses.3
- Geico Insurance was founded by Leo Goodwin when he was 50.4
- At age 52, Carol Gardner founded the Zelda Wisdom greeting card company.5
Why Consider Later in Life Entrepreneurship
It is not too late to become an entrepreneur. In fact, it might be just the right time. There are many reasons why entrepreneurs who are older can have great success in business. Here are just a few of those reasons.
1. You Have Lived Through Ups and Downs
Starting a business is no simple task. It takes perseverance and a belief that you can succeed despite the obstacles. They know how to look toward the future and work toward goals despite setbacks. In fact, many older people start working for themselves because of layoffs, forced retirement or recession. Resilience is a necessary quality for becoming an entrepreneur and experienced individuals can utilize this developed trait as they build their business.
2. You Have More Experience
It takes confidence to be an entrepreneur, and behind that confidence is usually life experience. To be successful, you must have confidence in your business plan and your own ability to execute it. Older entrepreneurs have a vast array of experience and can make educated guesses about how things will turn out based on those previous events.
3. You Have a Wider Network
Older entrepreneurs know more people. Throughout your lifetime you have amassed quite a few friends, family members, colleagues and acquaintances. You have sought professional development and worked on building up your network — and everyone you know has their own network. This makes your circle far-reaching. Younger people may be friends with more people online, but entrepreneurs who have been in business a long time typically know more people who will be able to lend a hand in business.
How to Become an Entrepreneur
While life experience is one step toward becoming an entrepreneur, several other things are equally important.
Pick an Idea
First, pick a business idea. What is something you are passionate about? Choose something that you feel needs to be shared with the world and something that will benefit many. A lot of successful startups begin with someone who found a problem they really wanted to solve and found several other great team members who were passionate about it, too. Take your time brainstorming and really think about what you would like to pursue.
Now that you have your idea, do some networking. As previously mentioned, if you've been in business for a while, you may have amassed a fair number of professional connections. This is essential because networking and establishing advisors, lawyers, graphic designers, investors and other key players will help you start your business.
Organize Your Business
Now that you have your business idea and a handful of key players, it is time to get serious. Now is the time to organize your business ideas, decide on the location of your business, the budget, get a tax ID number, open a business bank account and develop a sales and marketing plan.
Promote Your Business
Promoting your business is essential for success. If no one knows about it or has a reason to care about it, you are very unlikely to gain the revenue you need to be successful. Utilize the creative people you know to help make merchandise, run social media accounts, make promotional videos and find marketing solutions. Social media is an ideal way to promote your business. However, creating a website, developing internet marketing, blog posts, emails and newsletters can also be very beneficial; make sure you're choosing the approach that works best for your target audience.
Achieving a successful business doesn't mean your entrepreneurship stops there. Continue growing your company and help others with their business ideas. Strive to help better the community surrounding your business. Consider earning your BS in Entrepreneurship Studies or continue your education with a business master's degree to deepen your skills as a business professional.
To learn more about how Grand Canyon University’s Bachelor of Science in Applied Entrepreneurship degree provides entrepreneurs will all the skills for success, click the Request More Information Button on this page.
1MIT, The 20-year-old entrepreneur is a lie in January 2021.
2Britannica, Reed Hastings in February 2021.
3The Economic Times, Five founders who started late but went the distance in February 2021.
4Kazan Today, Leo Goodwin in February 2021.
5Entrepreneur, Older Entrepreneurs Who Fight Fear Find the Bravery to Embrace Hope in February 2021.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.