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How to Get Started as an “Olderpreneur”

Kimberley Fowler
By Kimberley FowlerMarch 30, 2018

Over the past 10 years, there has been a significant rise in the number of people over the age of 50 who have decided to take a chance and set up their own business for the first time. “Olderpreneurs” are risking it all to explore new business ventures like never before.

Business Insider, a U.S. based publication reported that over the past decade, one in three new businesses in the U.S. were started by an entrepreneur who was 50 years of age or older.

Advantages of Becoming an Olderpreneur

Making the decision to walk away from a stable career or choosing to spend your life savings and potential retirement nest egg on a new business venture is not easy and requires confidence and courage.

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It can be very stressful and time-consuming to nurture a new business and get it off the ground; however, with the proper plan in place, the benefits can be incredible.

The Financial Times reviews some of the advantages of starting your own business over the age of 50:

  • It is good for your health: A study shows that people between the ages of 50-70 were healthier if they kept on working
  • You can avoid discrimination: Age discrimination does not exist when you are your own boss, a great benefit considering nearly two-thirds of older people “believe discrimination exists in the workplace”
  • You can make your “dream job” a reality: By embarking upon a second career, you can do something that you always wanted to do
  • You have a higher chance of success: Businesses set up by people over 50 are more likely than those established by younger entrepreneurs to still be trading in five years
  • You have life experience: Nothing can beat the wealth of experience you have gathered over the course of your business and personal life.
    • A “been there, done that” perspective can be grounding when you confront inevitable challenges
  • You have more financial flexibility: Older people often have the financial means or ability to access money to fund their own business

How to Get Started

Becoming a successful “olderpreneur” takes more than a dream and money. You should have a detailed business plan in place with realistic expectations about timelines, possible bumps in the road and the amount of work required for your new business to succeed.

Entrepreneur shares four tips on how to start a successful business later in life:

  1. Don’t get discouraged. Although seniors are starting new businesses at record levels, older entrepreneurs say there’s no shortage of people who will attempt to disparage the idea of starting a business later in life, citing health concerns and other unnecessary risks. If the passion is there, stay the course. Focus on others who share your entrepreneurial spirit.
  2. If you lack a skill, partner with someone. Find a partner who knows things that you don’t. By partnering with someone who has a different skill set than you, you can cover more ground and each use your strengths.
  3. Keep things lean. As with any entrepreneur, older people who start their own business would do well to keep expenses in check, particularly at the outset.
  4. Leverage existing networks. Be sure to use your network of colleagues, family and friends throughout the launch of the company. Capitalize on their assistance and collective wisdom. Many of these people can be of help to a startup, with connections or even as a sounding board.

Do you have start-up tips or advice for “olderpreneurs”? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

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Kimberley Fowler
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