Many people over 50 who have retired (either voluntarily or involuntarily) aren’t ready to stop working just yet. They feel like they’ve still got plenty to contribute. However, they want to do it on their terms and put their time and energy toward something they’re passionate about.
For many older people, that means starting their own business. That takes a lot of time, work and possibly capital. However, the chances of success for new business owners over 50 is double what it is for people under 25, according to the Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship — an organization started by a 70-year-old woman.
One author who’s an expert on later-in-life career transitions says that a big advantage that older entrepreneurs have is experience. Sadly, many companies don’t recognize the value of an employee with decades of experience, so getting another job after being laid off in your 50s or even 40s can be challenging.
Years of experience in the workplace can also give older entrepreneurs a better perspective than younger ones. The author says, “You’ve been through some ups and downs. You can bring some balance that a younger person can’t, who doesn’t have your world experience.”
Older people who start their own businesses also have decades worth of contacts, including former colleagues, bosses and clients. They can provide valuable guidance and support.
Another advantage that older entrepreneurs have over younger ones is often a healthy amount of savings that can be used to fund their start-up. However, you should never throw your entire life savings into it. That’s a risk no one should take. There are plenty of free resources out there for aspiring business owners of all ages. Look for those and take advantage of them.
Consider a partnership. It may be wise to look for someone who can complement your experience and skills. For example, if you aren’t as tech-savvy as you need to be or perhaps don’t have the energy to go out on daily sales calls, it may be wise to partner with a younger person. Choosing the right partner (no matter what their age) is crucial. This needs to be someone you trust, who shares your goals and who will carry their weight.
Starting a new business requires sound legal guidance. It’s essential to find an experienced attorney who can help you with contracts, employment agreements and much more.