Why It’s Never Too Late To Become An Entrepreneur
Many people think that entrepreneurship is a young person’s game. This assumption is probably because when people think of successful entrepreneurs, the ones that immediately come to mind are college dropouts like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerburg and Michael Dell. However, college dropout entrepreneurs are the exception, and there is data to back it up. A study by the Kauffman Foundation led by Syracuse University professor Carl Schramm revealed that the average entrepreneur was 39 when he or she started a company.
Not only that, Schramm said that “Americans who are 35 or older are 50% more likely to start a business than are their younger counterparts”. Also, recent research led by Javier Miranda of the U.S. Census Bureau and Pierre Azoulay of MIT indicated that for the top 0.1% of fastest growing new businesses in the U.S., the average age of the founder in the business’ first year was 45. So, in a nutshell, it’s never too late to become an entrepreneur. In fact, it could be an advantage to start a business mid-career.
Starting a business mid-career could be an advantage for many reasons. The Kauffman Foundation study found that entrepreneurs starting businesses mid-career were five times more likely to enjoy success five years later than entrepreneurs starting businesses right out of college. This is because management experience is great training to become an entrepreneur. Once you’re in your 30s or beyond, you’ve acquired strong skills, contacts and industry-specific knowledge that you can apply to a new business. You are more likely to be financially stable so that you can potentially self-fund your new company, allowing you to incur minimal debt and have greater stability.
Modern Aging: Senior Entrepreneurship–Is It For You?
On the one hand, there’s a lot of Rah-Rah in favor of senior entrepreneurs these days. On the other hand, there’s the ageist assumption that entrepreneurship is a young person’s game, that olders are not creative or energetic or visionary enough to be entrepreneurs – the “Gloom and Doom” scenario.
- The highest rate of entrepreneurship worldwide – not just in America, where 34 million seniors want to start a business – has shifted to the 55–64 age group. Entrepreneurial activity among the over 50s increased by more than 50% since 2008.
- Entrepreneurs over 50 are almost twice as likely to found successful companies than those between 20 and 34. GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor)
- Creativity often increases with age.
- Older people bring “the experience dividend,” plus know-how, networks, and financial capital – i.e., money.
- “Experieneurship” – Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship
15 Best Startup Books You Should Read in 2021
Whether you’re just starting a business or are a veteran entrepreneur, startup books are one of the many ways to get inspiration and to stay motivated. If you think you’re in over your head, or are just plain curious about what others have been through, startup books are a great resource full of entrepreneur advice, strategies, and inspiration. There are so many options to choose from, though, that selecting just a few to check out from your local library can become an overwhelming task in itself.
That’s why we’re here to help. This list includes some of the best startup books to help you get your business off the ground, find VC funding, be a supportive leader, and stay inspired—no matter the problems you’re facing.
“The Startup Owner’s Manual” by Steve Blank: The startup process laid out in “The Startup Owner’s Manual” is taught at elite universities such as Stanford, Berkeley, and Columbia. Luckily, you can get those lessons without paying for tuition, making this one of the best startup books on our list.
While most people view starting a business as a nebulous, complicated process, it’s not. This book lays out each step you need to take to get a successful startup business into operation. With over 100 charts and graphs and 77 checklists, this startup book gives you specific, actionable steps to start a business.
“My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long University education that I never had — every day I’m learning something new.” – Richard Branson, founder Virgin Group
Designer Vera Wang on starting her company at 40: ‘I thought maybe it’s just too late for me’
Vera Wang has dressed everyone from the Kardashians to Michelle Obama and women around the world covet her wedding gowns, which cost thousands of dollars.
But Wang’s success — even her career as a fashion designer — still comes as a surprise to her.
“If anyone had said, [I’d be] the girl who didn’t get married until she was 40 [and] would build a business based on wedding gowns, I would have laughed,” Wang, tells CNBC Make It
Indeed, Wang’s biggest success came later in life. Growing up, Wang lived a privileged life with her Chinese immigrant parents on Manhattan’s Upper East side.
At 7, she started figure skating and excelled. But after failed attempts to make the Olympics, Wang eventually turned to her attention to her other passion: fashion.
How to Use a 401K to Fund a Start Up Business
If your dreams of starting a business are bigger than your startup budget, you may be glancing at your 401(k) retirement nest egg as potential seed money. You’ve resisted the impulse to withdraw your retirement funds until now, but you know it could make your business dream a reality. If you’re ready to take the plunge, make sure you have all your legal ducks in a row before you withdraw money from a 401(k) for a business startup.
After diligently saving money in a 401(k) account for your retirement years, the thought of losing it can be daunting. As long as your nest egg is safely tucked in your 401(k), your comfort level of enjoying the funds in retirement is likely pretty high. But if you use this money for a startup, you may want to brace yourself for a sobering reality check.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent of new businesses fail in their first year, and 50 percent fail in their fifth year. Staring in the face of a 50-50 proposition that your startup will fail after five years may send you looking for other funding options so you can preserve your 401(k) nest egg.
How Entrepreneurs Can Manage Their Business Finances With Success
Entrepreneurship can be an enriching journey, and with the right skills, it can also be financially rewarding. With that journey comes more responsibility and hard work that, hopefully, pays off in the end. Smart entrepreneurs do what they can to ensure the success of their business.
While working towards the success of their businesses, entrepreneurs need to be mindful of both business finances and personal finances. Many entrepreneurs need to rely on personal financing to back their businesses, especially startup business, so financial management needs to be a top priority. As Matt D’Angelo wrote for Business News Daily, “The most important step for any business owner is to educate themselves. By understanding the basic skills needed to run a small business — like doing simple accounting tasks, applying for a loan or drafting financial statements — business owners can create a stable financial future. In addition to education, staying organized is a major component of sound money management.”
Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs tend to overlook the need to manage their finances and know their numbers. When you have this skill mastered, you will be more likely to save money and keep your business profits.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
How to Increase Productivity as a Home Business Entrepreneur
Running a business from home brings with it a whole host of benefits, but it also has its cons. When your business takes place at home, it’s very easy for household demands to overshadow business needs. This is a common challenge for every home business entrepreneur.
So what’s the best way to run a company from the comfort of your home while ensuring productivity and a healthy work ethic? Eleven members of Young Entrepreneur Council shared their insights by answering the following question:
What’s one productivity tip you’d offer someone trying to start a business at home, and why?
A Message from Acceler8Success Founder, Paul Segreto
Success… It Starts and Grows With a Vision
In an interview, I was asked my opinion about why some Private Equity firms fail in their efforts at operating what was originally considered a successful franchise system, while others take the system to even higher levels of success… As you’ll see by my response below, I actually started at the end and worked backwards. But in the end there is a common theme and its built around relationships, or lack thereof. Certainly, systems play a big part in the success equation but losing sight of “people” is a sure way to create a disconnect, even within the most perfect systems. My response and theory may be too simple for many to agree, but I do feel it lends towards the foundation of any successful business in one way, shape, fashion or form.
All too often you hear about founders buying out the Private Equity firm. I personally, know of two that have done so recently, and for different reasons. And, even though only one was a franchise company, there was a common denominator in the circumstances that had developed within the organizations that led to the founders deciding to buy out the PEs… the “parent” company lost sight of its relationship with its “employees & franchisees” and the end-users, “clients & customers”.
My opinion is that “true” mom & pop operations are typically built upon the foundation of relationships, and it’s the strength of those relationships that build the foundation of a strong organization complete with common beliefs, values and mission. It definitely becomes an interdependent relationship. I have rarely seen that occur when PEs get involved where it’s more numbers, numbers, numbers. Don’t get me wrong, numbers are important. But, it’s the lack of balance between driving towards making the numbers and building relationships that is often missing. Ultimately causing rifts in the organization with the customer or client feeling the lingering effect of diminishing service levels.
“The important thing is not being afraid to take a chance. Remember, the greatest failure is to not try. Once you find something you love to do, be the best at doing it.” – Debbi Fields, found Mrs. Fields Cookies
4 Mental Exercises That Lead to Entrepreneurial Success
Success does not come easy. It takes guts, vision, and perseverance. If you want to build a successful business, it is important to know that up front, and to arm yourself with both mindsets and mental exercises that can keep you on the right track. Here are four mental exercises that can keep you motivated and emotionally stable while you go through the ups and downs of building a business.
Mental health gurus often preach the importance of gratitude. Humans are in the nasty habit of comparing themselves to one another, which breeds envy and discontent. It takes a conscious effort to focus on what we have rather than what we do not have, and when we can redirect our minds to the gratitude we are often much happier.
When it comes to establishing a mindset that leads to success, consciously expressing gratitude for the difficult journey is vital. Every person on the planet yearns for an easy path through life, but easy paths do not lead to success. If you can switch your thinking from “This is difficult, I am uncomfortable and I hate this,” to “I love how hard this is because easy roads will not get me to where I want to go,” it will help you persevere through the most challenging moments. Appreciating the struggle means that you recognize there is no easy way to the top. Appreciate the difficulty and appreciate yourself for committing to it.
What to Do When Your Work Ethic Is Affecting Your Family
My research suggests that workaholism has devastating systemic effects on other family members that can be as severe as — or even more severe than — the familial effects of alcoholism. But there is one major difference between the spouses and children of alcoholics and those who live with workaholics: Clinicians give the partners and children of alcoholics understanding, professional help, and referrals to self- help programs like Al-Anon. When the partners and children of workaholics complain, they get blank looks. Therapists — some of whom are workaholics themselves — often suggest that the partner simply accept and adapt to the workaholic’s schedule or tell the spouse not to be a “pop psychologist.”
Asked what a spouse can do to change a workaholic, one management consultant gave some less than helpful advice in a popular magazine interview: “Family members should make every effort to be exposed to the workaholic’s work world. They should meet for lunch if possible. Even a small child can be taken to the office, shop or lab on a weekend. To make time together enjoy- able, they must simplify household chores — pay bills and shop by phone, for example, and buy a microwave oven. Most important, they should anticipate spending a lot of time on their own. As one stockbroker told me, ‘I may be a lousy father, but when Merrill Lynch needs me, I’m here.’
The message here is to center your life around the workaholic and his or her work schedule, join in the addiction whenever possible, and settle for being alone a lot. In other words, bite the bullet and enable the problem to continue.