Q. I am in my 50s and have always wanted to start my own business. Am I too old?
A. Definitely not!
Many great businesses have been started by people with little experience behind them. In fact, starting a business at age 50 is a growing trend for women in the UK. Phenomenal happened growth in self-employment of women over 50 since the financial crash of 2008. They account for most of the 172,000 new British businesses that have since been started by women. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why most of the women I work with now are over 50 years old!
For many more than fifty startups, self-employment opens up new opportunities. For some, this is an alternative to accessing your savings. Other people may come to this decision if they are fired or simply want to make the most of their lives. Some people have a lifelong dream and only work up the courage to pursue it when they reach middle age. They think to themselves “If I don’t do it now, when will I do it?”
There are various psychological theories regarding the stages we go through in life. One of them describes the last stage of life, when we choose between disappointment or satisfaction. Starting a business in your 50s can be very rewarding and, of course, scary.
However, there are many ways to minimize the associated risks that can be learned along the way. Good planning, adequate support, and the opportunity to ask questions are invaluable. I believe that some of the biggest strengths that an entrepreneur can use are skills, knowledge and experience gained over time that can be transferred to a new situation. Knowing what you don’t want can be just as important as knowing what you are doing. Priorities and values tend to be established and honed after going through life’s inevitable lessons.
The good news is that more than half of the people who start a business over 50s say they are happier than ever. Help and advice is also available there – and here on the Prowess website we have many case studies of “old entrepreneurs” who are successfully starting a business and enjoying their new independent lifestyle.
Being your own boss at any age can be very rewarding. This summer, I unexpectedly saw 80-year-old Mary Berry perform in front of thousands of people, and she was brilliant, funny and talented. Age, as they say, is just a number. And if you need more inspiration, check out this great article: 10 Reasons to Start a Business in Your 50s.