Age should be no barrier to starting a new business. The AARP mentions that more older people are embracing entrepreneurship as a way to spend their time in their old age Being a more senior entrepreneur does have its own set of challenges that one needs to overcome. Unlike those who started businesses early, older entrepreneurs may have a lot less energy to spend on their enterprise. However, what the elder entrepreneurs lack in strength, they more than make up for with their experience.
You might think that, once you’ve turned a certain age, the time for starting a business is long gone. You couldn’t be further from the truth. A study published in the Journal of Business Venturing notes that older entrepreneurs may be the more successful ones. This success might be due to several factors. Older entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of age to indulge in failures and so stand to accept less of them. It may also be because with age comes wisdom and experience. Older entrepreneurs are less likely to mistake a terrible choice for a profitable position. Even so, it does take a certain mental fortitude to become a more senior entrepreneur. This article outlines how some older entrepreneurs find the courage to be leaders at their age.
Leaving the Comfort Zone
Business owners would be aware that for a business to be successful, its founder needs to reach out beyond their comfort zone. This approach includes experimenting with their business plan like this or exploring new avenues for making a profit. Human beings have a certain level of fear that they deal with daily. Those who suffer from anxiety tend to have more fear-based reactions or have less control over how their fear interacts with them. For older business owners, the fear to experiment is a real obstacle for them to overcome.
For many business owners, dealing with the fear is as simple as reframing how they see it. Seeing yourself differently and rewarding yourself for pushing through a particular situation can be a powerful motivator. Starting a new business means forging a brand new identity for a brand along with a vision for where you see it going. It’s not something that you should take lightly, but it takes a toll on your anxiety. Pushing through that fear helps to overcome the feelings that might lead you to second-guessing yourself. Conquering fear always starts with facing it down and seeing it from a different perspective. You shouldn’t be afraid to be heading your own company. You should be proud of getting to this point. This achievement is something some people work all their lives to reach.
Be Open About Your Goals
A common trait of many people is that they compare their lives to what other people have. On the flip side of this is keeping their goals very close to the chest. Many entrepreneurs tend to do this since it allows them to fail in solitude. If no one saw you fail, then you can deny it ever happened. While this might sound like a good idea, it could turn out to be a significant issue for an older entrepreneur. Failure is part of achieving success, and by hiding those failures, you stop making yourself accountable for them. As a business owner especially, accountability should be among your top priorities. Set your goals openly, and don’t hide your attempts from others.
Psychology Today contends that people don’t share their failures with others enough. The same goes for entrepreneurs. However, for younger business owners, this is more about pride than anything else. Older entrepreneurs need to be better than that by seeing failure as a step towards success. Being open about what you hope to achieve frames your public failures and even gets you advice to make your next attempt better. Unlike younger people who have the energy and the penchant for failing time and time again, older entrepreneurs need to be shrewder with their time and attempts.
Always Push for More
Entrepreneurs are a special breed of individual. They see the way something can be improved, and they get people to improve it. They think about things from the perspective of value generation and how many people it can benefit. The entrepreneurial journey starts with overcoming fear, but you have to set new endpoints for your pursuits once you do that. When you start a business, it’s not the end of the journey but rather the beginning. All your failures and successes will stem from what you choose to challenge your enterprise with. Setting challenges doesn’t mean that you should use your business to try to solve every problem you come across. But you should figure out what are the most pressing issues your business can solve and aim for those.
The viability of a business stems from what it offers to its clients. The “more” that your business pushes to accomplish shouldn’t come from you. It should come from the people you serve. Far too often, entrepreneurs, especially older ones, spend a lot of effort trying to make the industry fit their ideals. As anyone who has ever tried to swim against a current will tell you, this is a bad idea, and you could end up hurting yourself. Instead of pushing for what you think the business should do, ask your clients what they think is the most pressing problem facing them. This perspective allows the company to develop so that its existing customers need while still challenging itself to do better. It’s a challenge supremely worth undertaking and guarantees the enterprise’s success in the future.
Knowing, Accepting, and Preparing
The culmination of an older entrepreneur’s journey comes with the development of three traits. The older entrepreneur needs to know what their business is about and what they can accomplish. It considers their physical and mental ability and what the company is capable of, thanks to its employees. Acceptance is realizing that not every goal the company set will be achieved. The entrepreneur needs to accept that sometimes failure happens, and it’s okay to fail, even publicly so. But a failure without learning from it is a complete loss. Once failures occur, the preparation stage starts. Older entrepreneurs need to tap into other business owners’ experience if they are to develop the potential of their business. Thus, preparation based on others’ experience can make the next attempt at a goal far more likely to succeed. The success of a company is an iterative process. Older entrepreneurs just need fewer attempts to achieve their goals.
The older entrepreneur will become more of a commonplace thing as time goes by. With more young people joining the hustle and learning the industry early on, few of them have the capital to start a business at an early age. Even so, older entrepreneurs face many of the same challenges as younger ones. The way they overcome those challenges such as fear and dealing with failure remains the same, regardless of how old you get. These hurdles, while unique to entrepreneurs, are based on our humanity rather than our industry. To succeed as an older entrepreneur, we must learn how to successfully navigate these pitfalls before they swamp us and drag us under.