The way that the media portrays our leading entrepreneurs, you’d be inclined to believe that entrepreneurship is only made for the younger generation, willing to eat ramen noodles and couch surf until their startup “makes it”, if it ever does. What you don’t see is the boom in 50+ entrepreneurs entering into the equation. For those dreaming of turning a hobby into a living, or longing to be their own boss after years of working for others, a second career as an entrepreneur could be an exhilarating and life changing endeavor.
In 2012 one quarter of new businesses were created by individuals ages 55 and older. While the risk might be greater, starting the business of your dreams is possible. Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, sold paper cups and milkshake mixers until he was 52, according to an infographic from San Francisco-based startup organization Funders and Founders. Those aged 55-64 in the US have had the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the last 10 years.
With a deeper understanding of life and business, entrepreneurs over 50 have built up years of experience that they are able to apply to their own business goals. While not everyone older than 50 finds the prospect of entrepreneurship appealing, the financial uncertainty can be too much to stomach and the amount of work involved in a business launch is substantial, the prospect of business ownership, however, promises a level of autonomy and fulfillment that can’t be had otherwise.
Having grown and self sufficient children makes entrepreneurship even more fitting. With a smaller family financial burden, entrepreneurs over 50 are drawing from their retirement savings to fund the business of their dreams.
Business ownership after 50 has the potential to diversify their finances, leaving the entrepreneur the ability to move their savings out of the take no prisoners risk of the stock market. Not all startups are funded through retirement savings though, long term experience provides the stability that small business lenders, venture capitalists and angel investors are looking for.
Building a business ignited by your passions for the project can fuel the time and energy it takes to create a successful startup. Of course, more than passion is necessary, but without it, your desire to get through peaks and valleys will affect your business overall. It’s never too late to redefine your legacy, and delve head first into business ownership.