I have heard many people say, “I’m too old to start a business” and that the world belongs to those who are young.
I started my marketing agency with my brother when we were in our 40s.
When we told our family and friends about our decision, we were mocked. The opportunity cost of starting a business is much higher when you are more advanced in your career.
To quit your job and start a business is akin to dumping the career that you took many years to build.
While we often associate startups with young people who are extremely passionate, research suggests that older entrepreneurs are more likely to succeed.
It certainly didn’t feel like that when I and my brother started out five years ago.
Despite this, we both know that the learning curve would be much steeper if we started our business fresh out of school.
Here’s why we encourage experienced individuals to start a business:
You would have mastered your craft
After many years in the corporate world grinding it out, you will have honed your craft. You have many years of experience to draw from.
If you’re providing a service, you would be able to directly apply your area of expertise to your clients.
If you’re offering a product, your area of expertise would be put to good use in managing a specific aspect of the business whether it’s working on the business financials, marketing or developing the product.
You will know how to set goals and map out what it takes to meet those goals.
Basically, you wouldn’t be starting from scratch.
You would likely have managed a team before
One of the most challenging things about running your own business is having a good team by your side.
Your team needs to run alongside you in projects when the going gets tough. They need to be constantly motivated.
We have had many issues that arose from managing our teams.
But, as we have managed teams in our corporate jobs before, it was not something totally new to us.
Your experience managing junior colleagues in a corporate environment equips you with the necessary skill sets to set directions for your team, delegate work and mentor younger staff when you start a business.
If you’re faced with unexpected situations such as managing staff who don’t deliver, you would be less perplexed, as many of these situations have occurred in your team at your corporate jobs before.
Yes, you would definitely face greater pressure as a boss because you are responsible for bottom lines and for your staff’s salaries.
But, the soft skills that you gained managing teams in your corporate jobs help guide you as you make the leap from a salaried worker to an entrepreneur.
You will know the industry inside out
If you’re starting a business in an industry that you have been working in for many years, you would know the industry inside out.
You will have a more extensive network of suppliers and partners who will be able to support your business.
You may even get clients or colleagues from your previous corporate jobs who support your new venture.
When we first started, our previous clients who knew about our agency were one of the first few to support us.
They helped us sustain our business and contributed to our first few shining testimonials.
Making the transition from a salaried employee to an entrepreneur is definitely no easy feat. It takes immense courage and poses a huge learning curve.
But, you should use your corporate experience to your advantage and don’t ever think that those years were spent in vain.
Having decades of corporate experience means that you’ve been in all kinds of situations and have probably been burnt by betrayals in the workplace or failed projects before.
You would have developed thicker skin after weathering various setbacks in your career paths.
You are not so worried about what others think, because you know the vision that you have set for your business and what it would take to get there.
If you’re in your 40s and think that you’re too old to start a business, I hope this helps you to make the leap into entrepreneurship.
Your age is your advantage.
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Image Credit: Charles Forerunner