Want to start a business? It's never too late
Big names such as Mark Zuckerberg who started Facebook aged just 27 can be a little misleading for the rest of us. We see people like him and we begin to think that entrepreneurship is only for people that are young and straight out of university. But in fact, the success of starting a business has less to do with age than you would think. Ray Kroc, the co-founder of McDonalds, was 52 when he opened his first store. Likewise, Ferdinand Porsche was 56 when he founded Porsche and Charles Flint was 61 when he founded IBM.
Over recent years, it appears that more and more people are turning to starting their own business in their middle age – and doing well at it. In fact, in 2015 there were 1.8 million self-employed people over the age of 50. And as of 2017 45% of British entrepreneurs are over the age of 50 or about 1 in 5 people over the age of 50 are self-employed – more than any other age group. Further – this group brings more than £119 billion to the UK economy each year.
With so many people doing so well at starting their own business later on in life, it’s surprising that people would say that there is such a thing as it being too late to start your own business. Often, it may be said that the older generation are less capable at keeping up with how modern businesses are run or may be less able to adapt to working alone. There are three main reasons however for why this isn’t the case and it really is never too late to venture into entrepreneurship:
There has never been more help available for entrepreneurs
As more and more people have turned to entrepreneurship, the amount of resources available to help aspiring business owners has proliferated massively. In previous years you may have had to take a training course or find a mentor in order to be well prepared for all of legal and practical issues associated with becoming self-employed. But now, with so much information available, you have the power to conduct your own learning at your fingertips. For online help, a great place to start is Informi, a charitable organization set up by AAT which aims to provide fuss and jargon free advice on all stages of developing a business from writing a business plan to managing employees and even managing your own stress. If you prefer to work face to face, many places throughout the UK offer training courses for people looking to venture into starting their own businesses. The British Library in London, for instance, provides multiple training courses a year and charges either nothing or very little for them, all you have to do is sign up. Reaching out to your local library or borough council can help you to source these courses or find mentorship in your local area.
Building a web presence for your company has never been easier
You will already know that in 2018, you need a web presence in order for your business to have a fighting chance. This may seem daunting. The majority of us, no matter the age, don’t have the capability to build or run a website by ourselves but hiring a dedicated web designer is also often not financially viable. Over recent years however there has been a surge in services that cater to those who are unfamiliar with the process of designing a website. Using services such as Squarespace, which simplify the process of creating a site, allow users to create functional and attractive sites without needing to learn how to code.
Starting later might be better than earlier
A crucial yet valuable difference between an older and younger entrepreneur is experience. Starting your own business at a later age means that you will have no doubt accrued some years working in an employed role at one or several companies. You will know what it’s like to have worked for other people, have experienced seeing a project through from start to finish or even know what it’s like to see a project fail. Even if your experiences in an employed role do not seem directly relevant to your business idea, your years of experience in whatever you have done will put you heads and shoulders above younger entrepreneurs.