As the population ages and people live longer, the concept of “retirement” is being reinvented. While one recent study reports that “retirement has been cut short for many workers with close to 48% being forced back to work due to financial reasons,” many people are forced to “retire” because they age out of their professions, are victims of age discrimination or have been downsized and can not find work back in their chosen fields.
As a result, many people, especially those 50 and older, are now embarking on encore performances as entrepreneurs.
In a recent study published by the Kaufman Foundation and Legal Zoom clearly 30% of new entrepreneurs were over 50 years of age and over 50% were over 40 years old. This is contrary to the perception that all successful entrepreneurs are 28 years old, with the 30-39 year old group representing the largest block of about 25%. What all these ages have in common are years of experience with a full 41% having over 10 years of previous business know-how.
So back to the over 50 crowd.
According to the Kaufman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity over the last decade, the group with the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity were those in the 55 – 64 year old group:
EMBRACE YOUR SECOND ACT
“Inventing a new stage of life is an ambitious undertaking, one of the great social innovation projects of the 21st century. Yet this aspiration will be as much about small changes as big ones,” says Marc Freedman, CEO & Founder of Encore.org, a website and community devoted to helping older workers discover and embrace their second acts in the workplace.
But getting back to the over 50 entrepreneur, whose group I am squarely a member, the thing that I notice as a great divider among my peers is either the embrace of technology or the fear of it.
WHEN IT COMES TO TECHNOLOGY THERE ARE 3 DIFFERENT TYPES OF OLDER ENTREPRENEURS
Since we build websites and implement Internet marketing for ALL types of clients and age ranges, I find they fall into one of the following camps:
- Afraid of technology and proud of it
- Afraid of technology but wants to learn it
- Realizes the value of new technology and wants to harness it
Number 1 still thinks (hopes) that the Internet is a fad and somehow we’ll wake up from our collective nightmare and things will be back the way they were. This is someone who is least likely to be successful as an entrepreneur because they will find themselves at such a disadvantage relative to the competition.
Number 2 realizes they need to upgrade their skills and will take steps to improve their knowledge and abilities. They will also begin to learn what they don’t know, and can be successful entrepreneurs if they can surround themselves with people who can execute their vision.
Number 3 can start at this level or grow from number two, realizing that they don’t have to master all the necessary skills like building their own website or learning SEO, but UNDERSTANDS the value and strategic use of these technologies and is able to partner or hire people to help them achieve their goals without getting lost in the weeds.
EYES WIDE OPEN
So whether out of financial necessity or a desire to be your own boss or the satisfaction of bringing some long-held dream to life, find something you love that fills a need and that people are willing to pay you for because it helps them in some way. Go in with your eyes wide open that it will cost you money to start up, which can be as little as a $1,000 to more typically $10,000 – $25,000, and you’ll probably work harder and for longer hours than you ever have in your whole life. But it will be on your terms, and that’s not nothing!
So if you’re interested in embarking on your second act and pursuing your dreams of starting your own business, there are many great resources you can use.
In addition to www.Encore.org, check out:
The Encore Career Handbook, a comprehensive, nuts-and-bolts guide to finding passion, purpose and a paycheck in the second half of life.
In it, you’ll find information about how to plan the transition. How much you need to make. The pros and cons of going back to school. When to volunteer, and when to intern. How to network effectively and harness the power of social media. Who’s hiring and for what jobs? An Encore Hot List of 35 viable careers.
The Economy of You: The biggest trend in business is the microbusiness! Handcrafted jewelry, artisanal eats, life coaching, app development, you name it – entrepreneurial side ventures are everywhere. Weary of pink-slip anxiety and the endless money squeeze, millions of people are taking the leap. They’re adding to their incomes and creating safety nets in case the ax falls at work. In the process, they’re unlocking their creativity and finding a sense of fulfillment they never dreamed possible.