Are you ever too old to start a new company?
I launched my first business in my fifties. Now north of 55, I’m launching my next venture. There are times when I wonder what the heck I’m thinking! Most of my peers are wrapping up long careers and looking forward to retiring. Some may add a little consulting on the side or some philanthropic work, but for the most part, they are not in the beginning stages of their careers.
I restarted my journey into the ‘working world’ after spending 15 years at home with my kids. I can’t say it was the happiest time in my life but it was what needed to be done and we were able to live well on one income.
I dabbled in various jobs through the years before starting my first business. I worked in restaurants and for a tech company. I studied Digital Media Marketing and even attempted to find work in digital advertising. That ended when the woman (and I use the term only because she was over 18) asked me all about my kids (a no-no in an interview) because she had no idea how to interview someone my age. If I was going to be a mom, I’d rather be one for my own children, not in the workplace.
When I’m facing a difficult challenge in my business and I have a moment where I wonder if I’ll ever create the dream career I’m after, I go through a series of thoughts which end with me realizing I may only have 10 – 15 years left, which of course leads to panic. Not the ideal way to proceed.
In order to allay my fears (or rather my nightmares), I’ve been Googling successful entrepreneurs who started later in life:
· Vera Wang started her company at 40
· Lynda Weinman (Lynda.com) at 42
· Actress Judy Dench was in her 60s when her career took off
· Mary kay Ash was 45 when she started Mary Kay Cosmetics
· Jules Peiri almost 50 when she started The Grommet. Now in her late 50s, she’s running a multi-million dollar business.
In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau studied the ages of founders of start-ups and found that the mean age of the founders of the fastest-growing new ventures was 45 years old.
Entrepreneurs over 50 are twice as likely to be successful than those under 25 years old. And, according to a BNP Paribas study, women have higher success rates than men in business.
As women over 50, we’ve had the benefit of life experience that can add to our success. While understanding the consequences of taking certain risks can cause us to have doubts, it also helps us be much better at planning for contingencies when we do take those risks. In addition, having children has taught us to multitask really well – an extremely valuable skill for entrepreneurs. There are many more reasons that women are successful later in life including our penchant for connecting and collaborating.
After doing my research, I can safely say that I’m not too old to embark on a new venture. In reality, this is just the beginning…