Published 07 August 2017 Category: Entrepreneur, Startups, Insights

4 Competitive Advantages of a Mid-Life Entrepreneur

When someone says startup, an image that comes to mind is a young individual, a few years out of college and working night and day to create the next big thing. However, in a study done by Kauffman Foundation, where they surveyed more than 500 start ups in high growth industries, the average age of a founder of a successful company is found to be 40.
So it’s time to put assumptions aside because even if you’re in your 50s or 60s, it’s not too late to become an entrepreneur. In fact, some believe that mid-life entrepreneurs have it better. We list the 4 reasons older entrepreneurs have an added advantage in starting a new business.

1. More Work and Life Experience

Having been in the workforce for much longer, you would have invaluable knowledge and experience within the industry. In addition, your seniority gives you more credibility compared to a younger counterpart. Additionally, the professional business conduct and interpersonal skills you have developed over the years can be transferred into your own business.

2. Wider Professional and Personal Network

Having more years under your belt is an advantage as your professional network grows and becomes more diversified. Not only will you have a bigger network, you are also more likely able to rely on your connections to support you in your new venture. Your professional and personal network could sprout your future investor, business partner or customer.  

3. Resilience

Being on the mature side of the spectrum means you would have had your share of failures and rejections, which would have given you many invaluable lessons. It would have also shaped your ability to learn from mistakes and quickly bounce back from failure. This can make a world of difference and make you a stronger, more determined entrepreneur.

4. More Money Saved

One of the greatest challenges for those starting a business is funds. Older entrepreneurs typically have an advantage because they are more likely to have money saved and less likely to have debt compared to younger entrepreneurs. This would place you one step ahead of your younger counterparts, who typically go through a struggle to find investors and venture capitalists.  


Real-World Cases

 

Vera Wang

Vera Wang, the famous wedding dress designer, didn’t become an entrepreneur until her 40s. She spent 15 years working at Vogue – starting as a temporary assistant and worked her way up to being senior Editor. After being turned down for Editor-in-Chief, Wang decided to leave Vogue and pursued design. Wang worked for Ralph Lauren for a few years before designing her own wedding dress at the age of 40. This lead to her to opening her first bridal boutique a year later.

Leo Goodwin

Leo Goodwin founded GEICO, an American auto insurance company at the age of 50. Goodwin worked at USAA, an insurance company that specializes in insuring military personnel, for 12 years before deciding to start his own business. Having over a decade of experience in the insurance industry, he brought innovative ideas to his own company - cutting out the brokers and dealing with customers directly to save costs. Goodwin and his wife worked 12-hour days with minimal salary to grow the business. It took GEICO 4 years to start making a profit and now the company has assets of approximately 8 million. 

 

With decades of work and life experience, mid-life entrepreneurs certainly have an edge, proving that entrepreneurship is not limited for the younger generation.