Published 28 July 2017 Category: Compass Tips, Entrepreneur, Business Insights, Startups

Late Bloomers & Startups

There are some lessons you can only learn through experience, and it’s invaluable for the career entrepreneur to gain these insights ahead of the curve.

So now the debate rages. What is the best age to be an entrepreneur?

The fastest growing startups are actually far more likely to be led by people over the age of 50 than under the age of 30.

It’s time to put the spotlight on thirty, forty and perhaps even fiftysomething entrepreneurs!

While Hollywood may love the story of the college kid who starts a billion-dollar business out of his dorm room, that’s only one story. For many, life as an entrepreneur begins much later. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook at 19. But Charles Flint launched IBM at 61. Legendary wedding-dress designer Vera Wang didn’t start designing clothes until she was 39 and home decorating goddess and business czar Martha Stewart didn’t get into home decorating until she was 35

Contrary to the Silicon Valley stereotype, most startup founders are between their late 30's and early 50's - where they have the perfect mix of remaining youthful drive and critical industry experience (it is also, coincidentally, the age range where fluid intelligence of youth and crystallised intelligence of wisdom intersect and balance out).

Don't listen to the Silicon Valley echo chamber. Not only can you compete with those 20-somethings, but you can out-maneuver them using the experience you've earned in other environments. Younger founders may have to put in 100 hours a week and make dozens of costly mistakes that you, because of your corporate background, can potentially foresee and avoid altogether.

When it comes to launching a business, what a person may lack in youthful energy comes back multiplied in experience. Reid Hoffman started the ultra-popular career networking site LinkedIn when he was 36; Sam Walton started Wal-Mart when he was 44; and Joseph Campbell started Campbell Soup when he was 52.

Be inspired. And stop counting the grey hairs on your head.