Last updated on December 23rd, 2021
Starting a business at any age is going to have its benefits and its disadvantages. Starting a business is not easy to do, and no matter who you are, you must ensure you have thought carefully about how you’re going to do things and what it’s going to cost you in terms of your finances, your time, and even your health.
One of the advantages of starting a business when you are over 50, however, is that you will have had plenty of time to think about what you’re going to do and why you want to do it. You may even have fewer responsibilities than you did when you were younger (if you have children they will be older, and you will have – usually – paid off many of your debts). You’ll be more settled in life, giving you clarity of thought regarding what you want from your business. You’ll be more financially stable. Plus, you will have learned many life lessons, all of which can be used to great advantage in your new business.
Although starting a business will be challenging, and although it is something you absolutely need to think carefully about, one thing that shouldn’t be an issue is your age. You’re never too old to try something new, even if that new thing is to start your own business.
If you have decided that, now you’re over 50, you’re ready to take on the challenge of being a business owner, read on to discover some useful tips that will help you in the process.
Use Your Experience
Even if you have only ever worked in one place for your entire life, and even if you don’t have that many hobbies, anyone who is over 50 is going to have plenty of life experience. If you think back over everything you’ve had to do and every challenge you’ve needed to meet in your adult life, you’ll soon realize there is a lot to list out, and much of it will have taught you something.
This experience is something you should try to put to good use in your business, whatever it may be. This is something that a younger person may not be able to do because they literally don’t have as much experience as you and don’t know how to handle certain situations. This will help you get ahead more quickly and may even make you more successful overall.
Use Your Network
Even if you can’t quite discern what your experience is (perhaps it will come to you later on), you can at least think about your network. Close family and friends, acquaintances, work colleagues, neighbors, friends on social media, and more can all be useful when you’re starting a business.
The older you are, the more people you will know, and the more wide-ranging they will be when it comes to their personalities, their skills, and their knowledge. It’s always important to network when you are running a business as this will give you an added boost (whether it’s putting your information in front of the right people, or getting a discount on supplies, or anything else), and when you are older 50, there are simply more people to network with.
If you’ve never run a business before, networking is even more important. Gaining advice and information such as tips for hosting a productive virtual meeting, how to negotiate a reasonable rate on your supplies, what kind of marketing is going to work best for you, and so much more will be invaluable. You’ll still need to do the hard work by yourself, but having this network of supporters and advisors will make a lot of difference to your success and the speed at which you can grow your business. Making sure you have experienced business owners in your network will ensure that when questions like “what is GASB 87 lease accounting?” or “how do you initiate a memorandum of understanding?” come up, you have someone you can turn to for advice. Keeping on top of your accounting and financial responsibilities can be challenging, especially if your business leases equipment for example, but building your own network of experts in the finance industry can prove to be invaluable.
Be Sure Of Your Finances
No one is deliberately going to go into business to lose money. In fact, people start businesses with the opposite idea in mind; they want to make money, and ideally as much as possible. For those over 50, starting a business may even tie into ideas of retirement, especially if it’s something they choose to do as a ‘side hustle’ while they are still working. Being a business owner can indeed bring you a good income, but it can be the cause of a loss of money too, and this is something you’re going to need to be completely aware of.
Before you start your business, it’s a good idea to be absolutely sure of your finances. Take the time to make a budget of what you need as an income, and see if there are any places you can save money. The more money you can save in your personal life, the easier it will be to grow your business as you won’t need a large amount of money right from the start. If you can’t make any savings or you know that your new business won’t be able to sustain you in a full-time way, don’t quit your current job too soon. If you do, you may find you put yourself in financial difficulties, and your business will have no chance of survival in that case.
In essence, you have to know exactly what state your finances are in, and you have to be honest about what starting a business will do to you on a financial level. Will it help you, or will it cause you problems that you’ll find it hard to get out of?
Take What’s Free
Although you might think that it will be impossible for you to start a business over 50 because you don’t have any business experience, you can find plenty of free help both online and in your local community. When the idea first comes to you, you should take a look at what is on offer, and you might be surprised at the number of publications and workshops in your local area. Take up as many free offers as you can, and learn as much as possible before you begin.
Not only will this help you to feel more confident, but it will help you to decide whether starting a business over 50 is the right thing for you to do.