Why Starting A Business Has No Age Restrictions: And 3 Top Tips For Getting Off The Ground
Research shows that more and more people in their 40’s and over are setting up their own businesses. There are various reasons – redundancy, the difficulties surrounding childcare, the undeniable urge you feel at a Certain Age to change your life for the better and leave the rat race.... Whatever they may be, us Mid Lifers are taking the plunge and becoming our own boss.
And so we should! Whilst the initial start up phase is difficult, the long term benefits of working for yourself are immeasurable, particularly at a time when you want to start winding down your work life a little more in favour of spending more time with family or pursuing hobbies and interests. Life isn’t all about work; finding a balance is key.
Running a business gives you the opportunity to plan your weeks and to decide when you want to work and when you don’t. I have many colleagues who are in their 40’s and 50’s who purposely schedule work in for a certain portion of the year, working like crazy, so that they can afford to take the summer off, for instance.
However, as we get older we also become more reluctant to take risks with our financial security, particularly if we have children in college or university, or elderly relatives for whom we may be responsible. Setting up a business may seem appealing but how can it be made manageable?
Firstly, you don’t need to just give up your full-time job and throw yourself headlong into your new business venture. Of course if, financially, this is an option, or you are happy to do so, then do! However, most people start off on a part-time basis, gradually building up the business to a point where it can support a full-time salary.
Secondly, you need to plan your time. If you are clever, and work smart, then you can get a lot of work done in a fraction of the time. Cram many meetings into one day for instance. Find a central place – coffee shop, cafe, your office if you have one – and invite them to you, rather than you travelling to them. Schedule particular tasks for particular times of the day. For example, if you’re at your sharpest first thing in the morning – do the mentally challenging tasks then.
Thirdly, remember to take time out. That might seem odd, given that I’m advocating working hard but working hard and not relaxing afterwards is a recipe for disaster especially as you get older. I still kid myself that I can carry exactly the same workload that I did 20, 10, even 5 years ago. Wrong! I get tired more easily, and need more time to let my brain settle down in between projects. And creativity doesn’t thrive in a tired mind.
What is there out there for you in terms of external support? Much is written in the press about young people setting up a business when they leave school or college. Jobs can be scarce and working for yourself the perfect solution.
There are a variety of training programmes, support networks, mentor services and funding opportunities for those under 25 but what about those of us who have just crept past and are into our 30’s, 40’s and beyond?
Anyone of any age can now access loan from the Start Up Loans Co if that is needed. Mentoring is included as part of the package, and interest rates are encouragingly low, around 6%. Or you could contact the wonderful people at the Fredericks Foundation; they work specifically with those who can't access loans elsewhere, and have just crowdfunded for a Women's Loan Fund.
There are also support packages offered by a range of organisations – including mine – who run workshops or deliver online programmes for those who need help with writing business plans and other start up issues. If you're keen to start a business but don't know where to start, my 4 module StartUP programme is the perfect place.
40 is the new 20. 50 is the new 30. Or so I keep telling myself. What is there, really, to stop you from at least sitting down and planning your business idea? And then talking to someone about it. And then having a go. Small steps equal big rewards.
I know. I’ve taken them myself.