Believe me. There are many times when I ask myself what I’m doing. I’m no spring chicken, in the body if not the mind!
We hear so many horror stories about what happens as you get older. It seems ridiculous in this time that ageism still prevails. But that’s matched by a huge rise in the number of people over 50 starting their own businesses.
The fact is, that as we get older, we accumulate roles and responsibilities that make it harder to throw caution to the wind. Indeed, many of us feel stuck in the money trap. And that’s not all. Looking for finance to start a business is hard for all of us, but investors very often take the view that youth is a prerequisite for success – particularly in the technology start up world.
I’m going to be a bit controversial. Yes, the young are likely to have the edge when it comes to overall health, energy and optimism (and goodness knows I wish that I could stay up all night working on my business plans, I just run out of steam), but they often seem to lack basic judgement. I think that comes with experience. It seems like no area is off limits to the 20-something entrepreneur, and no sector too over-served.
We grow old because we stop playing – George Bernard Shaw
They seem to think that having a start up is a job in itself. And it will be if the venture capitalists get involved leading to loss of control over that fabulous idea. Success is measured in terms of pain and hardship on the road to start up stardom. Do you know what? I couldn’t hack it! I give up already. I want to get some sleep in a decent bed. I get grumpy if I don’t eat properly.
So why bother?
A rich career of success and failure, of working for large and small companies, of seeing great and rubbish management mean that I can, with authority, say what works. I understand that the world won’t stop turning if I fail. I’ve learned to be detached whilst being passionately energetic about my business.
Life has thrown things at me that I’ve had to deal with and it wasn’t all good. That makes me pragmatic and realistic. I’m prepared to take my time. Because I’m happy in my own skin, I don’t try and absorb and react to every piece of advice that I get, I assimilate it and work out what’s important.
I don’t think age has anything to do with it. There are pros and cons on both sides.
Great ideas can come from anywhere, or anyone. Regardless of their age.
The key for older people starting out on their own is to lose the chains of a salary and to start thinking about gaining an income. You don’t need to measure your success in terms of the size of your pay cheque, but in terms of what you need to keep yourself afloat and worry-free. That’s a release when you get your head around it.