How To Make Your Startup A Success When You’re Over 50 

Can you continue to be a valuable contributor to society after you’ve passed your 50th (or 60th or even 70th) birthday? Can you still be a startup entrepreneur? Yes! Because guess what? I’m doing it.

In a recent article I wrote for Home Business Magazine, I talk about the exhilaration as well as the pitfalls of re-entering the marketplace after you have retired, or if you never left it in the first place. Below are highlights from the article. To read it in full, click here.

The value of being “over 50”

1. Experience counts

Don’t discount your experiences. While you might not have skills associated with fast-moving new technologies, you do know how to deal with people. These make you very valuable. You just need to know how to sell what you know.

2. Think motivation

If retirement bores you, I suspect that you like the idea of working. Work is probably intellectually challenging to you. And if you are going to start a business, this a real benefit. 

3. Workplace culture

You need to be sensitive to the changes that are taking place in today’s world of work. Millennials are different. You might be interested in smoke breaks, while they’re into ping pong. You are going to have to adapt to this new type of worker because remember, there are more of them than you.

What type of work should you do?

You can work for someone, for yourself or a charitable organization. This is all about what excites you and what resources you have to invest or live off of. If you are ambivalent, try something as a freelancer. If it doesn’t work out, no big loss.

Do you want to build your own company?

Is there something you have always been dying to create? Something to perhaps pass along? Here are some things you should think about before taking that big leap:

1. You can’t be half in.

Be prepared to work hard. Don’t underestimate what it takes to start something. Are you “all-in”? Ask yourself if you are willing to make that commitment.

2. Can I afford to fund this venture?

How much can you comfortably risk and how will that affect your future, if all fails? How will you fund your endeavor? Family and friends? Bank loans? These are all important questions you need to have answers for in advance.

3. How are your analytical skills?

Today, every business or venture generates a ton of data. But how do you take all that data and turn it into something that generates meaningful direction? If you have this skill or can acquire it, great. If not, I fear you could get lost. 

4. Are you learning to be nimble?

Today, even more than ever, you must be a lifelong learner. It is difficult to keep up with ever-evolving technology. For many, this creates fear. If you have been retired for even a short period of time, you would be amazed at how quickly the world is moving. You are going to have to learn what you have missed, discover the new tools available, and work hard to stay current in the future.

5. Think about your desire to manage people.

I used to say that managing people was my toughest job and greatest challenge. Do you want to do that in the future? Or maybe you want to start a business that might not be people-dependent.

6. Are you prepared for a changing workforce?

Millennials behave very differently from boomers. Hiring and managing them is going to take some getting used to. You’ve got to be able to adapt to their style, not they to yours.

Want to read more about how not to retire? Here are 3 great blogs and our 6-Step Program for Entrepreneurs.

  1. Can You Successfully Leave Retirement And Launch A Start-Up? Yes!
  2. The Do’s And Don’ts Of Starting A Business Over 50
  3. Who Says You Have To Retire? Not Me!

We’ve been there. For help starting a business after 50, give us a call.

At SAMC, we specialize in helping companies succeed. We know how to overcome the challenges and hurdles of the business world and how to stay competitive in today’s fast-changing times. We’d like to help you and your company succeed, too. To get started, please contact us. We look forward to it.  


Andy Simon, Partner
Simon Associates Management Consultants  

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