Is Starting a Business in Your 40’s Too Difficult?


Is Starting a Business in Your 40’s Too Difficult?

I’ve written a few articles on how awesome mature age entrepreneurs are and the skills and abilities they can bring to starting a business after the age of 40.

They’re not washed up, over the hill or ready to be put out to pasture as is the opinion of many in corporate and recruiting circles. Many of the world’s greatest inventions we use in our daily lives wouldn’t be there if it hadn’t been for an inventor or entrepreneur in their 40’s and beyond.

Think you’d be cleaning your teeth? Think again. Think you’d have antibiotics for those colds? Think again. Why wouldn’t you start a business with all this juicy awesomeness going on?

The fact is that many mature age Aussies think about but eventually don’t start a business. But what if they should have? What if that business that they were going to start actually made a difference to their lives?

A business doesn’t have to save lives to change lives. It doesn’t have to be spectacularly different. It just has to be there and perform a needed service or deliver a product to the right person at the right time.

I want to share five reasons why mature age Aussies don’t start businesses.

And if it makes you reflect and you lean back into the idea of starting your own business then I’ll be happy to hear you’re willing to give it a crack. Don’t do it for me, do it for you.

1. They are scared.

This one is pretty obvious. The individual looks at the idea of starting a business and has some fear of what might happen. It is a risk, for sure. And sometimes a little bit of fear is good as it makes you careful. But have you ever done something you were afraid of, and experienced an amazing sense of thrill at having overcome your fear and done it anyway?

I get a sense of fear in my business regularly. I wonder if the work we’re doing for clients is going to be good enough. What will they think of me if it doesn’t?

When I was in my 20’s, I had a fear of heights. Even leaning near a balcony in a high rise filled me with dread. So, I did something crazy. I booked an abseiling course. Starting off with a slope of around 5 metres; I eventually abseiled down a vertical cliff of about 110 metres in the Blue Mountains. I experienced a thrill at overcoming my fear, and once I knew I could do it, I really enjoyed it.

2. They don’t know how.

Some mature age individuals decide they’d like to open their own business, but it seems a mystery. How do you get a business name? How do you set up a website? How do you market to customers?

All of these little mysteries add up to one big foggy cloud. Starting a business isn’t like inventing cold fusion. Many people have done it before, and pretty much everything you can think of in starting one has been worked out.

3. It’s too hard.

If you were to believe some of the advertising for businesses, you might think that being a business owner is one of the best ‘jobs’ in the world, with unlimited money and time.

The reality is that running a business is a bit harder than that, and statistics prove it isn’t necessarily a scheme for printing money. One thing that gets people that do run a business through these tough times is a passion for what they do. They love framing pictures; they love creating amazing designs.

4. It’s too big a risk financially.

Risk is a funny thing. Some people are risk takers, and some are risk averse. There is no doubt that a business can be risky, particularly in start up mode. And there is no guarantee of a regular paycheck unless you get all the pieces right.

But if you can sort out a plan around your finances, and make sure you have some backup, you can do it.

5. They prefer being an employee.

Hard to argue with preferences, and this article isn’t about one thing being right and the other being wrong. Some people simply prefer working for someone else, and just being a damn good technical specialist in their field of expertise. Others like the thrill of being in charge, of building skills across a range of disciplines, and creating employment opportunities for others.

The last thing I’d like to say – and you already know I’m passionate about being a business owner – is that whilst there are many reasons why some mature age Aussies chose not to run a business, many of those reasons can be handled with a little education, some good strategic thinking about how to make a business successful, and by facing up to things that are a little uncomfortable for you personally.

And when you do these things, perhaps you might take a second look at starting your own business. And may a thrill similar to ‘abseiling when you hate heights’ be your prize for having a go.

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