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This Is the Perfect Age to Start a Business

Topics: Career Advice
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Stories of entrepreneurial college dropouts turned stunningly successful moguls might catch your attention, but that doesn’t mean they’re the norm.

These tales can make it seem as though young people make the best innovators. After all, you have so much energy, enthusiasm and fearlessness in your 20s. So, wouldn’t that be the best time to start a business?

The popular mythology says that when you’re further on in your career, the stakes are higher and it’s harder to make big changes. However, there is good reason to believe that the perfect age to start a business is quite a bit older than you might think.

Older Entrepreneurs Do It Better

Let’s look at the data. Carl Schramm’s recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights some key figures:

  • Americans over the age of 35 are 50 percent more likely to start a business than younger people, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • A study conducted by the Kauffman Foundation in 2009 found that the average age for starting a business was 39.
  • The same study found that older entrepreneurs who started their businesses mid-career were more than five times as likely to have a “going concern” five years down the road than those started right after college.

Stories of young entrepreneurs get our attention because they’re the exception to the rule. When you look at the actual numbers, it’s clear to see that workers over the age of 35 are generally more successful when going into business for themselves than their younger counterparts.

Entrepreneurs Over the Age of 35 Have Many Factors Working In Their Favor

Starting a business when you’re a little older might be better than doing it earlier. This timing brings several key advantages.

First, it takes a while to know what you really want to do with your career. People get to know themselves better over time. As you grow older, you’ll be more aware of your interests and your strengths. And, you’ll be better able to apply them for career success.

Also, previous job experience can help inspire the desire to start a company. After years spent working for someone else, you might find you have some new ideas about how to do things a little differently. The experience older workers bring to their startups also helps them to be more successful. They can lean on a vaster wealth of knowledge than younger workers.

Older workers might worry that they’re taking a larger risk starting a business later than they would have been if they’d done it right after college. But, there is a lot to be said for being financially stable when you start your business.

“By the age of 35, I was married. Vanessa and I built our business together,” writes Carmine Gallo at Inc. “Neither of us had a lot of student debt by that time. There were times when I carried our family on my health insurance and other times when she did the same. Today, Vanessa runs our company and adds her own experiences as a former psychology instructor.”

Workers over the age of 35 have the background, experience, inspiration and financial means to start successful businesses. Entrepreneurship isn’t just a young person’s game.

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