Success can come at any age.
A twenty-year old has just as much of a chance to become a successful entrepreneur as a fifty-year old. However, the potential for success is skewed more heavily on the side of the older person.
As people get older, they begin to believe that the chance to find success has left then behind. This couldn’t be further from the truth. What does change however, is the perception of the self.
Younger people are more likely to take risks and throw themselves into the entrepreneurial journey. Meanwhile, a significantly less proportion of people who have crossed the age of forty will be willing to take the same risks. Older people believe they have more to lose, they have more responsibilities and some people even believe that they weren’t meant to be successful.
At the end of the day, this belief stems from fear. The fear of failure is real and exists among everyone. So what does it take to overcome this fear and begin the journey towards entrepreneurial success? Courage.
Research on The Perfect Age to Be an Entrepreneur
Research indicates that is isn’t people who are in their twenties or even thirties that have the highest chance of succeeding as the founder of a startup. Rather, that potential lies in older age groups.
Why? A combination of experience, an understanding of life, and the ability to lead employees towards success. These skills are developed as people age and gain life experience, making older people more likely to be successful as entrepreneurs.
A study conducted by professor Pierre Azoulay and his collaborators from the MIT Sloan School of Management, and published in the Harvard Business Review, certainly seems to think so. They studied the top 0.1% successful entrepreneurs in the US and determined that the ideal age to be a successful entrepreneur was 45.
Another study, conducted by researchers from the Queensland University of Technology and the Swinburne Institute of Technology, aimed to isolate the age range of successful entrepreneurs in Australia. They discovered that people between the ages of 55 to 64 were the fastest growing age group of entrepreneurs in Australia.
This in no way means that people who are younger can’t be successful entrepreneurs. Rather, it showcases that despite the prevalent narrative that younger people mainly find success in the startup business, research indicates that that may not be true.
You can be a successful entrepreneur at any age. All you need is courage, and this is how you develop the courage muscles that will push you on the road to your journey as an entrepreneur.
How to Find the Courage to Start Your Entrepreneurial Journey
Fear can hold you back. The only way to overcome that fear is to build your courage. But the process of building your courage doesn’t come so easily. People are more likely to stay within the safety blanket that their fear offers them. So how do you gain courage?
- Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Try doing something new every day. They don’t have to be huge changes. Take small steps, like trying out a new meal or visiting tourist attractions in your city that you never been to before.
The trick is to slowly build the courage it takes to attempt larger ventures that could scare you. If you try to do something big right at the beginning, your fear can hold you back. But as you practice stepping outside your comfort zone repeatedly, your mind will get used to new experiences. Eventually, you’ll be ready to tackle the process of founding your own startup, and by then, you won’t be as fearful as you were before.
- Don’t be Afraid to Fail
Failing isn’t uncommon when it comes to entrepreneurship. With changing economies, emerging technologies and business disruptions, your business could be affected at any time.
Instead of fearing failing, you should consider being prepared for that potential outcome. Gathering and analyzing data will be your best friend here. Data-driven decision making is known for enabling sustained growth among businesses.
As a new entrepreneur, you should expect some of your ventures to fail. But when you focus on being flexible and looking for ways to turn the situation around in your favor, the opportunity for success comes again.
- Long Term Thinking
Life as an entrepreneur doesn’t come with an end date. You can’t just decide one day that your journey is over, unless you want to close down your business.
Long term growth oriented thinking is necessary if you want to be a successful entrepreneur. You can divide your business goals into short term actionable goals and long term growth oriented goals. You don’t know what your business will look like ten, twenty or even thirty years in the future? Then visualize that right at the beginning of your journey.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Tell People
A fear of failure can also prevent you from talking about your entrepreneurial dream to other people. It’s entirely possible for you to find success on your own. You don’t have to tell anyone you failed, and you can only open up about your hopes and dreams after you’ve found success.
But this process can prohibit you from finding support along your journey. Remember that failure is an expected outcome on the entrepreneur’s path. If you have a group of people who are willing to support you and motivate you, you’re more likely to stick to your journey.
- The Entrepreneurial Journey
The entrepreneurship journey doesn’t stop after you’ve achieved your milestones. All that means is that it’s time for you to set new goals, find new ways to expand your business, and look for new growth opportunities.
At the same time, you should also consider that the road to success is defined by the journey itself. This means that your every day experience as an entrepreneur, the challenges you face, and the victories you accomplish, are a part of the journey. Instead of focusing on the end-goal, look at what you can do today.
By being flexible, adaptable and mindful, you can address issues as they arise and find solutions to problems that come your way.
Anyone who is willing to be persistent, has something of value to contribute to society, and wants to invest themselves in being an entrepreneur, can do it. So why not consider starting today.
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- Azoulay, Jones, Kim, Miranda, PA, BFJ, JDK, JM, July 11th 2018, ‘Research: The Average Age of a Successful Startup Founder is 45’, Harvard Business Review, viewed February 17th 2021,https://hbr.org/2018/07/research-the-average-age-of-a-successful-startup-founder-is-45
- Cooper, CC, November 1st 2020, ‘What’s the golden age to become an entrepreneur?’, viewed February 17th 2021, https://www.intheblack.com/articles/2020/11/01/golden-age-entrepreneur
- Jana, RJ, January 31st 2021, ‘How to Have Courage to Be An Entrepreneur at Any Age’, viewed February 17th 2021, https://www.inc.com/raj-jana/how-to-have-courage-to-be-an-entrepreneur-at-any-age.html
Singh, NS, August 10th 2018, ‘What is the Ideal Age to Be An Entrepreneur’, viewed February 17th 2021, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/318298