THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF THE MIDLIFE ENTREPRENEUR'S JOURNEY
1. You can exercise more control over your life by creating a business.
With current lifespans for women averaging 87 years and men 82 years, most midlifers have many more years left than they planned for financially. Taking control of your life and finances by creating a business of your own is usually a better, more secure and satisfying alternative to continuing to seek jobs 'out there.’
2. Creating a business at midlife is fundamentally different than at other ages,
not so much in what you do, but how you do it. As someone over 50 you must reconsider and discover a different balance and alignment in all aspects of your life: money, health & fitness, personal circumstances, continuous learning, belonging & connection, along with the day to day challenges of running a small business.
3. It isn't whether or not starting a business after 50 is possible…
…it's identifying the right type of business (create from scratch, purchase an existing business or buy a franchise) and flexible model of operation that will best suit your daily schedule, health challenges, family obligations, available start up funds and other personal circumstances, which will allow you to maintain a sustainable life. Non-traditional or alternative business structures can be easily adapted to suit your changing needs as you age.
4. You’re not the same person you were…
…although each of us tends to think we are the same at age 50 that we’ve always been. But the truth is – you’re not. None of us is. You can’t live through multiple decades of life without being shaped by them. Taking time to figure out who you are NOW, and what you really want or don’t, will be energy well spent. Don’t start a business just because you don’t know what else to do. If you know what you want, you can direct your own path.
5. A One-of-a-Kind business is often your best road to success,
because it is one based on who you are, the life you’ve lived, the skills you possess and the experiences you've had, and has no competition. When you are already knowledgeable about your niche, product or service, you don't have to do as much market research; don't have to go back to school for much (if any) training, licensing or certification; you will be perceived as more credible, have more confidence in the decisions you make, and can act more quickly to take advantage of opportunities available.
6. Become more resilient.
Resilience is the ability to cope with unexpected events, their consequences and resulting feelings by teaming your strengths with a flexible mindset, allowing you to respond in more varied and unique ways to overcome adversity. The decades after age 50 are filled with some of the most destabilizing changes that can be experienced like loss of our health, finances or people we love. Increasing our resilience allows each of us to adapt to change, or initiate changes, in our lives and businesses.
7. Know your finances and minimize your personal risk.
Your personal financial awareness of the assets you have (or don't) allows you to identify the financial gap between the life you currently enjoy, and the life and lifestyle you want. You can then establish your budget, determine how much money you can divert to invest in starting your business, and decide whether you to go ‘full speed ahead’ or develop slowly ‘on-the-side.’ Use caution when investing your own money in your business, don’t over-extend yourself.
8. Extending your work life requires greater attention to self care.
There are new factors to consider in midlife planning, like possible limitations due to overall health, physical challenges, family or caregiving responsibilities, and managing your own business. Adopting self care strategies that cushion and support your ability to 'bounce back' from stress, like good nutrition, regular fitness routines, sleep habits, and social connection, will be fundamental to your wellbeing in your new life and role as an entrepreneur.
9. Bigger is not always better…
...or even what you really want, when it comes to creating a midlife business. With the pace of change we are experiencing, it makes sense to keep your business as resilient and nimble as possible so you can adapt more quickly and easily to social trends, market opportunities, as well as changes in your personal circumstances as you age. Tying your investment to the opportunities and obstacles that arise organically in your market will guide you to invest incrementally in your business as sales warrant, protecting your financial assets for later life when you may need them most.
10. Start with the end in mind.
Learning to anticipate life's transitions and adapt your business as you age is an important skill for midlife entrepreneurs to develop. Up is not the only way. Your health, personal life circumstances, business realities or simple wish for more free time may dictate the need or desire to scale up (or scale down) your operations, maintain the status quo, plan for a successor, sell or close your business. Building value or preserving the investment you make in your business is an important consideration even at startup, because it will allow you to adapt or sell your business as an asset to benefit you or your family down the road, rather than simply closing it down.