Why over 50s are the new start-up generation.
We’re all familiar with the wiz-kid techie entrepreneur building companies from their parent’s basement, cultivated by the likes of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. But those who don’t get enough credit is the over 50s, the seasoned veterans of the startup scene and often invisible to the wider world.
A recent survey conducted by the Centre for Economic and Business Research found that 45% of all self-employed people are now over the age of 50 and that, as a group, over 50s contribute more than £119bn to the UK economy every year. This demographic is responsible for setting up businesses faster than any other age group and employ nearly 10 million people, almost 2 million more than the under-50s.
The New York Times points our attention towards the film industry and the most recent figures show exactly why aged over 50 entrepreneurs have more potential as innovators.
Every single director of the five top-grossing films of 2017 so far are in their late 40s and 50s. 68-year-old cinematographer Roger Deakins is considered the best in the world, having recently shot the highly anticipated Blade Runner 2049 alongside 49-year-old director Denis Villeneuve.
The older we get the more entrepreneurial and innovative we become.
So why do older entrepreneurs have such an edge and what’s the formula for midlife success?
A lifetime of network building has its advantages. With a strong portfolio of contacts able to aid them along the way from hires and advice to publicity, this factor puts the over 50s miles ahead of the younger entrepreneurs.
2. The funds are there
Over 50s are much more likely to have savings and access to funds that can be used as start-up capital, which makes getting over that first-hurdle much easier.
3. Time management
The older demographic are well accustomed to the difficult balancing act of full-time work, raising families, housekeeping and countless other obligations. Managing the intense workload required for a start-up is a skill they have already been mastering for years.
A lifetime of professional work leaves over 50s well-equipped with the perfect skill-set for start-ups. They’re affable and comfortable in a senior role, while able to think on their feet and work in high-pressure environments like it’s nothing.
By the time you’re 50 you know who you are and what you’re good at. This is a brilliant skill for entrepreneurs to have and something twenty-somethings are still finding out.
We know when to delegate and ask for help and as a result work efficiently with a more successful outcome.
6. Not afraid of failure
We become more than familiar with failure as we age, having experienced it to various degrees throughout life. By our fifth decade, not even the thought of it phases us. We’ve built a resilience and understand that it’s not the end of the world. We learn from our mistakes and move on.
Plenty of virtues accompany age and when it comes down to business most of them are extremely helpful at getting started. It’s time to look past the wiz-kid stereotype and celebrate the real entrepreneurial generation, the over 50s!
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