Think you're over the hill? Too old to start up a business, write a book, or travel the world? Do you think your accumulated years of life and living are working against you?
The famous playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “Youth is wasted on the young." I wholeheartedly agree!
Are you someone who thinks that the young have it all? That, just because they have good health, sharp minds and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy, they have everything going for them?
Then consider this: How many young people do you know who recognize and utilize all the advantages that youth offer?
That's right. Very few.
Now, let me ask another question. How many "midlifers" realize what a valuable asset their life experience is when starting up a business?
Not many. Right?
This is something that both young people and "midlifers" have in common: neither group realizes the advantages of their age. So, before you throw in the towel thinking your age has stacked the odds against you and your new business possibilities, it’s time to review three of the benefits that age brings.
Three Reasons Why Age Is an Asset to Midlife Entrepreneurs
1. Midlife entrepreneurs know themselves better than young entrepreneurs.
By the time you've reached midlife, you have a pretty clear understanding of who you are and what you want out of life. You know what you need and what you don't, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what you will and won't put up with.
Many young entrepreneurs do not know these things about themselves. If you start up a business before you first figure out who you are and what's important to you, you could possibly end up with a business that earns you a living. However, it may not be a business that is fulfilling on a personal level.
2. You have a full contact list and 20 to 30 years of experience to back you.
Whether you've been downsized, are ready to spread your wings now that your children are out of the house, or are retired and not ready to stop work completely, you have accumulated a lifetime of contacts that young entrepreneurs just don’t have.
Relationships take time to form and years to deepen. When it comes to forming long-term relationships, there are no shortcuts. It takes time to build trust. It takes time to build rapport. And it takes time to really know someone. This is a distinct advantage midlife entrepreneurs have over young entrepreneurs. By midlife, you've put in the time and built relationships that are both rich and deep. You know who you can trust, who you can rely upon, and have a contact list full of established professionals you can call up at any time. Young entrepreneurs don't.
3. Midlife entrepreneurs know what matters.
It's only when you're well into adulthood that you actually figure out what's important: It isn't what you own that matters, it's about how you live your life. And the "how-you-live” part becomes more important the older you get.
This is because most midlife entrepreneurs between the ages of 45 and 55 have experienced the loss of someone they loved. Whether it was due to illness, accident, or natural cause, they now know they’re not invincible. They now know that they don't have all the time in the world ahead of them, and most important, they know how they want to live their remaining years.
Young entrepreneurs just don't share this perspective.
If you think you're past your prime and too old to start up a business, get your book published, travel the world, and think again. Young entrepreneurs don't have as much going for them as you think. Do yourself a huge favor and tune out the negative self-talk about growing older and focus instead on the many advantages of becoming a midlife entrepreneur. Your years on earth have prepared you, in many positive ways, to start up a personally fulfilling and financially rewarding midlife business.
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Dr. Susan L Reid is a small business expert and business catalyst who brings the gift of inner vision and insight to spiritually conscious businesswomen ready to run their business confidently, effectively, and fully aligned with their deepest inner principles. She is the award-winning author of “Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Journey to Business Success .” Her website is Alkamae.