Turns out that when it comes to starting a business, it’s often easier for older entrepreneurs. People who have been in business for years have more access to capital, having built up valuable connections along the way. They have less debt, since those student loans were paid off years before. And, honestly, they just have more know-how. They might even be founding their second, third, or fourth business.
As part of Creator’s 40 Over 40 series, profiling some fascinating WeWork members, we asked entrepreneurs what they’ve learned along the way about business. They came up with lots of reasons why they are thriving in their careers.
Q: What’s your best piece of advice for other entrepreneurs over 40?
Chuck Williams didn’t start Williams-Sonoma until he was 58, and Julia Child had her first cooking show when she was 54. It took me three career changes before I found my passion in food, and several years before I made my ideas into a scalable vision. Keep the tenacity and perseverance, and be flexible to pivoting in a new direction if needed to accomplish an even greater mission.
—Alison Bailey Vercruysse
It’s now or never. You are young enough to go back to a 9-to-5 if does not work. If it does, you will never look back, even if you don’t earn the same money again. Hopefully, you will.
Being an entrepreneur takes time, dedication, and focus, no matter what your age.
G3 Medical Marketing
Dreams have no age. There is no better job than the one that challenges you every day and makes you give your best. How many jobs did you have in the past that didn’t fulfill you at all?
Find or create a network of other entrepreneurs and forward-thinking business leaders who can provide ongoing support and resources as you build your business. These people will become your go-to resource for everything from business ideation to funding, promotion, personnel practices, and more.
Finding talent that shares common values, purposes, and priorities is absolutely key and more important than simply filling a functional role. Making sure your team is on the same guiding wave is tantamount, as there is a good chance these folks will wear many different hats concurrently and as your venture expands.
The E Ticket
Never stop learning and keep up to date on everything going on in the business world, whether you think it has relevance or not, because so much is interconnected these days. Bring on younger partners or employees, and listen to their perspective and opinions.
Use your life experience to your advantage — we’ve got the benefit of having learned more life lessons, and we usually have greater connections than our younger colleagues. I try to squeeze every bit of value out of my years of collective wisdom and networks to help me grow our company. I’m also inspired by other women who started businesses later in life: Estée Lauder, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Arianna Huffington, among many others.
Wearing multiple hats will exercise — boggle! — untried regions of your brain. Embrace the new, and continuously push beyond your comfort zone.
Life consists of you, your family, and work. You cannot excel at work if one of the others is out of balance. I really focus on keeping a healthy mind by using food and exercise to balance the stress of work. I also unplug from work — no working on weekends or after 5 PM — to allow my brain to recharge. If I don’t, I burn out.
Crowdfund Capital Advisors
We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as you speak.
—Ivannia Van Arman
Lincoln Road Business Improvement District
Be sure to build out and keep connected to your professional networks on LinkedIn. This way, former colleagues know what you’re up to and great at. I was recently hired to speak at a conference from an eight-year-old connection on LinkedIn!
Brick House Media
The best advice I can offer is to not give in to the fear. There will always be a million “what ifs” about running your own business, but the best thing to do is focus on the desired outcome and make it happen!
Overseas Dream Team
Embrace the new technology with regards to doing business — social media, software that’s helpful in the organization of your daily business, etc.
As a mature entrepreneur, it is likely that you have a wide network of acquaintances with whom you have interacted professionally and personally over the years. Leverage them as advisers for your startup and get their help in reaching out to potential clients, investors, or experts. What I found amazing is that nearly everyone is ready to help out an entrepreneur friend or acquaintance, if you ask them the right concrete questions. This is invaluable social capital.
This is gonna to sound cheesy cliche, but I’m going to say it anyhow: you can teach old dogs new tricks. Keep an open mind, stay young at heart, and always follow your curiosity to learn more about absolutely anything that interests you. Naps are also pretty awesome (for all ages).