Are you asking yourself the same question I asked myself over a decade ago? Is it too late to become an entrepreneur?
If you can profitably serve those you want to serve through your business, then it is not too late to become an entrepreneur whether you’re over 50 or over 70!
My husband and I began our entrepreneurial journey over 15 years ago when we began searching for a brick and mortar business to purchase.
After seeing that we needed to secure the small business loan with most of our life savings, we decided to test out an online business instead since the financial risk was zero vs risking most of our net worth.
Gradually, we completely replaced former job income with online business income while working from home.
In other words, it was a great decision to become entrepreneurs late in life, and also to start an online business instead of buying a more traditional business with very high risk.
In this post, I’ll share 9 reasons why becoming an entrepreneur is an excellent income and wealth building strategy after midlife based on my experience over the past decade.
Becoming an entrepreneur can feel intimidating after being an employee or out of the workforce for years. This leaves many older executives and retirees doubting if entrepreneurship is possible for retirement income.
Is It Too Late to Become an Entrepreneur After 50?
It’s worth repeating that if you can profitably serve a market, you can still become an entrepreneur. This doesn’t mean you must profitably serve a market overnight.
Many highly regarded publicly traded companies don’t have positive net income for years.
It simply means that you can profitably deliver the benefits that others are seeking at some point in your plan. The benefits can come in the form of providing information, products or services.
And if you can deliver what you promise, age is not a limiting factor for becoming an entrepreneur. Let me share a current example that inspired me to write this post.
An Example of a Simple Small Business Owner
As I write, there is a senior “retired” gentleman working at my home taking care of issues we are delighted to get resolved. This ranges from a leak in my ceiling to rust on porch railing to pool shower issues.
He began working at our rental properties over the past year. He appears to be in his seventies, and he is working at least 8 hours today in the Austin heat.
Thus far, he is the best handyman I have ever used. I don’t perceive that he needs the money, as he owns several rental units himself.
But he is delighted to serve his clients. Not only this, but he has fixed problems that have persisted for years which other handymen have not been able to resolve. This is because of his extensive experience.
Is he a real entrepreneur? Of course, he is. He operates as a business and delivers the results desired by his clients.
While I don’t think he has any desire to expand, many large companies get their start as a solo worker so this model cannot be discounted.
7 Excellent Reasons Why It Is Not to Late to Become an Entrepreneur
Below are 7 reasons why it is not too late to become an entrepreneur after midlife, and even demonstrate the contrary: that after midlife is the best time to become an entrepreneur.
Unprecedented Opportunities for Small Business Owners
By the time we pass midlife, we know what we want. And the birth of the internet has allowed us to have it giving those with knowledge and skill infinite opportunities.
The days are gone of having to answer to boards, angel investors or venture capitalists if you want to become an entrepreneur.
Since I first tiptoed into entrepreneurship by starting a blog in 2006 to learn more about having an online business, I’ve pitched for VC funding, blogged on my porch and most things in between. And I have seen thousands of entrepreneurs over the past decade at every level between a lifestyle blogger to startups that obtained venture funding.
♦ Income Stream Tip: The opportunities are there for anyone with drive and knowledge to become entrepreneur under many different models that suit various lifestyles.
While many tech “startups” and product inventors snub bloggers as not being real entrepreneurs, the reality is that many blogs have led to multi million dollar businesses on their owner’s terms. Joanna Gaines, The Pioneer Woman, the Minimalists and Fincon founder Philip Taylor are a few among the many who began blogging.
Many profitable blogs, services or local businesses often go on to get outside funding, venture capital or publishing deals and larger, successful companies emerge from the tiny blogger entrepreneur model. Even many personal brand business models, such as Joanna Gaines and Camille Styles have become wildly successful.
It wasn’t that many years ago that I met Kendra Scott and Brene Brown while speaking at local Austin events with less than 20 attendees.
This isn’t to say that these particular entrepreneurs were older when they began, but they were tiny solopreneurs who developed into multi million dollar businesses on their own terms.
This can happen at any age if you deliver what enough people want.
One of my many mentors, Ryan Deiss, has gone from hosting a tiny local event in Austin to hosting the largest online marketing events in the world with speakers such as Richard Branson, and partnerships with the likes of Agora Financial, in well under a decade.
He began with a website.
Product inventions and apps sold online only frequently get funding on Shark Tank.
We live in a time of unprecedented opportunity for entrepreneurs to choose what they want and have it.
If you want to work on your laptop at your breakfast table, you can do that. If you want to become a company with a board and outside funding, you can do that.
This makes becoming an entrepreneur after 50 ideal for anyone who desires to innovate while generating income in retirement or before retirement.
I didn’t say it’s easy. It’s a very doable realistic option or other entrepreneurs could not be doing it.
We couldn’t have done it.
And the great thing is that the second or third time around, you get to choose your career and write the rules.
Click here to read my related post Starting an Online Business After 50 with the various types of online business models.
Life Experiences Help Small Business Owners
By the time you’re at midlife, you have several decades of learning about many different things and increasing your skills. Many of the things you have learned will increase your business savvy.
Time management, organization, leadership, project management, negotiation and delegation skills are all important skills that every small business owner need. And these skills are developed through all aspects of life including employment, parenting, volunteering and even managing a home.
We naturally become better at managing our time as we get older. Perhaps this is because we anticipate less time on this earth when we are 60 years old vs when we are 30 years old.
And we want to maximize our potential before the clock stops ticking.
Being able to prioritize and get things done are important skills for entrepreneurs.
Also, if you have children, you’re probably phasing out of the responsibilities of raising children if you are not already entirely done with this. This means you can devote yourself to other big life projects, such as becoming an entrepreneur.
Using Your Knowledge to Become an Entrepreneur
In addition to the life skills addressed earlier, it’s likely you have at least one business skills, if not several. From your career, you’re an expert in one or more areas that you can use to become an entrepreneur later in life.
And you’re probably an expert from at least one hobby whether that’s photography, caring for pets, gardening or a healthy obsession with personal finance.
Don’t discount the power behind hobby based businesses. I know of several highly successful entrepreneurs selling healthy dog products based on their passion and hobbies.
One of them is an Austin company that got funding on Shark Tank. The other is knocking it out of the park as an online entrepreneur.
And let’s not forget Kendra Scott simply loved making unique jewelry.
Ease of Learning to Become a Business Owner
If by some slight chance you don’t have a marketable skill (or you think you don’t), or you don’t wish to pursue your existing career skills further, you can learn anything you want nowadays. Due to the internet, you can obtain an MBA or become certified in a vast array of skills at a reasonable cost without ever leaving home.
For example, when I first had an online presence, I hired a student to code a website for me. Over a decade later, I built the website you are now visiting mostly from free information online.
And I am not a techie!
The information is available so you can do anything you choose to do now.
Normally, I hire someone to build websites. But it has become so easy to build websites, and I wanted to increase my knowledge so I can manage and delegate better in our online businesses.
And this led me to build this website myself. Then I was able to better hire someone to update our larger financial education website without risk.
All this to say when you’re an entrepreneur, you naturally increase your skills. The more skills you have the easier it is to become an entrepreneur late in life.
Click the image below to watch my YouTube video but come right back because there are several more excellent reasons to become an entrepreneur late in life! I’m telling you this is the best thing since sliced bread.
Plus, having current marketable skills increases financial security. You can always obtain very part time work as an freelancers, consultant or independent contractor.
Mental Stimulation from Owning a Small Business
Brain stimulation is good for you. It keeps you young.
My mother’s generation was encouraged to do a crossword puzzle a day to keep the brain stimulated. It’s interesting that there was little else for mind stimulation as she aged.
Now, starting a business late in life is a normal thing to do. And it can be done from your kitchen table.
What a wonderful opportunity for our generation.
And I can promise you that becoming an entrepreneur has delivered a lot of brain stimulation far beyond crossword puzzles, while also paying the bills.
Tax Incentives from Small Business Ownership
The financial rewards from a becoming an entrepreneur can save your retirement finances in several ways, all addressed in this article.
Lowering taxes reduces one of the biggest expenses for most individuals.
But the U.S. tax system encourages small business ownership with favorable treatment.
It’s important to keep good records and establish yourself as a business very early on to support these benefits.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive or complicated job. Unless there is a good reason for liability protection, most small businesses can test out their business model as a sole proprietor.
This is what I have learned over the years, but you can always check with a CPA or attorney.
Separate bank accounts, credit cards and simple bookkeeping document your business transactions to take advantage of this solid reason to become an entrepreneur at any age.
Low Risk Business Opportunities
Gone are the days when being an entrepreneur meant committing to a lease and building out a place of business for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Here is a fact: You can reach a global market for under $50 now. This presents an exceptional opportunity for anyone looking to become an entrepreneur at any age.
But reducing risk is especially important the older you get because you have fewer years to catch up retirement savings.
While there are many expensive business models that do require capital, lack of funding is simply no longer an excuse to not start a small business.
Many local service businesses, consulting businesses and online businesses require little to no capital.
Having income from small business can avoid having to rely on retirement withdrawals. Click here to read my post entitled How Much Money Do You Need to Retire?
Income Plus Wealth Building in Retirement
Record low interest rates, low dividends, underfunded retirement accounts and more severe stock market cycles in the past 20 years have left most retirees and soon to be retirees in need of more income.
Here’s the kicker: Not only can being an entrepreneur increase income, it can result in a capital gain when a business is sold.
I have seen several small entrepreneurs sell their small online businesses for six and seven figures. Remember, these are businesses that required no capital to start and little to run.
By the time you’re past midlife, the opportunities for capital gains that tend to happen over time lessen.
And retirees have past the time of company bonuses that provide those rare but nice chunks of wealth that many employees experience.
But selling a business can present an excellent way for someone in their 50’s and over to generate a significant capital gain.
Plus, small business risk can be a fraction of the risk that comes with other forms of income, such as dividend income or bonds interest.
So, Is It Too Late to Become an Entrepreneur?
With the many benefits of being an entrepreneur, you already know the answer to this question.
No, it is not too late to become an entrepreneur! We did it.
What’s the best business model?
I prefer lifestyle online business models due to the flexibility, upside and low risk. This isn’t right for everyone but that’s another post.
Decide what you want. Then make it happen.
We live in a time of unprecedented opportunity to generate income and build wealth later in life without risking retirement savings.