Entrepreneurs: It's an age thing or is it?

Many people have an issue with becoming an entrepreneur based on their age – they think they are too old or too young!

The fact is that you can become a great entrepreneur at any age – however you can be too young and too old for sure, if you are immature then don’t waste your time and if you don’t have the drive and ambition then the same applies.

However, if they don’t apply then why shouldn’t you go for it?

The press paints the likes of Zuckerberg, who founded Facebook from his Harvard dorm room, and the many other dot com kids as the norm but the reality is very different. Sure even in the 70’s the likes of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (and many others) got press in their 20’s and this continues to this day but the vast majority of new technology entrepreneurs are in fact image-shattering 39 years old!

Research by many shows this age as around the median age for staring a business across the board but recent work by Vivek Wadhwa, co-author of a report from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, shows in a survey of 652 U.S. -born technology entrepreneurs, found that, contrary to popular perception, such wunderkinder are the exception. The average age of those who started tech companies from 1995 to 2005 was an image-shattering 39, with those 50 or older twice as common as those 25 or younger.

Most of the technology entrepreneurs were well-educated, with technical or business degrees (including MBAs). Starting a tech company takes more than a great idea, says Wadhwa, who teaches at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering.

“To be successful’ you have to have real-world experience and motivation.

And the greatest motivation is that you’re tired of working for other people!”

However, I am glad to say that there are a growing number of much younger than the 20 year olds coming into the game of entrepreneurship too. Whilst its not big numbers there is now more of a trend for school kids to look at entrepreneurship as an exciting option.

At the other end of the age scale there is no reason why you can’t start a business when you retire from your old day job, becoming an ‘geriatrapreneur’ is also a great option!

In all cases, at any age the key is take into account your personal situation and then choose the best time to start a business for you. Starting one during exams maybe a bad idea, or at any age if it doesn’t meet your longer term life goals or if it a big strain on your retirement savings.

Make sure you make the right decision by reading my book and working through the simple and fun exercises, they will help you make the best decision based on facts and not myths proliferated by the media.


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