Written by: Ellen Kocher, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
I was 51 when I decided to quit my job with a multinational organization. After nearly 20 years of working for big companies, it was certainly not in my plan to become my own boss. As I enrolled in further education while job hunting, my road to becoming an entrepreneur paved itself. Over the past 8 years, I have doubled my income each year. Today, at 60, I have never been more fulfilled, or successful.
My business partner, Dominique, was 51 when she made the decision to move out of a C-level successful career and start her own company. She revamped her skills and mindset with a fierce thirst to make the most of her life — as her own boss. At 57, her business has reached levels she would never have imagined. She supports a strong and passionate team, and wakes up every day with a clear sense of purpose.
We are not the exception.
Fascinating meta-analysis reveals that age has a positive relationship with entrepreneurial success. Think of Arianna Huffington (Huff Post), John Stith Pemberton (Coca-Cola), Ray Krok (McDonald's), or Helene Darroze (world’s best female chef) … all of whom created successful businesses after the age of 50. In addition, age’s effect has been proven to be even more positive among female entrepreneurs.
Research debunks the myth of youth and reveals that entrepreneurs in their 50’s are almost twice as likely to start an extremely successful company than 30-year-olds.
Our population is aging. Let’s shake up aging stereotypes and discover 5 reasons why entrepreneurship is such an attractive and successful career option for “older” generations — and for society at large.
Let’s get to the point.
Older generations shine at entrepreneurship because they…
1. Feel good
Top aging fears swirl around physical and financial well-being — both critical for any successful venture. Around 50, most people no longer take health for granted like they did when they were younger. They understand that self-care is not self-ish, and that lifestyle influences 70% of physical aging. With a current “health span” of over 80 years, middle-aged people are waking up to feeling well. Being our own boss gives us the opportunity to create a lifestyle that allows us to take care of ourselves, on our own terms.
2. Can afford it
People over 50 usually have more financial capital than younger generations. Of course, net worth totals vary by education, age, income, and other factors, but median and average net worth figures are consistently highest for the 45 – 74 age bracket. This not only allows older entrepreneurs to take more risks but to be confident in doing so. Money management affects every aspect of life including emotional and physical wellness. A financially well person is as equipped as possible and consequently least anxious about finances — the perfect environment for entrepreneurship.
3. Are emotionally stable
Research consistently shows that age is directly related to more professional efficacy and engagement, and less burnout. Each of these has been linked to older individuals being better at using positive emotional regulation strategies. Research shows that more stable emotions allow for the rapid adaptability and recovery from work demands required for successful entrepreneurship. Despite what many think about seniors being slower at adaptability, recent studies suggest that older workers responded more effectively to Covid-19 measures, for example.
4. Are intellectually savvier
Thanks to decades of experience, older people have had more opportunities to grow their business connections, knowledge, wisdom, skills, expertise, and management. These all help facilitate the smart tactical decisions a successful entrepreneur needs for a solid strategy and execution. Despite what many think, research indicates that most forms of learning and retention are well preserved with age and though all brain cells change, mental decline is not inevitable. The key is stimulating the brain with newness. What better way to do that than through creating a new, exciting business?
5. Are spiritually aligned
Existence takes on new meaning in the third chapter of life. By 50, life events often trigger an understanding of what really matters. With fewer years ahead, the present becomes the focus with no time to lose. Realigning with self and purpose creates a positive force that helps face life with more resilience and hope, improve relationships, and cope with stressors such as finances or health. Older adults also have fewer family obligations and tend to be more self-confident and determined to leave a positive legacy. The ideal framework for successful entrepreneurship!
Global demographics and social factors are leading to a “graying” labor force.
The above reasons provide some evidence against the general assumption that there is a decline in skills and abilities with age. Age Shines!
Changing how we work and live, better health, increased life expectancy and lower birth rates have led to a need to keep older people professionally active, including entrepreneurship. There is work to be done and it might start with re-thinking entrepreneurship as the best option for our healthy, savvy, purposeful, and financially sound stars – our aging population!
Why grow old waiting? Now is your time to shine!
Special thanks to Dominique Ben Dhaou for her insight for this article. Ellen and Dominique are the founders of “Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive! », a unique set of programs designed to inspire the 50+ generation to grasp the modern aging paradigm before it’s too late, to shake up mindsets to embrace the years ahead, and to offer vision, tools, tips, and guidelines to thrive NOW. They are also the authors of the Book “Wake-Up, Shake-Up, Thrive! How to Lift Up Your Life in Your 50’s and beyond,” To learn more here.
Ellen Kocher, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Ellen Kocher is an Economist and Certified Workplace Wellness Consultant who holds a master’s degree in Health & Wellness Coaching. Following 10 years as an Executive in Finance, Ellen made some major lifestyles change and has dedicated the past 20+ years to walking her talk through workplace wellbeing, promoting a holistic approach to eating, physical activity, health, resilience, and self-care. Ellen has coached hundreds of individuals and groups in dozens of organizations to make sustainable lifestyle changes empowering them to go from knowing what to do to actually doing it! Most recently Ellen’s work focuses on the 50+ demographic.