Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Late-career Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs aren’t all bowtie-wearing 26-year-olds with a liberal arts MA. According to the Kauffman Index of Startup Activity — startup activity rose in 2015, for the first time in 4 years. But what’s really interesting is that 24.3% of entrepreneurs are now 55-64 years old, compared to 14.8% in 1996. Part of this change is driven by necessity — late Boomers and Gen Xers are pushing off retirement. They need to work longer because they expect to live longer than previous generations. Becoming a late-career entrepreneur is a smart retirement fix. But do you have what it takes?

Here are some nontraditional assets a late-career entrepreneur has that Millennials just can’t compete with.

Big time corporate experience

If you’re a corporate executive in your 40’s or 50’s, your job experience is incomparable to younger generations. This is the era of international best practice exchange, and you’ve been through so many meetings, seminars, and workshops that you’re now an expert at it.

Back when you first started your career, companies invested big to train their employees. Today’s new employees are still learning about simple things like how to hold a performance conversation or run a meeting.

You’ve also had plenty of opportunities to lead projects with your corporate job. So when you hit the ground running on your own as an entrepreneur, you’re not afraid of the responsibilities.

On-the-job training

Corporate executives spend years working with colleagues from another office or even another continent. They’re expert diplomats in a way no Millennial is prepared to be.

You know how to keep positive relationships with your client, boss, and colleagues by treating them each differently. Ever needed to extract something valuable from a reluctant worker? You probably built a mutually beneficial relationship with them to help things run smoothly for the both of you. Younger corporate workers have yet to learn this finesse.

Your experience keeping clients happy will be your key to success as an entrepreneur. Underperforming with clients can lead to lower purchases, loss of clients, and less revenue overall.

Most young entrepreneurs these days have either never worked before or only have a few years of experience. That’s probably why so many are deathly afraid of dealing with clients. They have some catching up to do before they find their own retirement fix.

Excess intellectual and work capacity

Despite everything you’ve learned from your corporate career, eventually it can become rather stifling. Your work capacity is limited — even if you do more, your salary will stay the same.

The limitations of your corporate job are especially high if you don’t like the work. Research has shown that job satisfaction directly relates to productivity.

But if you walk away from the corporate environment and instead pursue something you love, it all changes. Your work capacity increases because you run your own show. You can work how you want, when you want, where you want.

And if you become an entrepreneur in an area you’re truly passionate about, your intellectual and work capacity rise as well.

Think you’re good at your corporate job? Imagine how effective you would be if the chains were removed.

So many late-career corporate workers think of their age as a detriment, not an asset. They’re worried about getting pushed out of the company by younger people with fancy degrees, but fail to realize their own worth.

If you’re looking for a retirement fix, becoming a late-career entrepreneur is a huge opportunity. Nontraditional assets can give you an extra advantage over less experienced startups on the playing field.  

 

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