In recent years, America’s creative spirit has captured the hearts of mature adults, as more and more retirees and older workers look to start exciting, relevant businesses. Popular media often portrays formulaic youthful images of entrepreneurship, but looks may be deceiving. Studies show 45 to be the average age of those fronting “high-growth” startups in 2018; further, they conclude that you are two times more likely to grow that startup at 55 than at 35.
However, an entrepreneurial encore career is not only for the retired corporate executive or business owner. No matter your work experience, if you are willing and focused, you can give yourself, at least, an opportunity by taking several calculated steps.
Find Your Passion
Ask yourself what would motivate you to wake up each morning with energy and enthusiasm. Is it something you wish you had pursued in your 20s? Consider subjects in periodicals and books that most often catch your interest. Make note of your hobbies, and reflect on what you would choose to do if you had a week devoted to free time.
Working toward something you care deeply about is especially important because intensive planning takes substantial effort. According to Cambridge University professor Simon Laughlin, you devote 20% of your energy toward resting brain function alone. It is also worth remembering the old adage: If you like what you are doing, the money will come.
Take Note of Your Strengths
Your collection of life-experiences may be your greatest asset. As a mature adult, you are a vessel containing wisdom gained from your professional, volunteer or leisure activities. First list your skills, that is, the practical talents you have developed that you can apply to new situations naturally and confidently. These are the attributes one usually considers listing at the top of a resume.
Next, note any intangibles that you consider intrinsic to your nature or personality. Recognize that certain soft skills hold great weight in today’s social marketplace. Possessing emotional intelligence, for example, allows you to empathize with others so that you do not operate in a vacuum cut off from those with whom you wish to interact.
Enlist Concrete Resources to Start
Narrowing your focus can be daunting and overwhelming. Early in your plan, consider looking at career options through online tools. Use these searches as a form of brainstorming. Document the results that strike you initially. Let the ideas sit, and reconsider which results stay with you after a few days.
Ask yourself two questions: Do you feel wedded to an overriding idea as a result? Are you excited by multiple outcomes from your research? Consider whether you want to examine the narrow concept, or choose to explore how to creatively combine multiple options.
Adopt a Leadership Mentality
It is important to develop or reemploy a mindset that you are in charge and working for yourself, whether you seek to create a product or sell a service. Even if you engage with clients with strict, particular needs, always keep true to the vision you shape for your enterprise during your initial generation phase. In the end, you have to have confidence in your ability to make decisions you know are right for you.
Pursue Extended Education
The odds of succeeding in any endeavor increase for those who are lifelong learners. Community libraries provide excellent starting points. The best of these also exist as classrooms without walls – that is, they offer access to learning resources that you can connect to from home with your computer. You can also access personal learning tools, which you can individualize to fit your developing interests.
This step is especially important if you are uncomfortable with using various forms of technology. It is unlikely you will succeed without acquiring skills in accessing computers, smartphones, and online platforms. Any such deficiency will, of course, prove an obstacle to your other education efforts.
Look Outside Yourself
The CEO and Founder of Jump Ventures and Aura, Hari Ravichandran, advocates social responsibility as a central tenant to current progressive entrepreneurship. When putting all your efforts toward fulfilling a personal goal, don’t lose sight of your potential impact on the community at large.
Building philanthropic relationships is not only a positive community action, but it also makes financial sense. Every strong partnership you develop builds your professional network, as entities connect not only with you but with each other. Incorporating philanthropy as another long-term goal for you in your new venture provides a sustaining purpose that can keep you going when you are feeling particularly challenged.
That last note is key. Entrepreneurs overcome continual obstacles at startup and beyond. However, mature adults planning for encore business ventures can succeed by adopting specific, focused strategies. For some, after all, galloping into a new, exciting enterprise is preferable to riding into the sunset.
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