I’ve started small home business in my 20s as well as in my 50s. Were there any differences in the process based on my age alone? Yes, and if you’re an over-50 entrepreneur, it helps to keep them in mind.
To begin with, when I was younger, I had the boundless optimization that is bred by the naivety of youth. I hadn’t been through much hardship in my life, and so didn’t think anything bad could really happen to me, including the possibility of my business failing. Therefore I went boldly forward with few resources or contingencies in place.
At 50, I had, like many people, been through some very serious problems in my life,
including my wife being diagnosed (mistakenly, it turned out) with terminal cancer. Therefore, I considered the pros and cons of my new business plan more carefully, and should things have turned sour, I would not have been badly hurt.
Even though I had only a few thousand dollars in my bank account when I was in my early 20s, I felt more able to take risks because I also had relatively few financial responsibilities: no family, no mortgage, and (living in Manhattan) no car payments. Plus, when you’re young, if your business tanks and you lose it all, you have plenty of time to make it back.
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Category: Personal Finance