Step by Step Guide to Kickstart your Business at any Age
If your are looking to become an entrepreneur by kickstarting a business no matter how old you are, Then you're in the right place.
Starting a business in your 20s
If you are in your 20s and you desire to be an entrepreneur, good for you. Congratulations on making a career choice to start your own business at a young age. Most business people are at least 35 when they start a business, but there is no reason you can’t be successful.
As a person who was born with technology at their fingertips, there are so many options for you. You can start a side hustle, or you can start a business.
Maybe you’ll create the next "YouTube sensation," start a digital marketing agency, or become a social influencer? The world really is at your fingertips today if you’re in your 20s. However, you may need to make some sacrifices.
Stop Partying (all the time)
You don’t have to give up all your fun, but the truth is, partying every weekend is not the way to create a successful business - at least not in the beginning when you’re doing a lot of the work yourself that you can later outsource.
Get a Financial Education
Educate yourself in finance, both business, and personal. There is a lot of information that you likely don’t know, or even know how to ask to get the right answers. When you don’t even know what questions to ask, it puts you in a dangerous situation. Instead, accept that there are things you don’t know yet and educate yourself about them.
Make a list of your ideas that fit in with your skill set or things you’d like to learn. Take a course, find a mentor, or get a business coach to help you get started faster. Doing the research beforehand is better than jumping right in. Give yourself a few months to explore ideas.
Write a Business Plan
Once you are set on your idea, write a business plan. Visit the local SCORE.org office to get some help with this. Check out your local library, college, or university for classes, workshops, and more regarding starting a business to get some assistance.
Once you have chosen a business and have the plan, that means you’ve investigated all aspects and are ready to start. Set your intention by putting all tasks and actions in a calendar for you and anyone on your team. Then do the steps and start the business. You will be so happy you did. By the time you’re 35, you’ll have an established business while your friends are just getting started.
Starting a business in your 30s
If you’re in your 30s and considering starting a business, there must be a big reason to make you want to do it. You may be unhappy in your job, or you may enjoy what you do so much you want to start your own firm. Starting a business in your 30s puts you in good company, though, since most people start a business around the age of 35.
In your 30s you’ve likely already had a lot of experience and education in something that is causing you to be filled with the dream of entrepreneurship. It could be based on what you are doing now, but it might be something totally unexpected.
Maybe now you have kids too, and you realize that the old job doesn’t give you the time freedom that you need, and you feel as if you’re missing out on your kids’ lives. So, you set up a business the entire family can work in. Whatever the reason, it’s a great time to start a business.
Some great business ideas for people in their 30s are software companies, digital ad agencies, and so much more. To come up with the right business for you, ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve. How do you want your life to look once the business is established? Do you want to be location independent, or do you want to start something in your local area? Do you want to earn millions, or are you fine with six figures? All these factors matter when choosing the business.
How can you support yourself while you start this business?
It’s important to know how you can do it financially and be successful. You likely already have a mortgage and other bills to contend with that you didn’t have in your 20s. Make a budget. Cut back, tighten your belt, and jump in. Look to your business plan to determine what you need.
Am I really leaving a stable job for this?
If you know you have savings and can finance your start-up, it may cross your mind that you are nuts to leave a stable job. And plenty of people will tell you that very thing without you even asking. But is a job really that stable? What makes it stable? Won’t the jobs you create also be considered stable jobs?
What about your training, experience, and knowledge?
You may think you’re wasting it, especially if you’re going in a new direction. But who says you must do the same thing forever? Why can’t you change your life if you want to? If you’ve been in corporate finance since you graduated college at 22 years old but now you want to start a software firm, you’ll use some of the skills, but it’s different enough to give you a change if that’s what you desire.
Will this business, if successful, give me the results I desire?
Before picking the business you are going to run (probably for at least the next 10 years), make sure it’s really what you want to do, and that is how you want to live your life. Imagine a day in the life establishing the business, and what a day in the life will be like once the business is well established.
You can literally start any type of business you want to in your 30s. There are very few barriers to entry for any type of business other than resources. Do you have the funds, skills, and ability to do it? If you do, go for it.
Starting a business in your 40s
Did you know that a landmark study of almost three million start-ups discovered that the best age to start a business is not as young as you may think? There are a lot of examples of entrepreneurs that started in their 40s and are uber successful.
* People like Donald Fisher who co-founded The Gap was 41 when he founded that company in 1969. Today that company is a nine-billion-dollar company.
* How about Brenda Cascio, who in her late 40s started GB Design House - a wedding customization company which today sells more than a million dollars' worth annually.
* Auria Abraham, at age 44, founded Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen which can be found under the same website (https://auriasmalaysiankitchen.com/). She started mostly for work-life balance after having her first child at 39.
* Robert Noyce founded Intel when he was 41 years old. You know the rest of that story and what a success this visionary company is.
* Reid Hoffman founded LinkedIn in his 30s, but was in his 40s when the business went public.
In fact, according to the study, a business founder’s age being in the 40s means that their business has two times the average chance of success. That means if you want to start a business in your 40s, it’s an ideal time to do it.
There is one thing that stands out as a reason for this fact, and that is implementation or execution. You can have all the dreams and ideas you want but without executing the plan, you won’t see success. And the fact is, people who are older with more experience tend to be much better at execution.
Most 40-year-old people also have something that most 20-year-old people don’t have, which is access to start-up funding. You may already earn a decent wage in your career, and you’re more established and know more about what you want.
Maybe you have savings or equity in your home. Even if you were a stay-at-home parent, by the time you reach your 40s, you still have more confidence in who you are and what you know (and are more aware and accepting that there are things you don’t know) than a 20-something person.
You can start any type of business you are interested in, from digital companies to physical companies. You can create software or start a new clothing line. It’s totally up to you. While there is age discrimination in the workplace, there is no age discrimination for starting a business; in fact, you’re more likely to get VC funding if you’re older and have more working experience.
The key to being successful is to do something you know, love, and really feel passionate about. You know how to do it because you have the experience to create your business plan and follow it to success.
Starting a business in your 50s.
There is no doubt that the 50s is a good time to start a business. Anything you’ve heard to the contrary is wrong. You have almost three times as much chance of creating a successful business than at any other age. Let’s look at a couple examples.
* Leo Goodwin founded GEICO, the well-known insurance company, in the 1930s when he was 50 years old, along with his wife. He considered it a family business at the time even though it was not usual for a wife to work with her husband at a business like this.
* Wally Blume started his ice cream business Denali Flavors in 1995 when he was in his mid-50s. The business makes ice-cream in 40 flavors like black raspberry and caramel brownie. In the old days, he sometimes had really strange flavors too.
* Carol Gardner started her company Zelda Wisdom (https://www.zeldawisdom.com/), a greeting card company, after a divorce. She’s been featured on Oprah, Martha and various morning shows around the country.
As you see, you can start any type of business you can dream up if you have the right skill set and ability to invest in yourself and your idea and share the vision with the world. You can start a large business or a small business. You can start a solo operation or build a big firm. It’s totally up to you and your goals.
Your best bet is to become the expert on your niche even before you begin. That way, it won’t be a big shock when you start. Do your due diligence, identify your market, set up your start-up budget, craft a marketing plan, and go for it.
Don’t forget to use the contacts you’ve built up over the years. You’ll want to let everyone know that you’ve started the business or are going to, and you want them involved. If you are deficient in modern technology, consider bringing on other experts that have that skill either as a partner, employee or as a contractor.
The most important thing you can do when you have decided to start a business is to set a timeline right now for when you want to have your grand opening. Then get started on the planning and organizing so that you have a calendar full of things to do that will lead to your new business success.
Starting a business in retirement
If you ask most people when they will retire, they’ll tell you they won’t ever retire. Most people today actually plan to bring income home forever. Some plan to have side gigs or to work as a freelancer or consultant, and some plan to start full-fledged businesses. What’s awesome is that there isn’t really a better time in your life to start a business.
Here are some businesses you can start in retirement:
* Financial Advisor – Depending on how you want to go about this, you may not even need new credentials. You can help young people and families set up their financial futures with sound advice.
* Consulting – Whatever you do now, you can do as a business owner, or as a freelancer, in a consulting capacity. If you’re an expert, especially if you’ve written papers or books, becoming a consultant is almost a no-brainer.
* Digital Marketing Agency – If you are experienced with marketing, you can start your own marketing agency. Digital marketing is a big thing today and if you have worked in this field a long time and have the experience, you can make an impact here.
* Real Estate – There are tons of things you can do in real estate that will be more hands-off, such as starting a management company to help people manage their rentals. Maybe you have a nice property and want to rent out portions for events or rooms in your home. Or you can invest in flipping or start bed and breakfast. Some retirees just like getting their real estate license and selling.
* Buy Something – You can also buy a business you are interested in that is already successful, and run that. Some businesses can run with absentee owners too. It’s totally up to you how you choose to run a business.
You’re going to be successful in whatever you do because you’ve lived a lot. You’ve experienced life. You know things that other people don’t know just by having been on the Earth longer than them.
You Know Who You Are
While there may be some retired individuals who still don’t know who they are, that’s not likely. If you are having issues about not being sure, seek some help through a business or life coach (or even counseling) so that you can become clear on who you are.
You Know What Hard Work Is
You’ve had a career; you know what hard work is. You’ve learned from others and know what to do and what to avoid. You’re ready because you have all this experience.
You Are Dedicated
Having worked your entire life until retirement, you are a dedicated person who can stick to something for long periods, even if it’s hard or not always fun. Having a business can sometimes be hard, and that is going to help you.
You Can Execute Your Plans
The thing that sets apart dreamers and entrepreneurs is execution. If you can implement your plans after you’ve done your due diligence, then you will succeed.
You Already Have Authority
When you’re retired and have lived a good life, you already experience some trust that someone in their 20s won’t automatically receive. For example, when is the last time you went to any type of financial advisor who was in their 20s that you trusted?
When you do decide to start a business at this age, it might be more enjoyable to find something that you truly have a passion for doing. Maybe you have a hobby that you’d love to turn into a business? Maybe you love your job now and want to start your own firm?
Whatever it is that you do, usually by retirement you are done with doing things you really hate, but you also know how to get through those things by outsourcing, delegating, or just scheduling it and putting your nose to the grindstone.
Starting a business when you're a stay-at-home parent
If you’re a stay-at-home parent today, you’re in luck. There are so many types of businesses that you can start that if you really want to do it and you take the time to choose wisely, there is truly no limit to what you can accomplish and earn in your own business.
When you start your own business, you can design it the way you need it to be for your family. For example, if you don’t want to leave your house for the work, you don’t have to. Choose something that enables you to stay home. If you don’t want to be beholden to clients and customers during the day at set hours, you can accomplish that too. The sky is the limit.
Let’s look at some flexible ideas that will take into consideration the family for a stay-at-home parent who wants to start a business.
* Sell Your Arts and Crafts – If you are good at making things, you can start a business selling them. The key here is to set your prices higher rather than lower as they are exclusive handmade items. Don’t price like Walmart; you’re not Walmart and you’re making something very personal and handmade.
* Social Media Manager – If you are savvy with social media like Instagram and Instagram Stories and know how to get attention online, you can start your own social media digital agency and handle other businesses’ social media. You can do this at 3 am while kids are sleeping if you must.
* Bookkeeping Business – You can become a bookkeeper from home today. You may need to work with local people, but it’s not difficult to set up automation for some of the work. You may need to go to your clients’ offices to pick up paperwork weekly, but you can access everything remotely via your computer.
* Farming – If you have some land, you and your family can grow a local salad garden and supply local restaurants with local greens. Another alternative that is not hard and doesn’t require a lot of space is mushrooms. Some varieties must be bought locally due to problems with shipping. Whatever you grow can lead to selling cheese, jams, and so much more from your homestead.
* YouTube Star – Believe it or not, plenty of moms and dads are staying home with their kids, traveling, and doing all sorts of freedom-oriented things as YouTube stars. Just because others are doing it doesn’t mean your idea won’t work.
If you want to start a business as a stay-at-home parent, a good idea is to join some online groups. However, keep your wits about you. There are lots of scams that you want to avoid. If you really want to be an entrepreneur, take it seriously, do your research, and realize that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Having said that, there really are families making a lot of money on YouTube and other social platforms.
Starting a business when you're already in a full-time job
If you have a full-time job but you desperately want to be an entrepreneur today, you can do it if you pick the right type of business. A digital business can be designed so that you don’t have to do it during specific hours or times.
For example, if you decide to start a blogging business and make money as an affiliate marketer, it doesn’t matter when you create your content if you publish content that your audience wants to see regularly.
If you’re interested in starting a business when you’re already in a full-time job, here are some ideas to investigate for yourself.
* Virtual Assistant – You can set up your VA business (kind of like a virtual secretary) to work in such a way that you are not available on call. You can have your clients assign work by a certain time for you to finish by a certain time. All they should care about are the deliverables.
* Digital Marketing – If you start a digital marketing agency, you can easily do it while you have your full-time job due to software that enables you to schedule actions. So, on the weekends when you’re off, you can feed ten emails into your autoresponder plus ten blog posts into your blog schedule, and it’ll work for you all week.
* Blogger – As a blogger, you can create the content for your blog whenever you have the time. The system will schedule the blogs that you set up to be published regularly. No one will realize you wrote it at 2 am or that you wrote all ten blog posts in a series in a weekend. You make money via ads and products that you recommend.
* Graphic Design Firm – If you are good with Photoshop and other software that enables you to design beautiful graphics (from web banners to book covers), then you can start a graphic design firm. If you build websites too, that’s even more than your firm can do. Hire some help, and you have a real business that can go far.
* Create an Online Course – Do you know how to do something that is super-cool and useful? Or, maybe it’s not even useful but other people want to do it? If so, you can create a course. Today, the software available like Teachable.com or aMember.com enables you to deliver courses without you even being there.
* Become a Writer – You can start a writing business by becoming an author and self-publishing via Amazon and Kindle, or you can actually write as a service for other businesses that need content for their websites, ads, and brochures.
There are many more ideas today that you can do from home even with a full-time job - even if you have kids. The main thing to consider is the flexibility that your business will afford you, and if it has the capability to earn enough money to replace your job or not. If it can’t replace your job, you may want to find something else.
Starting a business when you want a career change
Are you considering starting a business because you dislike your job or you’re ready for a career change? If you love the idea of giving up your current career and making a big change to become an entrepreneur, you’re in luck because there hasn’t been a better time to start your own business.
Take a Test Drive
Don’t quit your job right away before you’re ready. You really do want to do this right for the maximum chance for success. For example, if you think you want to start a restaurant but you’ve not worked in one, you really should try to work in one a few times a week on your time off to get a feel for it.
If you want to start a digital job, you can test drive that easily at home via your laptop. You can give your idea a try by setting up a Facebook group for people who might want to buy your idea someday. See how much interest you can develop before quitting your job.
Be Willing to Commit
Sometimes when you want to change careers, you can get into a big hurry and act too fast. You must remember that even if you don’t like your job right now, it is paying the bills. You’ll need to be willing to work nights and weekends (or when you’re off work) to make your dream come true. But if you are willing to make a commitment to it, you will be successful once your idea is developed.
Change Your Mindset
It’s hard to think like a business owner when you are still in a job. However, you’ll need to change your mindset when you are working on your business to that of an owner who is an expert over a person with a job. You’re the one in charge now, so you want to do things your way and the most appropriate way that will lead to success.
Replace Your Income before Quitting
You might not have to replace everything, but you should replace the needed portion of your income before you quit your day job to run your business full time. One thing to do is set up a budget. Read about the 50-30-20 budget, which is going to help you ensure you have enough to devote to your business.
Remember that the only thing that can hold you back from starting your own business at any time in your life is you. If you don’t believe in your ideas, it’s hard to implement them. One way to believe in your ideas is to study and research your audience and your industry until you become an expert on both.
Starting a business when you're out of work
The truth is, no matter how scary this time is, this is a great time to start your own business. You can take control of the situation you’re in and come out of it better than ever. If you didn’t lose your job, you might not ever be brave enough to become an entrepreneur. People like Mark Cuban, Kathryn Minshew, and even the most powerful woman on Wall Street, Sallie Krawcheck, all stared their businesses after being fired.
Being fired is a common way people end up in their own business, and it can be a very successful way to start. This is mostly because when people are afraid of starvation or losing their home, they tend to work harder and are much more committed. In fact, many entrepreneurs report being fired multiple times before finally getting the hint and going out on their own.
If you want to start your own business when you’re out of work, this is one time you should not delay finding a way to bring in income so you can work your dream.
* Get Something on the Side – If your dream business is not a service-based business and you have to earn money for the product, consider starting a service-based business on the side like driving for a rideshare company, delivering groceries, or something like that which won’t distract you from your business.
* Live Off Your Unemployment – If you do get unemployment or you have some form of buyout package, you can live off that for a time. Cut all your extra expenses, such as eating out and buying clothing. Stick to the basics while you build the business.
* Know Your Skill Set – You should know that you are good at doing. Right now, it is not a time to try to learn something completely new because you are unemployed and need to get money coming in. You can work as a consultant doing what you did before, or you may have to figure out how your skills align with something else.
* What Do You Love? – Is there something you are good at that you really love doing and would do for free if you could? If there is something you get excited about that also has a way to earn income from it and build a business, what would it take to turn that into your business?
* What Problems Can You Solve and for Whom? – Knowing who your ideal audience/client/customer is can help you figure out what problems you can solve for them using your skills, knowledge, and experience.
* Determine How You’ll Market Your New Business – If money is tight, you may have to consider some interesting alternatives to get people to notice your business. For example, you may want to start a blog, or a YouTube channel or an Instagram, depending on which works best for your type of business.
The main thing to realize is that nothing is stopping you from coming up with a million-dollar business idea and building it starting today, other than you. Chances are that if you are reading this, you already have at least a glimmer of an idea of what you want to do. Now you just need to research the idea, study the audience, and match it to your skill set and implement and execute, and you’re going to be a success.
When you should not become an entrepreneur
There are many reasons that people choose to become entrepreneur, but there are some that tend to be signs that the business idea won’t work out so well for the business owner. Let’s look at those reasons you should not become an entrepreneur.
* You Cannot Commit – If you cannot commit to a "workday" of some sort and a schedule to implement your ideas, it is not going to work out. You cannot make things happen, doing nothing. If you aren’t the type of person who can create a plan and then follow it to completion, a small business might not be for you. Maybe you want to find a remote job or a flexible alternative.
* You Hate Your Job – If you hate your job, it’s time to go find another one, but that’s not the only reason to start your own business. A lot of the things you dislike in your job might exist in the business too. For example, if you are currently a secretary and your boss is on your last nerve, becoming a virtual assistant isn’t going to solve that problem because you’ll end up with several "bosses."
* You Don’t Want to Work Hard – If you think having your own business means doing nothing, you’ve read too many books and fantasies. Even the Four-Hour Work Week Guy did not work only four hours a week - at least not at first. There is a joke about being an entrepreneur that goes like this, "Only an entrepreneur chooses to work 80 hours a week because they did not want to work 40 hours a week for someone else."
* You’re Not Willing to Learn New Things – As an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to learn about taxes, finance, and so many things that have nothing directly to do with your business. You cannot just rely on others when it comes to these things. If you are not willing to learn about these things, don’t start your own business, because you’ll end up failing your first tax year when you owe a ton of money you can’t pay.
* You Have No Family Support – If your family does not support you in your dream, it might not be the right time to start. This is true whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or the breadwinner, because the only way you can be successful in business is if your partner supports you.
If you think becoming an entrepreneur is easier than working at a job, you are wrong. It’s different, for sure, but it’s not easier. If you aren’t good at being self-motivated, managing finances, and delegating while executing, entrepreneurship might not be for you. However, if you can get on board with what you need to do and do it, you can overcome any personality deficiency if you really want to do it and become a success.
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