For many people over 55 years old, those who didn’t grow up with today’s tech; it’s tempting to think launching a tech startup is impossible. I’ll share four reasons to launch when older than 55.
Don’t fall for stinking thinking
It’s time to share a few reasons why that line of thinking is bogus and serves to hinder the quality of the startup ecosystem.
I’m interested in sharing these points and the supporting articles discovered during my research for the post for completely selfish reasons. I’m a co-founder of a tech startup myself.
I’ve got my own latent insecurities around what I know and what I don’t know. They sometimes weave their way into my brain.
Some promises I can make
What I can promise you is this. The more I’ve worked at perfecting my own mental narrative, the more clear it becomes that few are as qualified to launch a huge disruptive play in the market as I.
My hope is that you see yourself in the list of reasons you’re far more qualified to launch a tech startup than you may have realized.
I hope you see yourself in these reasons
I’m as big a fan of young minds and energies and insights. However, when it comes to navigating business challenges, I want team members that have been there and done that.
This is an important part of understanding the four reasons to launch when older than 55.
You’ll find that others that invest in your company and have a desire to help build your vision may feel the same way.
Reason Two: You likely have connections. If you’ve paid your dues in life with respect to navigating careers. Boomers and beyond have experience with charitable organizations, community involvement, and volunteering.
Social relationships are so important
You’ve built up some social relationship capital that will now serve to make your age all the more valuable to a group wanting to start something big. This a big part of the four reasons to launch when older than 55.
In Jay Samit’s book, Disrupt You! Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity And Thrive In The Era Of Endless Innovation, you see case after case of older people that deconstruct their life histories and learn how to put them back together again.
Experience adds value
Your experience provides significant new value creation to a host of companies solving big problems.
This is far more likely to take place faster when you have connections to call on for all the reasons that are necessary for startups.
50, 60, 70. They’re the new 30, 40, and 50.
Reason Three: 50, 60, 70. They’re the new 30, 40, and 50. If you believe it to be so.
What do I mean? I am surrounded by AARP aged men and women who live life with the discipline and wisdom that makes their age completely irrelevant. You can be that kind of person as well.
At age 59, I’m in better condition physically than at any point in the last twenty-five years. How? I work at it.
My focus is more clear than ever.
All of my workouts are disciplined and my day is planned. My kids are grown and I’m focused on the tasks at hand. I’m not alone in this stage of life.
Many men and women that have the majority of life’s distractions, albeit blessings, out of the way.
They have nothing but time on their hands to focus on the big contribution to the world they want to make. Once you become one of these people, no team in their right mind would turn you away.
Reason Four: You’re more secure.
Therefore you can make better decisions and candidly, you don’t give two s…ts about anything anymore.
Ah..security in one’s self. There is nothing like it as a hedge against undue influence. If you’re solid in who you know yourself to be, you may embrace the contributions of others with no threat to your own self-worth.
How personal security adds to a tech startup.
How is this valuable in a tech startup? Without a doubt, in tech startups, you will NOT be the sharpest knife in the drawer or the smartest person in the room. It will be your job as a co-founder or founder to assemble the brightest people you can.
Adding to the four reasons to launch when older than 55, you know how to gather the resources at hand and focus them on the vision and then LEAD in ways that make the company come to life.
Bring your personal security into the mix
Without complete security in yourself, you won’t be able to do it. Once you own your identity, you’ll make better decisions based on business needs, not personal preferences. Insecurities lead to impulsive decisions and poor leadership. You don’t need that as a calling card.
Bonus Reason Five: In my experience, the totality of one’s business and life experiences are far more valuable than can be calculated.
If you’ll take the time to do a couple of the following things, your experiences can be assessed and redeployed in ways that make your vision for a tech startup at age 60 or over far more realistic.
To do items
1) Break down your experiences and current skill sets. You can automate this process by going to sites like Freelance.com, Upwork.com, Elance.com, Guru.com, Coach.me, or others and filling out their skills assessment sections.
2) If you find that the exercise in section 1(one) wasn’t a confidence builder than you can quickly bone up on relevant experience with sites like Udemy.com, Coursera.com, LinkedIn.com, and their integration of Lynda.com.
These sites among thousands of others like Youtube.com allow for the taking of thousands of courses online.
You can gain talking point expertise and identify shortcomings in your skill sets thereby shortening the time it takes for you to know who you’re going to have to attract in the way of team members to make your dream come true.
3) Network with the entrepreneurial community in your city or state. I can assure you there are incubators, courses, and resources either in your city or a short drive away.
If not, you can become a member of many online communities built for these purposes. Start with Score.org. Visit sites like http://1millioncups.com or https://www.abetterlemonadestand.com/. Google terms such as online incubator, entrepreneurial sites, or start-up help to find more.
4) If you’re struggling with what to do or where to start I can’t overemphasize the necessity to fill your mind with the right material.
My company brought on a tech genius about two years ago. I and my co-founder had developed our concept over time but hadn’t moved forward with the building of the app.
I started courting a technical pro, who I had met at one of Nashville’s entrepreneurial incubation hubs. We had a significant plan in place.
Our site was up and our knowledge of the market and the problem we sought to solve was clear.
He partnered with us because of our age
This highly qualified tech partner came on board because of OUR EXPERIENCE. He said and I quote, “You guys had some grey hair. I knew I wouldn’t have to coach you guys on business, marketing, sales, or the market.”
Leverage your age and your experience.
Share your vision with those that may be in a position to help you. There is more opportunity to build a tech company today than ever in history. The barriers to entry are zero.
You could be up and running something by the end of the week. Don’t let your age feel like a hurdle to solving some of the world’s more significant problems.
If you’d like to talk about your ideas, your start-up, your personal pivot, I’d love to chat. No strings attached. Schedule that call by hitting this link.
Sherman G. Mohr is an Insead Blue Ocean Strategy Institute Certified Blue Ocean Strategist residing in Nashville, TN. He serves as co-founder of marketing, tech, and healthcare firms.