Written by: Amy Ryan Rued
Date: October 29, 2015
Like a lot of Next Avenue readers, I find myself thinking about what’s next for me. My mind is imaging how I can harvest my lifetime of experience into a business venture that is satisfying to me while serving others.
It turns out that I’m not alone. In fact, many of our fellow Baby Boomers around the country are having the same experience.
A recent monograph on the demographic trends of entrepreneurism published by the Kauffman Foundation reveals that there is a trend in the age of new entrepreneurs. Roughly 15% of new entrepreneurs fell into the 55 to 64 age group in 1997. Eighteen years later, the most recent analysis conducted earlier this year showed that 25% of new entrepreneurs were in this age bracket.
Another Kauffman Foundation report concluded that in the current year, Baby Boomers are more likely to launch a new business than a member of the Millennial Generation. In fact, Boomers are twice as likely to launch new businesses.
As many people reach retirement age, their lifelong desire to do something that rewards them begins to really bubble up.
We Boomers have a couple of very important life elements going our way in considering the entrepreneurial plunge. In general, our personal lives are fairly stable. Naturally, we experience ups and downs, but we’ve maintained a lifestyle that has been on a somewhat steady course.
More important, we have the experience of knowing our internal strengths and weaknesses. Most of us have surpassed the point where we think we’re infallible, which was an emblem of our twenties and thirties. Now we pretty much know where we can excel and the areas in which we could use help.
So, how can we experience our entrepreneurial dreams? Start by paying attention to our own experiences, both in the business world and life in general. Think of areas where you see opportunities—we’ve all heard about the drive to “build a better mousetrap.”
We’ve each experienced times when we thought to ourselves that we could do “X” better. Or, “If only this company had made a simple change in their product, it would be so much more efficient.” We have had broad experiences that can unleash our creativity if we only give ourselves the chance.
If we focus on the mindset that “we can do this” and then take the steps to explore how, we can become one of those new entrepreneurs of the Boomer generation.
I know for me, there is a lot going on in my life, making it challenging to fit in just one more project. At the same time, I am convinced that if I can leverage what I know I am good at, while looking objectively at my weaknesses, I can team up with the right resources that will enable me to fulfill my vision for a new business. That result—becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur—would be wonderfully fulfilling!
Check to see if you have a vision of the kind of new business you could start. With discipline, you too can objectively see where you need help, and discover how you can catapult that vision into a venture that will give you a great deal of satisfaction.
As always, the key to make this happen is taking that first step! So, I encourage all who are reading this to take out a piece of paper and jot down all of those ideas that you’ve accumulated about a new business. Don’t limit yourself to what you thought about last week in this effort. Instead, go back as far as five years. Think of those areas that you always knew “you could do it better.”
Then, encouraged by your list, begin exploring the possibilities! People all over Columbus are engaged in entrepreneurism so check out entrepreneur meet-up groups and interview others who are involved in starting their businesses. Also, research online to discover local outlets that can assist you with your ideas—Columbus is a great entrepreneurial environment with resources available to you.
The most important next step—after you’ve created your list—is simply to do one thing: take action.Don’t let your idea rest with the list you developed. Implement steps to see your creativity come alive, always remembering that your ideas won’t become a reality if you don’t create the steps to make it happen.
The odds really are in your favor. Make that first step happen. And the one after that and become the next Columbus area entrepreneur. To borrow a famous shoe company’s slogan—Just Do It! Imagine everything you have to gain!