It’s never too late to get rich with these 7 tips for starting a thriving small business after age 50.
It’s not over until it’s over. Especially when starting a new small business. The fact is, entrepreneurs over 50 are twice as likely to get rich as those under 25, according to a fascinating new survey.
Those over 50 are also launching more new businesses than any other age cohort, according to the Global Institute for Experienced Entrepreneurship.
The institute itself was founded by Elisabeth Isele, at age 70.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy though. So here are the 7 keys to getting rich with your own small business after age 50.
1. Consider the top qualities
In her new book Never Too Old To Get Rich: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Starting a Business Mid-Life author Kerry Hannon profiles 20 older people who made it work.
She says the first key is experience, “You’ve been through some ups and downs,” Hannon told CNBC. “You can bring some balance that a younger person can’t, who doesn’t have your world experience.”
Next, the financial cushion older people have is also crucial.
A 25-year-old can’t afford to take the time off from their day job to really focus in on a new business venture.
An older person with savings, on the other hand, might be able to take a detour that lasts years.
And finally, don’t undervalue the wide network a person above 50 has accumulated. These connections can be translated into clients, customers, or at least referrals. Young people have nowhere near these kinds of professional resources.
2. Financial fitness
Hannon recommends having at least 3 years of living expenses saved up before making a move towards your own small business.
She says older people tend to understand they need to pay down their personal debts and have cash on hand before they take on further financial risk.
The two big keys are to scrutinize your expenses and DO NOT tap into your retirement fund.
Hannon says you need to carefully analyze your cash flow. Consider relocating if that is a major expense.
But, under no circumstances should you liquidate your retirement fund for an inherently risky new venture after 50.
Older people have some genuinely undervalued advantages but time to rebuild lost savings is not one of them.
3. Take advantage of free resources
Not everything you need to be successful is going to cost you.
Hannon recommends an organization called SCORE which provides free business monitoring and education.
Also, she says don’t be afraid to seek out advice online.
Many successful entrepreneurs are now offering legitimate insight on how to formulate business plans on youtube and other sites with no paywall. (This article is also free. Just saying.)
Since platforms like Youtube allow business consultants to make money through ads and merchandise sales, they are able to give away expert advice at no charge.
Don’t be afraid to open up Google and learn what you can from people whose own business model is giving away good ideas for free.
4. What is your value?
Hannon says forget the nonsense about self-reinvention.
“Don’t make any rash moves,” Hannon explains. “Do your homework to see what YOU can do.”
What she means is you still have to find a niche. And then once you have a solid idea it’s important to float a trial balloon.
Volunteering or moonlighting can be a great way to test the waters in a new field. But dipping your toe in first is essential to find out if you will enjoy the hard work a new business inevitably brings before you actually invest.
5. Find a junior partner
Age before beauty as they say, and Hannon emphasizes finding a youthful counterpart can be a great way to spread out your risk.
“This kind of business is fantastic,” Hannon said. When an older entrepreneur pairs with someone younger, you get an unbeatable combination: They’ve got tech-savvy and enthusiasm, and you have the capital, the resources and older, wiser contacts.
This combination of experience and youthful exuberance is the recipe for long, organic business growth with a pot of gold at the end.
6. Women for the win
Hannon says women over 50 are actually the top demo worldwide starting new businesses. And, their success rate is seriously impressive.
“What makes women fabulous is, we are great collaborators,” Hannon said, adding that women tend to like finding collaborators who have skills they don’t.
Women also tend to understand getting rich isn’t a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race, and it’s important you find partners who understand small business success doesn’t happen overnight.
7. Everything is sales
Even if your core get-rich idea has nothing to do with direct sales, you will still have to sell yourself, and your ideas.
Hannon suggests getting a short term direct sales job just to brush up your people skills in this area.
You can also get creative and join a free improv class to overcome any fear of giving presentations.
At some point, you will need to attract clients with a one-on-one pitch. You may also need to confidently secure investors or a loan if your business really heats up, and this kind of practice can be the difference between getting rich and going broke.
Bonus tip – how to find funding
Another great thing about starting a business after 50 is you will have a solid credit history.
If you get to the point of needing a cash infusion, alternative capital firms are aggressively investing in new ventures and are looking for the kind of sober entrepreneurs people after 50 tend to become.
Small business loans from large banks can be complicated and difficult to secure, but smaller, more nimble firms are actively looking for entrepreneurs working outside the box.
Bigger banks might not understand the data on how competent older people are at starting new ventures. Smaller firms do and nyone over 50 who is able to follow these steps and carefully plan their new business is a great investment.
With the right funding and the right planning, you could get rich at any age.