Should you approach the world of entrepreneurship before your 30s?
Many of us feel as though we’ve got a multi-million dollar idea under our sleeves at some point in our lifetime. However, not all of us are brave enough to act on it. And that’s the difference between an entrepreneur and your average dreamer. An entrepreneur will have the drive and motivation to bring their idea into fruition, prepared to overcome the challenges that are thrown at them along the way. It’s a rare quality that makes them stand out from the rest.
So, whatever your motivation, if you’re going to start a business, is there ever a prime time to do it?
The Desire to Take Risks
You’d want to reap the rewards of running your own business for as long as possible, right? So it makes sense that entrepreneurs wish to get the ball rolling as early as they can. This optimistic mindset often means that entrepreneurs are willing to give it two or three tries at building a successful empire before one finally takes off – making them unafraid to take risks. Many entrepreneurs have reported of a “now or never” mentality that takes over once they’ve left school. Looking at the full picture, surely, it’s better to start a business before you get married, have kids and need to pay off the mortgage. Because all these responsibilities could hinder you in your endeavors.
Furthermore, younger people tend to be more willing to adapt too. A big part of the reason is that they’ve had less time to get comfortable, less time exposed to the norms and rules of what a working professional should act like. Kind of like the innocence of a child, a young professional will head out into the working world not knowing any different. And, don’t forget, right now the younger generation is growing up in a technological age. They face technological disruption on a regular basis, meaning they’re used to adapting and integrating new developments into their life and work.
More Energy and Motivation
Undoubtedly, running a startup takes a lot of work. You have to swap nights out with your friends for nights in with your laptop on many an occasion. The general attitude is that younger professionals may have more energy, enthusiasm and motivation than their older counterparts. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule and you may just carry that youthful spirit into your mid-life years, but, sadly, it’s not guaranteed!
There is the argument, however, that perhaps those in their 30s have just as much reason to be motivated as those in their 20s. After all, that mortgage isn’t going to pay itself. And after years of working underneath a superior, one day they may have a revelation that they want to be their own boss. This is typically the turning point for many older entrepreneurs. Naturally, there is a greater risk financially when you’re settled with a family, but this can also be the biggest motivator.
Does Older Always Mean Wiser?
When you start a business in your 20s, you may still be a little naïve in more ways than one. Whereas, when you’re in your 30s, you’ll be lacking experience when it comes to the goings-on in the professional world. In many cases, older does mean wiser. You can’t buy years of experience. Some people may prefer having had 10 years of workplace experience before they indulge in their entrepreneurial goals. Similarly, someone may prefer to work with someone who’s had that experience in a work environment, as they’ll have a better understanding of what it takes to run a business and keep employees happy. For example, a partner at a Manchester solicitors firm will have considerable experience in what it means to manage a team of people, all with different strengths and skills. This is something that a person in their early 20s may not be familiar with.
Which is Better: 20s or 30s?
Starting a business at the age of 20 may mean you’ve got youth, energy and motivation on your side, but those three factors alone won’t guarantee your success. Similarly, experience, knowledge and contacts won’t guarantee your success as an entrepreneur in your 30s – but it can help.
In fact, the Kauffman Foundation carried out a study that found entrepreneurs starting businesses mid-career were five times more likely to enjoy success five years later than entrepreneurs starting businesses right out of college. It’s widely believed that once you’re in your 30s, you’ve got enough knowledge, contacts and skills that you can apply to a new business. This isn’t to say that you’re not knowledgeable in your 20s, and finding a mentor in the field may help you overcome any youth-related setbacks. But waiting can mean that you’re more prepared. On the whole, it sounds cliché, but perhaps waiting until you are ready truly might be the best way to approach entrepreneurship.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Business and Tech Writer
Paul Matthews is a Manchester based business and tech writer who writes in order to better inform business owners on how to run a successful business. You can usually find him at the local library or browsing Forbes’ latest pieces.