Bill Cheeks was 57 years old when he started ABBA Associates, his fiscal management business, in 2002. Thirteen years later, he’s still going strong, traveling the country to lead credit education workshops and speak at conferences. Starting a business later in life is possible!
“I’m working because I’m not good at retirement,” he says. “I love what I’m doing.”
So do many other people who become entrepreneurs after another career. Some of these late bloomers start businesses to generate income and/or funds for retirement. But often, their primary reason has nothing to do with money.
Over 80 percent of potential “encore entrepreneurs” and career changers are driven by working on something they are passionate about, found an encore.org study. A lifelong dream to be your own boss, a need to stay productive or a desire for scheduling flexibility also can lead to a business later in life.
If you’re thinking about joining the ranks of entrepreneurs who are 40-and-older, here are five tips for starting a business:
Do your homework.
Research your business idea thoroughly so you can base decisions on facts, rather than whims or untested assumptions. Established entrepreneurs recommend reading trade publications to learn about industry developments, trends, and your competition.
Get to know yourself better.
Even people with decades of work experience can benefit from a SWOT analysis. The simplest way is to take a piece of paper and draw a box with four quadrants. List your “strengths” and “weaknesses” in the upper two quadrants and your “opportunities” and “threats” in the bottom two. Think carefully about whether you have the tolerance, energy, and commitment for what lies ahead.
Talk with your family.
The support of spouses/life partners is critical, given that you’re about to undertake a challenge that will affect their lives as well as yours. Have a family meeting to outline your vision, present plans and make sure everyone in the household is on board. Open, regular communication, along with family celebrations when you reach milestones, can reduce household stress and help you stay the course.