Before starting a company, most future entrepreneurs wrestle with reasons they shouldn’t take the plunge. Of course losing money and having to drastically reduce personal time are on this list of fears for startup owners, but there’s another key factor that can prevent entrepreneurs from pursuing their dreams: age. Older people fear their time has passed, and they won’t have the energy to start a business. Middle-aged people feel more responsibility to provide for children and aging parents, and don’t think the risk of starting their own company is worth it. Young people worry they lack the experience and knowledge to run their own company. While all of these are valid concerns, we want to encourage those with solid business ideas to think instead about the positive aspects of their age over the negative. Not sure what those are? Read on. Teens
Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook at 19.
Teens offer fresh perspective on business issues and are typically completely unscathed by the cynical working world. They also are (for the most part) free of responsibility and financial burdens, so even if their business does fail, there is much less at stake. Becoming an entrepreneur at such a young age teaches teens critical problem-solving skills long before their peers, and it sets them up for a successful, forward-thinking career. 20s
Steve Jobs founded Apple at 21.
Much like teenagers, entrepreneurs in their 20s have less financial responsibility and risk less by starting a business. They also have that same fresh perspective, but typically with some additional education and worldly knowledge. 30s
Reid Hoffman founded LinkedIn at 35.
By 30, most people have more financial responsibilities, but they also have much more work experience. Entrepreneurs in their 30s are still young enough to be perceived as energetic, but old enough to be more easily perceived as mature and trustworthy by investors, partners, clients and customers. 40s
Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart at 44.
Studies show that the 40s are somewhat of a golden age for starting a business. By 40, most workers have put some serious time into crafting their skills and getting to know their industry. They intimately know the problems of their field, and have the skills to effectively solve them. In fact, the average age of entrepreneurs in the computer, healthcare and aerospace industries is 40. 50s
Gordon Bowker founded Starbucks at 51.
By 50, many potential entrepreneurs have worked their way up to senior level positions within companies, and have more connections in their business community. This status and networking power combined with the fact that financial responsibility may be lessening as children become independent makes the 50s a prime business-starting age. Studies actually show that entrepreneurs in their 50s are less likely to let a lack of experience, financial risks and having a family get in the way of starting a business. 60s+
Charles Flint founded IBM at 61.
Today, more people are starting businesses in their 60s than those in the 20s and 30s category. Nothing rivals the professional experience and personal wisdom that can only come with age. Entrepreneurs age 60 and up have already done the work to establish themselves as experts in their respective fields, making them more easily trusted by business peers and readily accepted into the business community.