With the rise to fame of YouTubers and celebrity influencers, it’s easy to think that entrepreneurship is a young person’s game. But more and more people are turning to self-employment and running their own businesses, and they’re not all under 30.
According to government statistics, by October to December of 2019, there were more than 5 million self-employed people in the UK, up from 3.2 million in 2000. Research from the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed suggested in 2019 that the number of self-employed people over the age of 50 had increased by 58.5 per cent in the past ten years.
It’s likely that most of us will be working well into our 60s. So if you’re over 50, the next stage in your career could be an opportunity to change direction. You might not have been brave enough to make the leap previously, but at 50+ you may be ready to take a different path.
Running your own business can be very rewarding. Especially after the unprecedented change and economic uncertainty we have lived through during the COVID19 pandemic, putting your career into your own hands can be an empowering solution.
Louise Young is a franchisee for Get Ahead, an award-winning virtual agency. She launched her West London franchise in 2020, having been made redundant in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched in 2010, Get Ahead delivers flexible business and marketing services to help businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to get ahead. So how can you get started as an older entrepreneur? Louise explains how with these few tips.
Think about your strengths
With many years of life experience behind you, think about what you are good at. This could be both at work and at home. What skills do you possess and how could you use them? Think beyond your current situation, whether that be working or at home. Are you good at time management? Delegation? Planning? Do you love numbers or people? These are all skills that you could use in a range of different ways running your own business. Don’t forget to consider what you enjoy as well. You might be good at spreadsheets but actually hate them!
Decide how you want to work
It might seem a strange question, but identifying your objectives is vital. Many people want to work more flexibly. Launching your own business can be great for this. You are in charge of your own hours, your own diary – your own destiny. There are no contractual hours to abide by or employer expectations to fulfil. But running your own business is also hugely demanding, so being clear on your ‘why’ can be a great motivator when times get tough.
Do your homework
If you have decided you want to launch your own business, it’s vital to take the time to research your options upfront. There are many ways to run your own business – from doing something totally yourself, to licensing or franchising options which give you all the freedom of being your boss, but with the support of an established brand behind you. How will you fund your business? Where will you work? Will you need staff? Or premises? Do you understand the legal and tax implications? Some businesses require significant cash injections upfront, whereas others require nothing more than your time and a laptop. Which option fits your financial situation the best? What risks are you prepared to take?
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s from friends and family, from reading business books, reaching out to business support groups or attending virtual expos etc like the ‘Start Up Scale Up’ summit or Women in Business Expo. If you have never run a business before there is lots to learn, but plenty of sources to learn from. See this as part of investing in your business. Talk to accountants or banks who will often have packages for new businesses which include access to information or experts. Your local Council or Chamber of Commerce may also be able to support you.
Believe in yourself
Launching your own business after 50 can be daunting. Reinventing yourself is a real challenge. Many women struggle with imposter syndrome and years of working for others or running a home can be exhausting. But a new adventure awaits and believing you can achieve it is key. Despite how much we live our lives online, people do often still buy from people. You are your business’ first and most important asset. If you believe in your business, then others will too.