Sign hanging from building that says

Baby Boomer? It’s Not Too Late to Start Your Own Business

Five core strengths to work on today

We’ve talked a lot about how grossly underprepared many people are for retirement. If you go back and read Kim’s and my articles, you’ll fully understand that we have a retirement crisis on our hands.

Perhaps you’re feeling the pressure of looming retirement as well. I speak all over the world with people who are urgently looking to grow their financial intelligence through education precisely because they know they need to do something about their retirement now, before it’s too late.

The Rich Dad path to a secure financial future

At Rich Dad, we’re of the firm belief that moving from the left side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant—from employee and self-employed—to the right side of the quadrant—business owner and investor—is the key to securing your financial future, including your retirement.

Yet, I run into people who are afraid that their window of opportunity may have already closed. Many of these people are in the baby boomer generation who feel it’s too late to start a business.

If you’re in that group, there’s some good news for you. It’s not too late.

Baby boomers are big time entrepreneurs

As CNBC reports, a Kaufmann Foundation report shows “Boomers are twice as likely as Millennials to be planning to start a new business. The foundation also found in their 2016 Startup Index that 24.3% of all new entrepreneurs fall between the ages of 55 and 64.”

Moreover, the report shows that while millennials make up 25% of all entrepreneurs, that number is in the decline and “the Boomer percentage has been quickly increasing.”

The Kaufmann Foundation report defines one quality that helps baby boomers become successful entrepreneurs: experience.

While the young may have high energy and passion, they can’t beat the boomer’s experience both on a personal and a professional level.

Why boomer entrepreneurship is on the rise

Now, why would baby boomers start new companies rather than retire? The short question is that they’re not in a position to retire in the traditional sense. As my wife, Kim, wrote a while ago:

According to a survey by Bankrate, “Only 25% of those surveyed say they have no plans to work during retirement.” Meaning, three-fourths of Americans are planning on working well into their retirement.

That’s not surprising, given that “One in three Americans has absolutely nothing saved for retirement.” With so many people unprepared for their retirement, it’s no wonder that they continue to work hard well into their golden years.

For certain folks, the prospect of working after retirement can seem like a big negative. But as Kim points out, a change of mindset can open up new possibilities:

Retirement doesn’t have to be an extension of the Rat Race. In fact, retirement can and should be some of the best years of your lives. Consider taking an alternate approach to your retirement. One that defies working harder, for longer, just to get by…Work in our retirement stopped being about the daily stresses of paying bills and having enough income to live on. Instead, we got to focus on the work we were passionate about – building our business educating others on financial literacy. We didn’t work because we had to – we worked because we wanted to, and that made a huge difference.

So, there are two bits of good news, actually: you aren’t too old to start a business (even if you’re coming up or at retirement age), and it can be a lot of fun.

Five entrepreneurship strengths to build

If you’re attracted to the idea of being an entrepreneur in your retirement years, you need to know it’s a muscle you need to build. Here are five strengths that are required to be a successful entrepreneur.

Have a thick skin

It seems that as soon as you announce you are starting a business everyone is an expert in starting a business. Not everyone will love your idea or product, and they won’t be afraid to tell you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to criticism, but you have to be able to take the punches and not take everything personally.

Get used to being constantly connected

As an entrepreneur, there really isn’t such a thing as “disconnecting” from the world, not in the beginning anyway. You’ll be living and breathing your new company while trying to educate everyone about your business. You’ll be constantly thinking about how to improve things, reduce costs, and sell more. There is no such thing as a 9-to-5 work schedule when you’re an entrepreneur.

Don’t look for constant praise

If you’re an employee, you’re probably used to getting constant feedback about your performance, tasks, and project completion. A lot of employees are even used to their bosses telling them how great they are—even if they know they aren’t. This is not the case for an entrepreneur. You won’t hear any of that unless you tell yourself. Your praise comes in the form of making money. And it’s going to be a while before you really get the praise you’re looking for.

Become your own motivation

Similar to needing praise, if you need external motivation, you shouldn’t be an entrepreneur either. When you wake up in the morning as an entrepreneur, there isn’t someone standing in your kitchen ready to give you that day’s tasks. It’s all on you. Get comfortable with being the person who motivates you to keep going each morning.

Learn to wear multiple hats

There are people I know that are only comfortable being an accountant, or a writer, or an event planner. These people are only comfortable doing one thing and, as such, should never be an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, especially a solopreneur, you are often putting on different hats, making a multitude of decisions and you need to be confident in doing so.

There’s a lot more that goes into starting a company, from business plans to corporate structures to getting the right funding. But these core strengths are the foundation by which all those other things become successful. Because it all starts with mindset. If you don’t have the right one, all your efforts will be doomed to fail.

So, today, take a look in the mirror and ask, “How am I doing in these five areas?” If you find you need work in one area or more, build a plan and get to work today.

Original publish date: September 05, 2017