Is it too late for you to be an entrepreneur?
If you want to skip the article and get the quick answer, then here it is.
At the time of writing this article, I am a healthy 31-year-old male. I realize I have the benefit of life expectancy on my side. If everything goes as planned, I should have another 47.7 years of this entrepreneurial adventure. So, sure, it's easy for me to say,
"It's not too late for you to be an entrepreneur."
But it's a valid question, and it draws us deeper into some of the chronological complexities of entrepreneurship.
Is there any right age for entrepreneurs to become entrepreneurs? Are all entrepreneurs the proverbial lemonade-stand business kids, pawning DVDs in their high school hallways and dropping out of Stanford? Does one ever become so ossified by the corporate grind that they give up on their entrepreneurial dreams?
No, no, and no.
Again, lest you doubt due to the perspective of my young(ish) age, let me provide a bit of evidence, then a bit of advice.
Here's my message to entrepreneurs, from 8 to 88. It's never too early. It's never too late. Let's do this.
Evidence: The "right" age for entrepreneurship.
There isn't one. There is empirical evidence, however, suggesting that the average age of the entrepreneur is around 40.
But, honestly, since when do we appeal to the law of averages to make our decisions and guide our lives?
- "The typical successful founder," defined as a "high-growth," is 40 years old.
So much for spending your sunset years on Floridian golf courses.
Advice: Why mature people make the best entrepreneurs.
It may seem a bit presumptuous to offer my advice to the gray-hairs who might be reading the article.
For that reason, this isn't "advice" as much as it is encouragement. You can even take these as compliments if you like.
Why do mature people make outstanding entrepreneurs?
- They have tons of experience. Experience breeds perspective. Those who have labored in the workforce have a perspective that can foster disruption, innovation, and invention.
HBR contributor Whitney Johnson nailed it:
"Entrepreneurs get better with age."
Entrepreneurship is a game without rules, protocol, or out-of-bounds. You can do anything, dream anything, create anything, and be as old or young as you want...not that you have much of a choice about your age.
It is this single, non-negotiable force, then, that we must grapple with: age. Will you let it block you from entrepreneurship, or will you allow it to spur you onward to greater things?
Your age isn't going to change. But you can. You can make the choice today, yesterday, or ten years from now that will catapult your career to the dizzying heights and dismal lows of entrepreneurship.
As it turns out, the only right age for becoming an entrepreneur is the age you are right now.
Are you an entrepreneur? What age were you when you started?