Too Old To Start a Company? Not Likely.
There is interesting data out that points toward the ideal tech entrepreneur being much older than the twenty-somethings commonly portrayed in the media and in popular culture. How much older? Well, late thirties, early forties, and even older.
Some other assumptions are also exploded in the data – for instance, many of the tech entrepreneurs had been in the same job at the same company for years previous to launching their own start-up company.
And most had business backgrounds, not computer science backgrounds. Only 15% had degrees in something like computer science.
And management consultants start tech companies far more than engineers do.
A sizable percentage already had experience working at a start-up of some kind, and many of those previous start-ups had failed.
Over two-thirds of the entrepreneurs had not had senior leadership experience previously.
These findings don’t surprise us at Sareen and Associates. We don’t get a lot of tech start-ups as clients, but we have many, many different kinds of start-ups as clients, whether they’re restaurants, government contractors, service businesses, construction trades, automotive, medical care, etc.
And many of the entrepreneurs we see are middle-aged professionals or tradesman that have been working for someone else for quite a while, and believe that they can do what they’re doing for someone else now, do it for themselves as the person in charge of their own company, and be successful in that endeavor. And you know what? Usually, they’re correct in that assumption.
And then we have the person that wants to start a company that doesn’t have anything to do with what they do for a living now, but the new company is going to do something they love. For instance, the woman who has loved dogs her whole life, and wants to stop being an HR manager and open up a dog boarding facility. These types of start-up don’t have the same rate of success as people doing for themselves what they’re been doing for someone else for ten years, but if they love it enough, and are prepared to work really hard at realizing their dream, those people can make it as well.
Very few of these people are in their twenties. Some of them are in their thirties, but most of them are in their forties or fifties. And, of course, we even have people in their sixties; people that have retired from a long career, but they still have plenty of energy and drive, and want to try something new.
Does a fifty year old person have the same physical energy as a twenty year old? Of course not, but that 50 year old has learned quite a bit about business and life in general, and that knowledge is invaluable when they start their own business, and continues to be invaluable in the first few years of start-up.
Here is the take-away from both the new data and our experience here at Sareen and Associates: If you think you’re too old to start your own business, you’re probably wrong.