You’re never too old to try something new. While many people in their 50s are thinking about retirement, you may just be getting started and dreaming up an idea for a new business. There are plenty of successful entrepreneurs who didn’t even make it big until they were well into adulthood, so don’t think you’ve missed your chance just because you aren’t 30-something.
There are plenty of reasons why your 50s may be the best decade of your life. You have plenty of lived experience to avoid many mistakes younger people make. You know your strengths and weaknesses, and you are humble enough to work on improving rather than making excuses or avoiding difficulties. You are also more likely to have greater financial resources than someone in their 20s or 30s, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be true for you to be successful. Maybe you lost your job suddenly and think it’s time to take your life fully into your own hands. Perhaps you quit a career and are ready to launch into something entirely new. Whatever the case may be, here are some tips on launching a business in your 50s.
Start Setting Aside Savings
It costs money to launch any startup, even if your center of operations is your desk at home. You’ll need money for advertising, supplies and general management expenses that can be tricky to balance if you don’t have a good grasp on your budget as-is. Think about the greatest expenses in your life and areas they could be reduced. Maybe you could refinance some outstanding loans, consolidate your credit card debt or dip into some savings to pay off some long-standing debts that you could recoup in a few months.
You could also look into utilizing your existing assets to fund your startup. Life insurance, for example, can be a valuable source of capital if you know how to sell your policy. Instead of surrendering your policy, you can sell it for more cash up front. This is a good option if your beneficiaries do not need your death benefit, like grown children with their own jobs and financial security.
Learn as Much as You Can
Take free business courses, learn about management, finances and everything else you need to be confident in your abilities to run a company. SCORE, a Small Business Association partner, offers free business education and training resources. You can also take a free introduction to business course online through Saylor Academy. Extend your research to your industry as well. What established and new businesses are popular right now, and what can you learn from them?
Look for Interns
If you’re not the most tech-savvy, a social media intern or video editing intern could be a great asset for you. They know the ropes, and they’re willing to work for a small price each month or, in many cases, entirely for free. Because they’ll be college-age, an unpaid social media intern will be a digital native. They know how to set-up your account and work on building an online presence, which is imperative for success in this day and age. Interns can also provide other services at a reduced cost of an employee. They don’t work as much, but this is fine for a startup when the founder is handling the bulk of the responsibilities regardless.
Don’t Forget to Take It Slow
Launching a startup isn’t a race where you get a big, glossy check for $1 million after you cross the finish line. It takes time to even see any signs of progress, so go easy on yourself and, most importantly, have fun with it. This time in your life is ideal for turning a longtime passion into a form of income. You can bring wisdom and experience to the table, but it will take time to become profitable. Have patience, and let yourself learn from this journey as much as any other.