5 Daunting Challenges an Encore Entrepreneur Needs to Combat
Contrary to popular belief, new companies don’t have to be young companies. In fact, according to the Kauffman Index, around 53 percent of new businesses in 2013 came from entrepreneurs over the age of 45. That’s up from around 44 percent in 2003.
Our grandfathers had a good chance of working their entire lives for the same company and retiring with a pension and a gold watch, but that’s rare today. If you want to take charge of your own dreams, you can and should start a business no matter how old you are. But it does come with daunting challenges. Let’s explore some of the problems and learn how to overcome them.
1. Dealing with Ageism
Becoming an encore entrepreneur may be met with stereotypical reactions such as “It’s too late for that now!” Due to such reactions, many professionals above a certain age may experience a lack of faith in their stamina or skills. At times, you will be viewed as “out of touch” compared to your younger counterparts.
Don’t let attitudes on ageism discourage you from chasing your dreams. It’s important to show everyone that you’re committed to your business by acting professionally and treating everyone firmly but fairly. Let worrying about age be someday else’s thing, not yours.
2. Handling Criticism and Rejection
Many people will automatically begin to criticize your career choices. Sometimes they do it because they feel insecure and cowardly in the face of your conviction and innovation. Some may even try to persuade you to abandon your dreams by, for example, pointing out the consequences of failure. However, it’s important that you stay focused on following your own path.
Moreover, entrepreneurship can be lonely when friends and family are the ones who don’t understand the decision. It takes dedication to succeed, and being constantly on the go can be a strain on relationships. If you’re going to reach your goals, you will have to make sacrifices, but finding time for your loved ones is important for emotional health. Try to find the right balance.
3. Facing Young Competition
If you are an encore entrepreneur, chances are you will find yourself competing against twenty-somethings brimming with confidence. The younger generation has grown up in a fast-changing environment, so they’re used to adaptation. Adapting quickly to market changes may not be something you have learned in traditional job roles.
However, it only takes some research and analysis to see which trends are gaining momentum. Unlike younger people with limited experience, you understand better how your industry operates, and you have the wisdom of more life-lessons! In the end, trusting in your own abilities is key to realizing your ambition.
4. Not Being Tech-Savvy
The younger generation was the first to grow up already surrounded by smartphones and Wi-Fi. They have an edge through being more tech-savvy, while you may feel clueless on many new technologies.
To succeed, you need to understand the business systems and channels in use today. That includes not only computer hardware and software but today’s internet – particularly social media. If you want to succeed and gain customers, you simply need to be aware of all the new marketing trends that take place online. If you have the disadvantage of having insufficient IT knowledge, don’t worry – commit to learning and soon you will catch up on everything.
5. Dealing with Stress and Self-Doubt
Although you might be empowered by a stable financial situation and years of experience, starting a new business always involves risk. Encore entrepreneurs might experience stress at every stage of growth. You will probably feel discouraged when things go wrong, and self-doubt can quickly sneak in.
It’s important to always regain a clear head as part of your practices. For example, developing a personal program of meditation and exercise can help reduce anxiety. One way to refocus is to keep an updated list of your goals and the steps to realize them. When you’re depressed and feel like giving up, look back at the goals you’ve already achieved, and tell yourself you just have to accomplish this next step to make progress. Life is never an easy journey – but you have to persevere to reap the rewards!
In conclusion, it’s vital that you don’t become discouraged by the ageism that sees young entrepreneurs as stars and encore entrepreneurs as dinosaurs. Everyone experiences some form of criticism and rejection in their career choices, so it shouldn’t discourage you.
You can measure up to young competition by becoming more tech-savvy and socially aware, while at the same time finding a means to reduce self-doubt and stress.
Even if you’re 60 years old and have been an employee your entire life, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader now – so go for your dreams!
This post was written by Natalie Smith, a Seattle-based freelance writer, enjoys writing about marketing, social media, brand building and customer service. She is also an ardent follower of the new trends in the business world, as well as on the Internet. You can reach her on Twitter.
Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons above.
Do You Need Help With ...