Going it alone

Over two-thirds of the UK’s self-employed are aged over 50. That is pretty clear evidence the notion I heard when growing up back in the 1950s that jobs were for life is as dead as the Dodo. And with workplace ageism still rife that makes all of us over fifty somewhat vulnerable – unless we are prepared or able to take matters into our own hands..

The good news is that according to Government figures, firms started by older entrepreneurs are twice as likely to succeed as those started by young people.

Are mature people starting their own businesses because of ageism in the marketplace or lack of jobs? The figures show that workers age 50 or above have only a one in 10 chance of finding a new job should they find themselves out of work. So maybe it’s not so strange when facing that icy reality that more and more of us are finding the confidence to leverage our skills and resources to branch out on our own.

Not all of us are would-be (nor ‘can-be’) Richard Branson’s, but that doesn’t mean self-employment is off the cards. Take a look at the article in the Wanobe WorkZone called ‘Never too late to start’. You’ll find all the encouragement you need and some useful tips about setting up your own business, at home or elsewhere.

According to business guru Colin Turner, 51, a “lot of people would like to set up a business but it’s not until they are laid off that they are forced into the decision. Six months later they are thinking, ‘I should have done this years ago’.”

Turner, who is professor of entrepreneurship at the Theseus International Management Institute, based near Nice, France, believes 50 is the ideal age to start afresh if the opportunity presents itself.

Still find the whole idea daunting? Well, consider this: Ray Kroc, a milkshake salesman, set up McDonald’s when he was 50 – and Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Sanders slept in his car for three years from the age of 60 while trying to sell franchises for his business.

Need some help? In the UK you can turn to Prime, a national organisation linked to the Age Concern charity, dedicated to helping older entrepreneurs with loans, business advice and mentoring. Visit: http://www.primeinitiative.org.uk

Rock on, folks! Live long, live well, laugh a lot.

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About Wanobe, the business knowledge network
Writer, journalist and broadcaster, sixty-something David likes nothing better than being with family and friends, eating out and drinking great wines, and scuba diving.

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