2 May 2016
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog about giving advice to young entrepreneurs. I mentioned that I wasn’t a big fan of the term ‘young’ as it implies that only people of a certain age can start an entrepreneurial journey. People often ask me: when is the best time to start?
Having the right mindset is the most important thing when you want to start your own journey. You need energy, passion and focus.
I was 30 when I started UKFast with my now-wife Gail. It wasn’t my first business but I knew that it was the right time for me to set up something bigger which we could develop over the years.
I also knew that whatever my next move would be, it would be crucial: I very much felt the pressure of time. I wasn’t exactly sure what my business would be at the time, and UKFast actually grew out of the frustration I experienced trying to set up a website for a completely different business venture.
Thinking back, I understand my reasons for feeling like I was running out of time. Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates were 20 when they started their now very successful businesses. We tend to focus on the younger generation, because they are considered ‘fresh’ and because we are now so used to these types of success stories about twenty-something entrepreneurs, particularly in the world of tech.
But it takes more than just a good idea to make a good entrepreneur. With years comes the benefit of skills and experience. It’s more likely that in your thirties, forties or fifties, you’ve developed an understanding of different markets, have built a professional network and – importantly – have made mistakes and learnt from them.
Recently, the number of over-65s starting businesses – some papers have started calling them ‘silver start-ups’- has risen dramatically, proving that age really is just a number.
There are many famous examples; Vera Wang didn’t start designing until she was 40, Gordon Bowker was 51 when he founded Starbucks, and Ferdinand Porsche launched Porsche aged 56. As a matter of fact, the average entrepreneur is aged over forty when starting their first business!
Now, there may be some truth in the statement that many of the recent start-up success stories have grown from a tech background and the younger generation is more computer literate. But this shouldn’t stop anyone with a good idea for improving the world we live in from giving it a go. I was no different! When I started UKFast, I had very little technical expertise. In fact, some might say that’s still the case.
What I did have however was an interest to learn and a drive to innovate. I knew there was a gap in the market and I wasn’t going to let anyone else fill it.
So, whatever your age, the best time to start your business journey is right now.