No matter what age you are, pursuing an entrepreneurial path is always a risky endeavor. The good news is, the odds are increasingly in the favor of baby boomers. Starting a business is increasingly becoming much more affordable to do, with plenty of resources available and accessibility through mobile devices.
However, it takes more than an internet connection and a good idea for a product or service to help bring a startup to life. Boomers running businesses must understand that there are several key characteristics necessary to succeed as an entrepreneur — and they go much further than simply having years of experience in the workplace.
1. The ability to plan and think ahead financially
More often than not, a major curveball for boomer entrepreneurs is the struggle to find enough capital to start a business. Some may dip into their retirement savings or 401(k) plan in order to get up and running, but this money can be spent quickly if you’re not careful.
Plan ahead before you begin investing into your business. One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a business plan that outlines your anticipated financial projections and your financing request, if you choose to seek out the help of investors. If you would rather not take out a loan or have investors involved (who typically need a stake in your business in exchange for financing), you may want to consider applying for grants that are relevant for your business.
2. A good attitude toward others
From your first customer to any employees you may hire, be good to others and treat them with respect and kindness. Think back to the great bosses you once had and consider what made them stand out. Look back on the outstanding customer experiences you’ve had and let those thoughtful touches inspire how you build and conduct your own business as an entrepreneur.
3. Knowing when to pause and focus on your health
Baby boomers aren’t built like millennial or Gen Z entrepreneurs. They’re less likely to pull all-nighters or consider several cups of coffee to be a meal — and that’s a good thing. While running your business, set aside the time to exercise, get a good night’s sleep, and take care of yourself each day. Remember that taking the time to hit pause isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a strategic move that allows you to provide yourself with the self-care you need to run the business properly.
4. A driven work ethic
According to the UVA Today, one of the primary reasons why boomers turn to entrepreneurship is their desire to keep working. Rather than stop working entirely, they will continue to keep working hard because it allows them to feel as though they are still “in the game.”
However, there is one caveat to that desire to keep working, and it is to have the work remain interesting. Your hard work should be tied in with a great passion of yours, otherwise you may find that the business dissolves into a chore.
5. An attitude of mindfulness
There are plenty of ups and downs that come with building a startup. Sometimes there are more downs than ups, and those days especially can be the most stressful for any entrepreneur. Take the time to practice mindfulness and an attitude of gratitude for the obvious and not-so-obvious details. You might even find that turning a passion into a side hustle or startup is even more rewarding than retirement!