When is the better time to start a business: as a young person, or later in life? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
My short answer: At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what your age is.
Entrepreneurship is about solving an existing problem. If that problem arises when you're young and you can do something to solve it, why wait until you're older to fix it? If you're older, why let your age be the reason that you don't try? Cue a version of Mark Twain's saying, "If not now, when? If not me, who?"
My long answer: Business Insider published an article that that says most entrepreneurs are young. When you think about entrepreneurs, you most likely think of the classic stories like Steve Jobs (Jobs started Apple when he was 21 years old) or Mark Zuckerberg (started Facebook at 19 years young). While these child-entrepreneur prodigies are what we hear about in the news more often than other entrepreneurs, it's probably because they are just that - their world-changing ideas are even more amazing because they are prodigies that break the norm of what the average entrepreneur looks like.
MIT's study found that the average age of entrepreneur is 42 years old. The average age of an entrepreneur in a high growth company is 45 years old.
Understanding the generational differences at play here is critical here too. For Baby Boomers, the average age to start a company is 35, who are starting companies at the average age of 27. And then we have the Centennials (the generation after Millennials who is anyone currently between the age of 10-23 years old) who are 120% likely to have a well-funded startup out of the womb.
Alright back to all seriousness. In my experience, I've seen entrepreneurs of all ages succeed and fail. Starting a company is the relatively easy part and as long as you have access to the internet and about $300 USD, you can be a in the US and call yourself a "CEO". Fancy right? However, creating a sustaining and thriving company that continues to evolve are where the real challenges are and where your potential for growth lives.
Entrepreneurship isn't for everyone but if you have the opportunity to try it, my advice is simple: go for it. Think big but set realistic milestones and hold yourself accountable. Surround yourself with good people and keep in mind that failure is not the opposite of success, it's part of it.
Different generations can learn so much from one another. Baby Boomers can learn how to take bigger risks and be adventurous with their businesses. Baby Boomers have life experience that Millennials don't have. Mentorship is key in entrepreneurship from significant individuals of any age.
So before I get any more philosophical on you, my answer is that age doesn't matter. The beauty of entrepreneurship is that there are no set rules like this and you can write your own story. I promise that there will be many other factors for why your business works or does not work other than your age. If you're a single parent who supports a household, entrepreneurship is a higher-risk route to take than a 20-year old student who is excited about an idea he/she had one day in class and wants to put it to the test. On the other hand, I have to note that there are many entrepreneurs who do what they do not for the title or not because they are unfulfilled from their 9-5 job, but out of necessity. So ask yourself why do you want to be an entrepreneur? How much are you willing to sacrifice (time, social, financial, personal, and professional elements)? And go into it with clear intentions and deadlines for yourself.
At the end of the day, entrepreneurship is about solving a problem. If you don't act on this now, who will? What can business ownership do for your life and for others? Sometimes it takes stepping out of the limitations that you set for yourself in order to solve a larger issue that will help more people. Age is one of those limitations.
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