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Are You Too Old to Start a New Business?

Spoiler alert: It’s never too late to start over in life.

If you’re at the mid-point of your career — and your life — you have a lot of advantages, my friend.

You’re not a newbie in your field. You’ve acquired deep expertise. You’ve got experience and wisdom to spare.

And you’ve probably been knocked around by life, at least a little.

All of the above makes you a great candidate to start a business.

Your knowledge, coupled with your experience overcoming challenges, will serve you well on this journey.

In this article, we’re going to talk about starting a particular kind of business — an online business.

Online businesses are inexpensive and relatively easy to start. And as someone in the middle of life and your career, you are in an enviable position to create an online business that takes you through retirement and beyond.

Read on to discover why — and grab some resources that will help you get started!

How to start over in life — and why an online business might be your best bet

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By the time you reach the middle of your life and career, you’ve experienced challenges that make you the person you are today.

You may have:

  • Lost a job through downsizing
  • Lived through health challenges, both physical and mental
  • Had to upend your life with a relocation
  • Needed to re-learn your profession due to major changes

That may be only the tip of the iceberg. Most of my friends and colleagues in this age group have a long list of challenges they’ve had to rise to meet.

The beauty of an online business is that it can help make managing challenges easier.

With an online business:

  • You own the business, so you won’t get fired at random
  • Your business is flexible, so health and family challenges are easier to manage
  • You can grab your laptop and take your business with you if you need to relocate or want to travel
  • You’ll need to learn new things — and that keeps your brain young!

Your online business may take longer to grow than you’d prefer. Building it to the point that it supports you can take a while (more on this below).

But another advantage of building an online business in the middle of your life is that you may be able to support your business during its growing stages with another source of income — either from a current job or alternative business.

Tapping another source of income gives you the breathing room to let your new online business grow organically over time.

But online business building won’t be a simple, trouble-free path. Read on to learn why.

Let’s get real: Here’s why starting an online business at mid-life might be frustrating

In case you haven’t noticed already, I’m not one of those “I-will-teach-you-to-earn-six-figures-in-a-month-by-next-week!” online “gurus.”

Yeah … that’s not me.

I’d rather you know the real story. And I’m not going to paint a picture that’s just not true for the majority of people.

Here’s the truth about online business:

There’s a lot to learn — and online business best practices are always changing.

This is not a once-and-done skill you can learn and practice. It’s an ever-changing industry.

Personally, I find this exciting! But for some people, the fact that the ground is constantly shifting beneath them feels terribly uncomfortable.

Here’s something else to keep in mind:

Success online will probably take longer than you wish it would.

Online business success happens as you build an audience of people who are interested in your area of expertise. As your audience grows, you’re able to earn more through your promotions.

But audience growth usually happens slowly.

It’s like a tree. When it’s newly planted, it doesn’t provide much shade.

It becomes more valuable as it grows. Once it’s fully grown, it provides shade and shelter.

Growth takes time.

As someone who’s in the middle of life, though, you have a pragmatic view of the world. You don’t expect miracles — you anticipate challenges.

And you’re ready for challenges when they appear.

Online business building has a roadmap

There’s no real shortcut to online business success.

But there’s a roadmap.

And if you follow the four stages laid out on the roadmap, you’ll stay on track — and feel less overwhelmed by everything you’re mastering.

Let’s go over the stages very briefly here:

Stage 1: Plan

The Plan stage is where you pinpoint who you want to help, and how you want to help them. You’ll create a business name and begin mapping out your first offers.

Stage 2: Build

The Build stage is where you’ll start putting together the pieces of what will become your online business. You’ll build a website, a first offer (whether it’s a product or service), and a first “funnel,” or step-by-step method for moving interested prospects toward becoming paying customers.

Stage 3: Implement

The Implement stage is where you’ll make the offers you’ve built live. You’ll grow your audience, and begin earning income from the solutions you develop. You’ll put yourself and your business “out there” and will start seeing the results!

Stage 4: Grow

The Grow stage is where you build on the successes you’ve had in the Implement stage. You have predictable income, so you can begin re-investing in your business.

Get the roadmap so you can see the BIG picture

Register here and I’ll send you a roadmap you can use to guide you through the four stages of online business growth:

You’re not too old to start an online business

I work with mid-career online business builders inside my BIG League program. I asked a few of them to share more about the businesses they’re building — which are as varied, smart, and interesting as they are!

BIG League members share their stories

Renae Kranz of Copy Cat Copywriting is building a freelance copywriting business targeting mid-sized businesses.

What’s driving her? Renae says, “For me, it’s really all about control and freedom. No more boss hanging over my shoulder. I want to contribute to helping other people build their businesses through my writing, forging relationships that work for everyone.”

Bill Honnold of MyConstructionTrainer.com provides online training for aspiring construction managers.

He’s taking his 45 years in the construction and project management business and using it to mentor younger people who want to become construction managers. Bill says, “I look forward to mentoring young people and building a side income from my business. I believe that I’m in the right place at the right time in the second half of my career.”

Stacey Cornelius of Agency of Words helps creative and purpose-driven small and solo business owners connect with their best customers.

Stacey sees that this business is a great fit right now. “A regular day job is just not a good fit anymore, so I decided to turn what I enjoy most — helping people build their businesses in a way that feels right to them — into a full-on professional practice.”

Jen Waak of Salvador Guidebook helps take the stress out of a visit to Salvador, Brazil by providing expert advice from a local, English-speaker who knows what it’s like to first learn the city.

Jen recognizes the time is right for this business. “This is the right time for me to start this business because I am firmly planted in Salvador now and speak the language and understand the culture to truly help people coming to visit. As I look years into the future I see this company becoming my “retirement” income and being a trusted partner on both sides of the table.”

Lynn Davison of LynnCDavison.com helps moms stop yelling at and worrying about their teens and young adults by aligning their head, heart and hands with their inner GPS.

Lynn’s business is based on her “Experience raising 6 children, each with extraordinary brains, plus a systematic process to align my head, heart and hands with my inner GPS.”

Stephanie Philp of stephaniephilp.com helps women embody their innate power and wisdom to lead fulfilling lives of meaning, creativity and purpose — on their own terms.

Stephanie knows she has the skills she needs to help this group because she has “Years of experience in working with thousands of people during some of the darkest days of their lives; in both therapeutic and coaching contexts.”

Susanna Perkins of WordPress Building Blocks started a business at the age of 59, and another at the age of 64. She helps non-technical people build attractive and effective websites with WordPress.

What does she bring to the table now that she didn’t have earlier in her life? “Dogged determination, the ability to work even when I’m not feeling inspired at that moment, and patience. I also have a lot more self discipline than I did when I was younger, and I prioritize better.”

What’s your story?

Scroll on down to the comments and let me know. And don’t forget to grab your roadmap to guide you as you build your mid-career online business.

Wondering if you\'re too old to re-start your life with a new business idea? I\'m here to tell you — all those life challenges you\'ve faced are fantastic preparation for running a business ... especially an online business! Click through to learn more and grab a roadmap you can use to guide your journey. #onlinebusiness #startingover #businessidea

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10 thoughts on “Are You Too Old to Start a New Business?”

  1. Inspiring stuff, as always, Pamela. And again, as usual, your honesty about success taking time and work is a breath of fresh air, too.

    To your list of the advantages we elders have for starting and growing a business, you may want to add that most of us are not afraid of that four letter word: work.

    • Absolutely! And this is something I have seen in the BIG League community — a commitment to work and the persistence to keep at it until you start to see results. It’s pretty awe-inspiring, actually.

      Thanks for this addition, Tom!

  2. Just a note of encouragement. Due to traumatic life circumstances, I wound up losing everything and having to start over as a sixty year old woman with nearly $300,000 in debt who’d been out of the job market for over 30 years. I spent several years studying internet marketing, learned enough to keep myself afloat financially, and at 68 started an online business (not MLM) that now, five years later, has paid down all my debt and is supporting me, my son’s family and several employees. So it’s never too late and there’s no age, gender or experience limit. But forget starry-eyed dreaming about becoming an over-night millionaire. Building a successful business takes time, a lot of hard work, a fair amount of determination/persistence, and a bit of desperation. The best advice I could give anyone interested in building a business but not quite ready to dive into it is to go ahead and learn the skills now you’ll need later. Just starting the process of engaging your brain in business-related matters will open up new avenues of ideas and opportunities.

    • “Building a successful business takes time, a lot of hard work, a fair amount of determination/persistence, and a bit of desperation.”

      E.D., this is fantastic advice! Your progress is impressive — thanks so much for sharing it here. It’s wonderful to hear an encouraging word from someone who’s walked the path!

  3. You’re never too old to start/ learn something new! Boomers/ retirees are one of the larger groups of new business owners.

    Those of us who started a business before the internet know that patience, effort, the constant changing of everything and the repetition of marketing activities that work are necessary.

    Young people today want “instant” but we older folks (over 50) know that good things come with time. Acknowledge and be proud of your life experience – you too can do it 🙂

    • I agree — we should feel proud of all the life experience we bring to the table. It’s so powerful to be able to tap into it when we meet challenges.

      Thanks for this comment, Trudy!

  4. Until I joined your BigLeague program, Pamela, I always felt like I was way behind where I was supposed to be. Now, thanks to your gentle and realistic coaching, I know that I’m at just the right place on my own personal journey. I’m loving this time in my life, too. There’s always something new to learn.

    • So glad to hear this, Bill! One of the primary reasons I started that community was to help people make progress without feeling overwhelmed. Happy to know it’s working for you. 🙂

  5. My situation is somewhat different, in that my main focus is not on $ but on helping others to be free from worry, anxiety, fear, panic, etc. by writing about how to use the power of God’s Word (the Bible) to overcome all those things.
    I have had a blog for nearly a decade, and especially during the last 5 years many have read my articles. Their comments are so encouraging! And I have 2500+ subscribers on my email list.
    I do have two online courses for sale. Mostly they pay for secure web hosting, email service, list-building technology, etc.
    It would seem that most people are satisfied with consuming the free blog content. Can’t say I blame them. I do much of that myself.
    I have had two total financial collapses. Now, at age 76 i find myself living on fixed income. I had been saving diligently, but we had to spend everything in order to survive.
    Despite all that, I’m have the time of my life, because I am able to make a difference in the lives of others all over the world.
    And above all, I live in “peace that surpasses all understanding”! In my heart is “joy inexpressible”. I have “in whatever situation I am, to be content”.
    One reader sent this comment:
    “I just began reading this article and tears welled up in my eyes and my heartbeat quickened with excitement from the ‘aha moment’ I instantly had. I had been busy lately & just realized today that I hadn’t read my bible in the last few weeks which is not normal for me. I know without a doubt that this absence of the armor of His word had left room for Satan to work his way into my thought patterns. My marriage went through a tough period lately from the steady, constant stream of worry that has been blanketing deep insecurity of mine. The worry has taken more a piece of me each day. So much so that my heart physically hurts & I feel heavy with guilt from my bitterness & accusatory disposition. I am ashamed. Yet also I am proud that I see it for what it is & I can change. I know better than to rely on myself & not God. I am really excited to read the rest of this!”
    All I am trying to do is to help others. That’s why I’m still alive. My creator still has work for me to do.

    • This is so amazing, Jan: thanks for sharing.

      I help lots of folks who have a larger mission that drives their efforts — money is only one reason to build an online presence.

      Very happy to hear that your work is having such a positive impact on your readers: keep it up!

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