Anyone started their first company later in life?

I am in my mid 40s and thinking about starting my first company.  Seems though that this is usually a younger person’s game …?

  • It’s anyones game.

    As long as you can identify the opportunity and make it happen it doesn’t matter how old you are, what color you are, or what gender you are.

    Customers or users often don’t know who the founder is and if they have an MBA or how old they are. They couldn’t care less.

    Go for it.

  • Younger founders tend to found speculative industry changing companies while older founders tend to gravitate towards more conservative businesses that have somewhat of a clearer or traditional business model partially due to their years of experience in industry and knowing the untapped opportunities in the space.

    But yeah there’s no age to be too old to start a company.

  • I’m mid-40’s and started my first product startup about 7 months ago (I started and ran a consulting company for 11 years). I’m loving it and often wonder how a 25 year old could pull it off. I know the 25 year old me could not have done it.

    But, at my age, I have a wife to encourage and support me, I have an amazing, huge network that I call upon regularly, I am way more of a centered person and do not have 20 something insecurities. I am sure younger guys can work all night and brute force problems, but I feel like I have made very few mistakes and I can see around most of the corners.

    In short, this has been a very rewarding time in my career. Go for it.

  • Realistically, this is a question best suited to ask yourself… not strangers. If you don’t believe you can answer the question yourself… you’ve actually already done so.

  • I’m 40+ and I started a company about 2 years ago, here are my 2c:

    Plan your next 2-3 years very carefully, you should have enough money to live without a salary. Don’t become indebted. Assume 3 years without personal income. The worst case should not leave you on the street: don’t be too optimistic about the worst case. Financial issues will distract you from the development of your business.
    Go for B2B, find a niche where you can solve real business problems. Companies have plenty of those and and ready to pay for solutions. B2C is definitely more suitable for younger folks: they are closer to their target markets (I never used Snapchat, I barely use Facebook) and can afford lower success probability. You’ll probably not become a billionaire but you can definitely aim at the millionaire status.
    Start small, sell before developing, leverage on open source. Don’t buy hardware/servers: rent, lease, borrow. Pay-per-use cloud services are your friends.
    Just like getting married or having kids, be aware of the fact that setting up a company is going to change your life forever, no matter what happens.

    Good luck.

  • Startup Lesson #15: You’re old. You have no capital. You will fail. Ignore the naysayers. Trust your instinct.

    As long as you and your startup can bring value to different stakeholders (co-founders, investors, customers), then its does not matter how young or old you are. Startups are not about age, color, race etc. Its only about the problems you can solve and the value that you can create.

  • I founded my first real startup in my 40s. Do I wish that I had started this when I was younger? Sure, that would have been nice. Could I have done that? I’m not so sure. I learned a lot at various companies during my career that has really helped me skip the typical failure points of most startups (what to do and, more importantly, what not to do). Plus, my network is incredible. It was fairly easy to secure funding and attract talent because of that.

    I disagree that B2C is only for younger folks. It is true that people who don’t keep up with the times and use as many consumer services and apps as possible should probably stick with B2B. But, I’ve always been an early adopter and play with almost every app/service I hear about. Stay current, hire great people, and it’s not a problem. Make sure you have enough money to get through a couple years of lean times. It won’t be easy, but it is worth it. It is hands down the best “job” I’ve ever had.

  • I founded my first startup at 19. It was a complete failure. A really tough one. I needed more than 25 years to lick my wounds… During this time I worked as an employee in other startups, and one of them became a corporate. Now I’m 47 and I founded a new startup 6 months ago. I don’t know how much it will be successful, but I’m pretty sure It will never be a complete failure. At worst, the startup could turn into a modest family business, but I’m ok with that fate :o)

    Age alone is not important. If you are ready, go on. If you don’t feel it and just dream of it, you should probably do something else. Deciding is the hard part, because even when you are in the perfect situation to startup, with all aces in your hand, you will always be scared. No one can help you. No testimony will give you any valuable decision hint. You must decide to jump or not to jump. Nobody will push you. The first step must be yours.

    Yes, it’s tough. On the other hand, this is why the reward is huge if you succeed !

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