Starting new businesses isn’t just for college kids from Silicon Valley – anyone with a passion and some elbow grease can do it. There’s no timeline or expiration date on becoming a successful entrepreneur. In fact, people starting businesses later in life may actually have some advantages over people that are still early in their careers.
Don’t believe us? Consider Andre Kreft.
Andre Kreft’s Second Act
Andre Kreft’s first professional career was as a visual artist – until the loss of his mother and his partner within a very short period of time. The difficulty of that period in his life inspired Andre to move away from a job that was just a job and instead take on something he really cared about. He decided to embrace his love for baking and founded his cookie company, Savor Fine Foods, at the age of 55.
Startups are tough at any age, and Andre ended up using credit cards and his retirement funds to get his business off the ground. It wasn’t always easy; he started out by borrowing the kitchen of a friend’s restaurant and baking at night. But it paid off and as his business grew, he started to rent commercial kitchen space. And the success has continued. Recently, he secured a loan through Accion to build a brand new commercial kitchen, set to open this year, and improve his online marketing efforts.
It’s not easy to leave a comfortable and stable job, but Andre took the leap. He had the inspiration and the guts to tackle new skills and the tough times to pursue his dream.
It’s Never Too Late
It’s a little cliché, but you don’t want to look back on your life and feel regrets. So don’t let age define what you can and can’t do. It may be too late to become a professional skateboarder, but it’s never too late to pursue your dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
Lots of extremely successful businesses were started later in life. Colonel Sanders started his first KFC at the age of 62. Vera Wang didn’t start designing wedding gowns until the age of 40. Juila Child didn’t write her first cookbook until she was 50, which launched her career as a star chef.
Just imagine if the best times of your professional life haven’t even happened yet? How exciting!
Never Stop Learning
Jumping into a new venture can be intimidating because you may feel like you won’t be well-versed on new technologies, models, or jargon. But you’ve been working for long enough to be able to pick up on new skills and put them to work.
Today, there are online tutorials, webinars, and even free Ivy-League courses available to help you learn everything from Chinese to computer programming. If you’re committed to learning a new skill set, then resources exist to help you do so. You just have to make the commitment to pursue that knowledge!
Find A Mentor
You’ve worked for long enough to know that there are a lot of things you don’t know. And you understand the value of expert advice. So, seek out some folks that are already in the business you want to be in. Make connections in your field with people that you trust and respect. Those relationships are a great source of advice and inspiration.
A trusted mentor will help you as you navigate the challenges of your new industry. Having an in-the-know sounding board and professional contact can help take some of the guesswork out of being a newbie. They can also share stories, tips, and how-to advice from the been-there, done-there trenches.
Becoming An Entrepreneur Is A Whole New Beginning
We get comfortable in our careers. We have a routine, we know what we’re doing, we know who we’re working with. But comfort doesn’t necessarily equal fulfillment. It doesn’t mean that you’re excited to get up and see what your workday has in store. Becoming an entrepreneur is a way to completely reset – you’re starting from the beginning and every day is going to be exciting!
Age Is Just A Number
Becoming an entrepreneur isn’t the sole province of youth. And with your experience and dedication, you have every opportunity to be successful in a job that you’re passionate about. It’s scary. It’s thrilling. All you have to do is take the leap.
Accion's loan to this community-minded entrepreneur was made possible thanks to support from The Hartford through its Communities with HART program, which is focused on helping neighborhood businesses thrive.
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