Starting A Business At Any Age: What Female Entrepreneurs Need To Know

Although I fall into the millennial demographic, I know women younger and older than myself who have started businesses of their own. While all have achieved some success despite facing certain key challenges, they also have noted some factors related to their age and point in their lives that other female entrepreneurs may want to consider before developing a startup. Here’s what I’ve learned at my age and from other women from various generations.

Gen Z Lessons

Recently, our company had a female Gen Z employee who decided to leave and strike out on her own. With a fearless mindset, Gen Z is not afraid to take on these types of experiences that others who are older may overthink. Despite the benefits of having this level of confidence, one of the most important lessons she has learned is the need to have more business education and financial literacy under her belt.

Working for others gave her a distinct advantage over some other Gen Z entrepreneurs who have never worked for another company, but she realized it would have helped to take more business courses to understand the basics of things like accounting and operational strategy tied to things like supply chain, logistics and HR. There are many online courses where a Gen Zer can ramp up this type of knowledge. It is also good to consider internships or some work experience prior to building out a business.

Also, consider trying an accelerator or incubator to help you with your business idea, as these groups can fill in some of that knowledge and experience that you haven’t yet gained. Research also shows that taking part in business competitions is especially beneficial for Gen Z women.

Millennial Lessons

According to research, Millennial women see the most opportunity of all age groups to start their own business. At this stage of life, there is a definite crossroads to consider, especially if you have been working for a company for a few years and starting to see traction up the ladder. There may be personal aspects of your life that are dramatic and impact whether you start a business, too, such as buying a home or starting a family. All of these must be weighed and considered before diving in.

there are more funding opportunities for women to get started, and the concept has more credibility, too.

One of the best lessons at this age is to find a mentor to help shape your pathway toward startup and launch. They can help you answer some of these critical changes to your career and life, including making the case if it’s worth it for you to pursue. These mentors can continue to coach you through the process and provide expertise that combines your previous experience with their own knowledge, network and expertise.

Lessons For Those 40-Plus

Of all the age groups, one research study found that the average age of female entrepreneurs today is 42. Of these, many, like Oprah Winfrey, had spent years getting to their level of success. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t start a business when you are already 40 and over.

For many women at this age and older, their kids are older or may even be out of the house, which provides far more time to focus on pursuing their own interests, like a business. Having that freedom of more time allows you to focus on the business and leverage a wide range of unique skills and experiences to develop that business that you didn’t have when younger. And, that experience can accelerate the speed at which you get your business up and running compared to other generations that haven’t gone through the same situations.

Although you are still a ways off from retirement, it is important to weigh the costs of starting a business in your 40s and up. There is most likely more equity available to tap into from a long career. However, that equity, if lost during a failed startup, may not be able to be recovered as well as if you had started a business in your 20s. That simply means plan carefully and find the leanest approach to your startup possible while also looking into investors who focus on older entrepreneurs.

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This Article first appeared in Forbes Magazine

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