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January 24, 2014 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Susan Jerke, Wyoming SBDC regional director
“Is it too late to start my own business at the age of 59?” Jim, Gillette
I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of "encore entrepreneurs," people over the age of 50 who were entertaining the idea of starting new careers by opening small businesses.
We anticipated a small group, since the weather was frigid and the timing was shortly after the holidays but, as people RSVP'd and began to arrive, we quickly knew our small boardroom would not hold all the folks who were looking for information. We enlisted the help of a nearby church and held our meeting in the sanctuary, filling all the pews and bringing in additional chairs from nearby offices.
What made this group different from other startups? They had unique goals and shorter timelines but, most of all, everyone had passion. Many were retired or nearing completion of traditional careers, and had nurtured ideas and dreams for years of transforming those dreams into their own business. Some were bored with the life of leisure; some had a need to supplement their retirement incomes; and many had great ideas and were ready to implement them. It will be exciting to watch these people move forward.
What are the advantages to being an “encore entrepreneur?” Knowledge gained from traditional careers often translates into entrepreneurial success. Maturity also is a bonus. The workplace is familiar, as well as knowing how to positively deal with the public. Often, a person entering their second or third career as an entrepreneur has the financial resources to navigate the initial startup phase where many businesses struggle. Finally, a network of former business contacts creates a ready source of information and leads.
The rewards of entrepreneurship later in life can be rich, both financially and personally. You have many resources available in Wyoming to help you get started. Then, the opportunity will arise to mentor younger employees and other budding business owners. Don't wait, accept the challenge of being an “encore entrepreneur.”
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://wyen.biz/blog1/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.