Growing up, my parents had a transitional phrase when it started to inch closer to bedtime: “It’s time to start winding down.” I hated that phrase. It signaled the end of the day’s fun activities. It meant it was time for all the boring tediousness of nighttime routines and the almost-ceremonial putting away of toys and turning off the TV.
I hear the phrase being used to tell those in midlife that it’s time for a peaceful retirement, not a new entrepreneurial adventure – “It’s time to start winding down, relaxing, and enjoying life.” But what if you’re the type of person who gets enjoyment from new, challenging pursuits that demand your attention and creativity? What if the idea of retiring “peacefully” and winding down sounds just about as appealing as spending the remainder of your days in a jail cell?
Furthermore, what if midlife entrepreneurship makes more sense than retirement for some? Here are 5 reasons midlife entrepreneurship makes sense for anyone who just doesn’t see themselves “winding down” anytime soon.
5 Reasons Midlife Entrepreneurship Makes Sense
At 40, 50, or 60 years old, you have acquired knowledge and learned lessons that the 20 and 30 year old versions of you would’ve really benefited from knowing. There’s a reason the phrase “If I had only known then what I know now” is commonly used.
Midlife entrepreneurship makes sense because you’ve got…
The experiences you’ve had throughout your adult life have more than prepared you for the journey of entrepreneurship. You’ve overcome challenges, handled rejection, experienced successes and triumphs, and lost a little sleep. Because you have more experience now both in everyday life and in your professional capacity, you are well suited for entrepreneurship.
Many people report feeling less inhibited, less neurotic, and more able to deal with social situations during midlife, as studies by the American Psychological Association detail.
“Contrary to its reputation as a slower, duller version of a youthful brain, it seems that the middle-aged mind not only maintains many of the abilities of youth but actually acquires some new ones. The adult brain seems to be capable of rewiring itself well into middle age, incorporating decades of experiences and behaviors. Research suggests, for example, the middle-aged mind is calmer, less neurotic and better able to sort through social situations. Some middle-agers even have improved cognitive abilities.” – American Psychological Association, “The Mind at Midlife” pg. 38
Your life experiences and past challenges have left you with more wisdom than in early adulthood. And as the section above states, the middle-aged mind is better equipped to sort through social situations, make decisions, and maintain calmness. More wisdom means you’ll make wiser decisions when it comes to your business, and that’s undeniably a good reason to consider midlife entrepreneurship.
Having young children or a new spouse is stressful. The period of life where these changes occur is often marked by higher levels of stress, uncertainty, and a range of distractions that prevent us from giving our full attention to an entrepreneurial pursuit. But in midlife, the children are grown up, we’ve grown accustomed to life as a wife, husband, or single individual, and we have more time to give to a new, growing business.
More certainty about your path
Finally, midlife entrepreneurship makes sense because you’ll often have more certainty about the path you want to take at this point in life. You’ve had your fill of chaff and now you want the wheat. This might make you more likely to pursue a venture that centers around a personal passion of yours – and if so, that’s fine. Being interested and inspired by what you do each day is the only way to truly be successful in life.
Midlife entrepreneurship is not part of a midlife crisis. Starting a business at this point during your life will mean you’re wiser, more experienced, less distracted, less inhibited, and more certain about the path you want to create for yourself. That’s why midlife entrepreneurship makes sense.