When is the Best Time to be an Entrepreneur?
It’s always fascinating to write about young entrepreneurs because they are a rare group to come by. Many of the young entrepreneurs we’ve encountered are eager and ambitious, but they may not seem ready to succeed. In fact, our whole image of young and successful entrepreneurs may be misconstrued. HBO’s Silicone Valley parodies a tech start-up life style filled with volleyball meetings, computer programming, lavish parties, and young people. But in reality, there is nothing “young” about the entrepreneur or start-up lifestyle. The average age of entrepreneurs is 40, and 95 percent of them are educated and married with at least one child. That’s a very different image of how Hollywood depicts start-up founders.
The reason why the average entrepreneur is so relevant is because he or she is a representative of much more than just the business community; the average entrepreneur represents any person who has an idea to start something, especially for those of us who are still waiting for that creative spark. The fact is that you don’t need to be inducted into the entrepreneur community from a young age; you’re actually more likely to succeed, and be at your sharpest creatively, the older you are. A recent study found that major creative breakthroughs happen when a person is in their early to late 30s.
For the most notable inventors and Nobel Peace winning scientists, the study found that the age period between 30 and 40 is the sweet spot for creative breakthroughs.
People in the arts are also more likely to bloom at a later age. Over 40 percent of Robert Frost and William Carlos Williams’ best work was produced after they turned 50. Likewise, business owners who hit it big are past that threshold of being young. Jimmy Wales founded Wikipedia when he was 35. The founders of Watsapp, Pandora, and TechCrunch were all in their mid-thirties when they began their start-ups, and they are considered the young ones. Intel was founded by a 41 year old, and the founder of ZipCar was 42 when he started.
Being middle aged, or even older, is actually the ideal circumstance for going into the start-up world. Not only is it a time when a person has the experience and resources to be an entrepreneur, it’s also the perfect time to get those creative juices flowing. So apparently the best years of your life are not behind you. It’s not too late to start and be among the greatest innovators of our time.