Why it’s OK to become an entrepreneur at 40 (or even later!).
Disclaimer: I’m not yet 40, I still have a few months up my sleeve. 🙂
I know that there a lot of people out there (sister – I’m looking at you!) who think that if they haven’t started a business at 16 and become a millionaire by 20, then it’s too late to take that path of an entrepreneur. But what’s the rush?
There are so many reasons why it’s more than OK to start later in life. Some very successful entrepreneurs are starting at 70 or 80!
Good things take time!
When I think of my own path, I have literally spent the last decade wanting to break out of the office grind and indulge my creative side.
I’ve spent hours poring over books on how to make money online.
I’ve read blogs on building a business from home.
I’ve written journals full of ideas.
I even completed an Interior Design diploma to get the creative juices flowing!
My turning point.
But I don’t think it was until I began project work in the corporate world that I became quite curious about how these skills could transfer into our personal lives. I began learning techniques for implementing change. I prioritised tasks and followed them through to completion. And I evaluated progress along the way. Yet my personal life was more of a free for all. For the last twenty plus years, I have set New Year’s resolution and undertaken an annual stock-take of the things I’m grateful for in my life, the things I’ve achieved and the things I want to focus on. But I didn’t do much more after that… the journal was tucked away until the following year.
Learning these new skills at work made me wonder why we don’t use more of these techniques in our personal lives. You know, to see if we’re actually making progress. Or to see where we are wasting time on inefficient daily chores. So I began implementing some of these newly learned techniques into my personal life. The first method I used was ‘sprints’. At work we used a three-week time frame. We set the goals of the sprint on a Monday morning, broke the goal down into smaller tasks (e.g. research and scoping) and tracked it over the three weeks. Anything that became a road-block was flagged and dealt with regularly. But the main aim was to complete the goal by the end of the three weeks and move on to the next piece of the puzzle.
Trying out new skills.
So I decided to break down my New Year’s goals in to monthly chunks. What could I achieve in January alone? How would I track it and how would I know that I had achieved it? This technique alone was enough to get the ball rolling for me to launch my first online business (you can check it out here – Manifest Your Vibes), and get my blog up and running.
If I hadn’t had that extra decade in the corporate world, I wouldn’t have had those extra skills to launch myself into becoming a digital entrepreneur. And not only have they helped me to finally gain some traction, but I’m going to share all these techniques with you. Who knows where we’ll end up!
Although these skills and experience help to explain how I was able to change path at the age of nearly-40, there is a more intrinsic idea that I want to share with you.
And a lesson from bedtime stories.
Last night I was reading my kids a bedtime story, it was a collection of Maori myths (Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand). This particular myth was about how light came in to being. It tells the story of how Rangi, the Sky Father, and Papa, the Earth Mother, hugged each other so close that there was no light in between them.
Their children had grown up and were now adults. They were pale and hunched over and they craved light and space. Long story short – they push Rangi and Papa apart, and decorate the sky with the moon and the sun and stars, and the earth with trees and mountains and rivers. It’s a beautiful myth and I could feel something stir inside me. I resonated with the idea of putting your hands up and pushing the sky away. Making room to stretch out and finding something much greater and more rewarding.
It made me think about the stages in life. We roughly separate life into childhood and adulthood. But when we reach adulthood, there is another stage where we are the ‘babies’ in the adult world. And it can take another ten or twenty years to learn about ourselves as adults, and grow into what life means to us.
And once we are there we might just want to reach our hands up to the sky and push a little to give ourselves more room to grow.
Now is always the perfect time.
Abstract pondering aside, working in the corporate world can give us a foundation to learn both what we value and aspire to, and what we don’t need in our lives. For many people, it’s only after you’ve been through this that you even feel like you’re in a position to craft your own offering to the world. Which leads me back to why it’s OK to become an entrepreneur at 40! Some of us might be born ready. Others need a bit of time to figure out what direction we want to take. So if you’re thinking about it… stretch out your arms and legs and make a little room for yourself.