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Startups in Later Life

Entrepreneurship is not just for the young. Often, those who start up in later life have more of an advantage over their younger competitors. So, what do the older generations think about starting their own businesses? IONOS SE wanted to find out.

In their latest study on self-employment in the United Kingdom, IONOS asked 500 British people (aged between 18 to 50) about their thoughts on entrepreneurship and explored what was holding them back from living out their startup dreams. They found that there was a divide between the younger and older participants on many topics, leading to some very surprising results.

Life experience helps with the success of startups

When the participants were asked about important factors when starting a business, many stated that life experience is one of the most advantageous. Older entrepreneurs may have a better understanding of knowing what works, which has many benefits compared to younger competitors who have spent less time testing and perfecting their ideas.

The older you are when you start a business, the more likely it is that you have better networking opportunities, and money behind you to fund your ideas. Some participants even went as far as stating that real-world life experience beats having a brilliant business idea. It turns out that while retired Brits may typically have less digital knowledge, their real-life knowledge more than makes up for it when considering running a business.

To discover more about what the participants thought was important in starting a business, download the free ebook “British Dreams and Wishes: A Business Survey

Health benefits of starting a business

There are many reasons why some might consider starting a business in their retirement years. Finally having enough time and money to devote to an idea or living out a lifelong dream or passion are just a few. But surprisingly, some may start a business for more unlikely reasons…

It turns out that there are health benefits to entrepreneurship. A study from Kautonen et al. (2017) found that entrepreneurship significantly increases an older person’s quality of life. This is because being self-employed offers more autonomy and more opportunities for self-realisation. The same study discovered that having a purpose in life is linked to healthy aging, corresponding with what we know about the world’s blue zones – areas where the life expectancy exceeds 100+ years – where continuing to work and finding purpose in your work is the norm.

Does running a startup make you a happier person?

It turns out that the health benefits of running a business extend to your mental health. The advantages for self-employment include a better work-life balance with control over flexible working hours, and this, apparently, leads to a happier way of life. The participants of the IONOS study certainly thought so.

More than half of the British people (59.3%) believe that starting their own business would make them happier than being employed. In a study by the Management School of the University of Sheffield in 2018, similar results were found: self-employed people are happier and much more engaged when it comes to completing their tasks despite having to often work longer and harder than employees.

Financial funding for all generations

Despite the assumption that older entrepreneurs have more money behind them, much of the older participants (aged between 40 to 50 years) stated that financial assistance and support programs would encourage them to start up.

All age groups agreed that financial support and general support in other areas such as business planning and marketing were the main drivers they felt they needed to confidently make the switch to self-employment. It seems that fear of financial failure is a common theme.

British Dreams and Wishes: A Business Survey

With a societal shift in many areas recently, ageism is one of them. Being in your mid to later years is no reason to be insecure when starting a business. The participants of the IONOS SE study certainly believe that the older you are, the more benefits you have in starting up!

The study also explored:

  • Job satisfaction among the British people
  • Why entrepreneurs find it difficult to set up their businesses
  • Areas of support for startups
  • Why founding can make you happier
  • Who Brits prefer to startup with
  • Sustainability in startups

To read more about the findings from the IONOS ebook on start-up behavior in the UK, download the free ebook “British Dreams and Wishes: A Business Survey

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