Covid-19 vaccinations have started and perhaps provide a route back to some normality within a few months. Though many businesses haven’t had the luxury of being able to simply batten down the hatches and wait that long, and many people who used to work for them face a turbulent 2021 full of change.
The ranks of the self-employed and small businesses are going to grow. Crowdfunding provides solo entrepreneurs and startup businesses with many benefits, including product testing and raising awareness alongside raising finance without melting down credit cards, re-mortgaging the family home or taking on other forms of a loan guaranteed against personal assets.
Business experience is valuable
Those who had reached the autumn of their career may feel particularly uncomfortable about going it alone in a fast changing world where digital natives appear to be increasingly calling the shots. Yet as The Blockheads’ band leader Ian Dury might have said, there are reasons to be cheerful.
A study conducted by the US Census Bureau and two MIT professors found:
- A 50-year-old tech startup founder is 2.2 times more likely to be successful than a 30-year-old.
- A 50-year-old startup founder is 2.8 times more likely to be successful than a 25-year-old.
- A 60-year-old tech startup founder is 3 times more likely to be successful than a 30-year-old.
Not everyone works in tech, though I find it reassuring to know that founding a successful startup isn’t the exclusive preserve of the young, and that the younger business founders aren’t always the best. In my role as an independent crowdfunding adviser I have met many startup founders of all ages. It is always dangerous to make sweeping generalisations, though the high value of transferrable skills and just general understanding of how businesses run is much stronger among older founders. They appreciate far better how solidly things have to done, how robustly claims and plans have to be validated, and that hope isn’t a strategy.
10 top tips for a career change
I’ve been made redundant twice, and worked for a company that folded and left us all high and dry. I know how former salaried employees in their 50s feel, and I offer my ten top tips on setting out in business alone.
- Doing new things, outside of a comfort zone previously full of support, is scary. You’ll get through it.
- Most of your previous contacts have become useless because they were part of that former comfort zone, your former life.
- Reconsider the people who you know, and build connections among a new group of people who are going to be able to help you.
- Think equally about how you can help them, relationships will not be built just on how they could help you.
- It’s difficult to achieve a target daily pay rate, so do what comes up that looks like it would be good to be involved with.
- But don’t forget that time is your most precious asset, particularly when starting a new enterprise later in life.
- What you knew before is not going to be enough. You should remain curious and love learning. This is now easier than it ever was with the range of material available online.
- Add practice to your knowledge, by simply getting out there to start providing others with the benefits of your knowledge and skills. Even work free for a local charity or community group rather than keep them to yourself. This will help teach you how to best present that knowledge in a way that builds confidence.
- Confidence is what your new customers, and maybe later on partners or investors, will recognise and buy in to.
- Work with people you like, who respect you, and pay you on time. Life’s too short to do otherwise.
If you want to know more about crowdfunding, either as a means to check consumer demand for a new product, or to raise finance for a business to grow, you could start by following me on Twitter. I also regularly write articles about crowdfunding for Crowdsourcing Week. When you’re ready for a conversation, please first email me at [email protected]. I am an independent crowdfunding adviser, providing objective and impartial advice with no ties to any particular crowdfunding platforms.