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What Age is Best to Start a Business?

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What Age is Best to Start a Business?
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Whether you’re a fresh-faced graduate just entering the working world, or you have decades of business experience under your belt, entrepreneurial inspiration can strike when you least expect it. If your gut feeling is telling you to become your own boss, you shouldn’t let your age stand in your way. 


Wondering what the best age to start a business is? We’ll explore the average age of starting a business and dispel some myths along the way to give you the motivation and confidence to leap into entrepreneurship.


What the data says


Let’s turn to the data to see what the best age to start a business is. According to Beahurst, certain age demographics are more likely to have launched a successful business in the UK than others. Over 90% of founders in London are within the 20-49 age bracket - a broad range of almost thirty years, but this isn’t to say you shouldn’t start a business once you reach 50.


You really can become your own boss at any age - Ray Kroc, the former CEO of McDonalds, was aged 52 when he started his entrepreneurial journey, whereas Mark Zuckerberg was only 19 when he started Facebook. With this in mind, it seems age is just a number when it comes to following your dream. With the mindset to succeed, there’s little stopping you from starting your own business, no matter where you are in life. While the ages of the world's greatest entrepreneurs differ greatly, what they all have in common is determination and perseverance. We know you’ve got what it takes.


Another factor to consider is that while you may start your company at a younger age, it may not take off until later in life. Take Jeff Bezos as an example, who was 35 when Amazon began selling more than just books, and 41 when Amazon Prime launched. The most successful businesses have experienced periods of slow growth and challenges along the way - so stay persistent and have patience. 


Why do so many studies show different ages? 


You may be wondering why the age to start a business varies widely. This is because there really is no ‘right’ age to make your business dream a reality. 


We spoke to author, founder and psychotherapist, Eloise Skinner who added;  “I don't think there’s a ‘right age’ to start a business. I think it's completely dependent on the individual, and on the particular circumstances and situation of each founder. Of course, when we're a little younger we might have a higher tolerance for risk, but being older comes with benefits as well - for example, more experience, resources or connections.”


Another factor to consider that can affect the age you start your business is gender. It seems that men start their entrepreneurial journey before women, with 40% of men starting businesses before the age of 35, compared to 33% of women. This may be due to other responsibilities taking priority, which might include caregiving or family commitments.


Another consideration is the funds to get the ball rolling. For example, you may have come up with your business idea aged 20, but not have the funds to get started until you’re 30. With this in mind, it’s never too late to become a business owner, especially considering a 60-year-old startup founder is three times more likely to launch a successful startup compared to a 30-year-old startup founder. So, what are you waiting for? 


At what age can you start a business?


Wondering how to start a business as a teen? If you’ve put together a small business idea that could take the world by storm,  it’s definitely possible to start a business under the age of 18. But you’re likely to need sign-off from a parent or guardian to make it happen. This is because you’ll need them to co-sign anything that involves a contract, such as legal documents. 


Those under 18 are considered minors, meaning they can’t open a business bank account, borrow money or have a credit card. This means you’ll need to find alternative ways to fund your new venture. Perhaps you’ll borrow money from a family member, or start your business with an adult who can access business funding


Am I too old to start a business? 


You’re never too old to start a business! All you need is an idea you’re passionate about and the motivation to get you where you want to be.


We spoke to therapist and business coach, Amanda Brenkley, about why entrepreneurs may feel they’re too old to start a business and she responded; “There are several reasons why people might feel they're too old. Many individuals, regardless of age, fear the potential failure of a new business venture and sometimes we’re prepared to tell ourselves any story to stay in our comfort zone. But little worthwhile comes from staying in our comfort zone!


Perceived age-related discrimination can be a concern for some people, but again this can also just be an excuse not to do the things you actually want to do. Experience, wisdom, and a strong work ethic can be significant advantages for older entrepreneurs.” 


In fact, waiting until later in life to start your business may stand you in good stead for the future. Considering that 42 is the average founder age of all S-corporations, C-corporations and partnerships registered in the U.S. between 2007 and 2014, it seems older entrepreneurs aren’t just more common than you may think, they’re more likely to succeed too. The average age of a startup owner as of 2021 is 35 years old, proving that you don’t need to be in your twenties to kickstart your entrepreneurial journey. 


Ready to start your business?


It’s never too late to fulfil your business dreams. Starting a business can be life-changing, so you shouldn’t let self-doubt stand in your way. 


Eloise Skinner highlighted “The most important thing is to get clear on your ‘why’ - why do you want to start this business, or pursue this new venture? Once you're certain and clear on your motivations, you might find that energy and determination naturally follows.” 


If you’re feeling hesitant, our company formation service could be just what you need to restore your confidence. We offer several company formation packages to suit your needs, and can form your company with Companies House on your behalf, so you have less to worry about. 


Apply to form your company today - we’ve given you one less reason to wait. 



Still feeling unsure? Read on to hear from other business owners, as they uncover the age they started their businesses and any words of wisdom they have to share.


What business owners have to say 


Paddy Moogan - Co-founder and CEO, Aira Digital - founded his first business at the age of 21

Do you think there were benefits to starting your business at a young age? If so, what were they?

Definitely. For me, it was probably being chucked in at the deep end which was really hard, but it forced me to learn a lot of stuff very quickly. When I was young, I had a bit of naivety about me which ultimately meant that I didn’t overthink things like I would now. I just saw a problem or something that needed to be done, then got on with it without worrying too much. Weirdly, I probably had far less fear when I was younger running a business compared to now!


What tips/advice would you give to 18-21 year olds considering starting a business?

One thing I’d suggest is to get a very good, early grasp on the basic mechanics of how a business works, then apply this to the business that you’re thinking of starting. I started with zero clue about things like taxes, balance sheets, business assets, expenses etc. While I got by because I knew my product and business really well, I’d have almost certainly had an easier time maintaining and growing the business if I had learned the basics of running one. I’d also recommend finding people who you can ask for advice regularly on the aspects of running a business. Most experienced business owners will have no problem helping out a young person, so ask around or think about who you can approach for help and then do it. I didn’t really have anyone at the time and I know that it would have helped a lot if I did.


Is there anything you would have done differently?

I sold my first business after 12 months of running it and while it was a happy sale in the end, it was partly driven by me running myself into the ground with the hours and days that I worked. I’d never do that again because I know how important mental and physical health are to my own performance. So if I could go back, I’d tell myself the importance of these things and find a better work-life balance.


Steve Blood - Personal Trainer and Sports Injury Therapist - founded his business at the age of 19

Do you think there were benefits to starting your business at a young age? If so, what were they?

As a personal training and sports injury therapist, starting my own business early has meant that nearly 10 years on I've got a very well-established client base across both sides of my role. It meant that during more testing times to be a business owner, such as during the pandemic, a lot of my clients were more than happy to continue to invest in personal training over Zoom. There's a risk that if I was just starting out, it would have been much easier for clients to disengage.


What tips/advice would you give to 18-21 year olds considering starting a business?

It's true when they say age is just a number, but when you're just starting out - it's really easy to look at people older than you in your industry and talk yourself out of following your dream. It's important to try and keep imposter syndrome at bay and consider networking and mentoring sessions to broaden your interactions with people who do have more experience. But ultimately, remember you can do this!


Is there anything you would have done differently?

Looking back at the early years, I set the prices for my services deliberately low in order to try and build a client base - it was great at drumming up interest. But, I probably wasn't quick enough at increasing them when my experience was starting to stack up, or I completed another qualification. There was a period of three years where I sat at the same fees and if I was in an office job, I'd have almost certainly seen an increase or two in my salary over that time period.


Ben Grace - Founder of Eco-Luxe skincare brand SBTRCT - founded his business at the age of 44


Do you think there were benefits to starting your business in your 40s?

I think anyone who decides to start their own business does so at a time that is right for them.  For me that time was in my 40s.  It meant I was starting out with an incredible network of people, best in class experience in my industry and a real understanding of what it takes to build a skincare business. For me I needed this experience to give me the confidence to make that leap and go for it. Something I don’t think I was ready for before that point.

 

What is the one key tip or piece of advice would you give to people in their 40s considering starting a business?

It’s taking that initial leap that is the hardest part.  I was at a point in my career where I felt it was now or never. I imagined myself in my 50s and still not having done it and realised it would be one of my biggest regrets. That’s also when I realised that success is in doing it.  It’s not whether you exit or build a multi-million pound business. If you have a business in you, then giving it a shot is the most important thing.


Rebecca Heald - Workplace, Wellbeing and Leadership Consultant - founded More Than Nutrition in her 40s

Do you think there were benefits to starting your business in your 40s?

Starting a business in my 40s had lots of advantages. Firstly, I had a wealth of experience and industry knowledge which has been invaluable. My life experiences have also made me so much better at what I do.  I understand myself much better so have been able to see my failures as lessons and have been far more resilient. More than anything, starting a business in my 40s has given me a rekindled confidence and helped me find my voice. I'm now as passionate and enthusiastic as I was at 18, reigniting my entrepreneurial spirit with a fire that's brighter and more purposeful than ever before.


What is the one key tip or piece of advice would you give to people in their 40s considering starting a business?

Leverage your experience and networks. Your age can be a powerful asset. Use your past work experiences and connections to identify gaps in the market or unique opportunities. Seek mentorship and guidance from those who've been down a similar path. Additionally, don't underestimate the importance of adaptability. Be willing to learn, unlearn, and relearn, as the business landscape is constantly evolving.


Is there anything you would have done differently?

I would’ve listened to my gut and trusted my instincts sooner. I would’ve been bolder and braver with my decisions instead of doubting myself. It's common to be inundated with advice from various business experts and gurus, but ultimately, you are the one who knows your business and its unique challenges best. Trusting your intuition and staying true to your vision can often lead to more authentic and successful outcomes. 


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