The Age of the Silver Entrepreneur

Whatever the reason, the economic contribution of silver professionals is significant and also necessary, as the average age of the UK and US populations continues to rise- this at least is a fact nobody can deny.

Retirement. Not so long ago, most people couldn't wait for theirs. For those in repetitive, unsatisfying jobs, after 40 or even 50 years' employment, the arrival of leisure time and a pension was something to be celebrated.

Now the world of work has changed so fundamentally, that for many older professionals escaping work isn't their top priority, but staying there for longer.

For some it's financial insecurity that keeps them there. For others, today's workplace provides a social and intellectually stimulating environment they don't want to give up.

Whatever the reason, the economic contribution of silver professionals is significant and also necessary, as the average age of the UK and US populations continues to rise- this at least is a fact nobody can deny.

However, our extended working life has a knock-on effect in other ways. With silver professionals staying longer in post, younger employees struggle to get on the career ladder at all, let alone start to climb it.

That said, while many older workers do want to stay in work, they also want to 'get out' of working for others, using their skills, experience and talent to set up in business for themselves.

Just how many is highlighted by figures from the Office for National Statistics which show not only an increasing trend toward self-employment - 90% of all new jobs created in UK in the last three months of 2013 were classified as self-employed - but also that more older people are taking the entrepreneurial plunge. Between 2008 and 2012 for instance, 80% of the newly self-employed were over 50, with a strong rise in those 65 and over.

With a study by the US-based Kauffman Foundation finding that many founders of successful companies weren't setting them up until they were 40, it seems that going into business for yourself isn't just a young person's game.

So what's to stop an 'old hand' becoming a 'silver entrepreneur'?

Nothing ... when you have the mindset to see yourself you not as an employee but as a entrepreneur or business owner, able and willing to make the decisions that will determine your future.

Just as age shouldn't be a determinant of how long you keep on working - and after all, billionaire investor Warren Buffett is still hard at it aged 83 - neither should it determine when you set up in business.

Self-employment is also a great way to release yourself from the constraints of the job market, if you're currently out of work and feeling that your age is being viewed as a 'negative' rather a benefit that brings with it knowledge and experience.

And setting up on your own is certainly good for your quality of life, according to a survey by the Royal Society of Arts which reveals that the self-employed are happier than those who work for someone else.

The belief that what you're doing is meaningful and worthwhile, combined with a new-found independence, contribute greatly to that.

For example, by choosing when and where you work, you'll certainly be able to escape the drudgery of daily commutes, tiring at the best of times, but particularly so as you get older.

That doesn't mean you won't have to work hard as a 'new entrepreneur', but it does mean that you can do so on your terms.

Setting up your own gives you the opportunity to build on a life-long passion or interest, and what could be better than that? You'll feel much more focused and involved, and that will pay dividends - personal, emotional and financial.

As a silver entrepreneur, the time is certainly right for making the transition into self-employment, thanks to the emergence of simple to use, low cost technology that will help you do much of the 'heavy lifting' in terms of making sales and communicating. For example, put a website online and you can be selling 24/7 all round the world, or use a platform like Skype and you can communicate globally without effort or cost.

If the prospect of going into business for yourself still feels too daunting, then you could go into partnership, perhaps with a family member or a long-term colleague or friend. Maybe you could get together with a young person, say a nephew or niece, who is struggling to get a foot on the career ladder. A combination of your wisdom and knowledge and their enthusiasm, energy and understanding of social media could be a winner, and you may be on your way to building a family business that could be your legacy.

Now I'd love to hear from you.

What is the legacy you would like to leave behind? Have you ever taken the time to consider this? And, what difference will it make to whatever you chose to do?

By becoming self-employed you have the opportunity to reinvent yourself and steer your future in a wholly different direction. If we want to live a rewarding and fulfilling life, we need to be prepared and open to have adventures - at any age.

Be generous with your thoughts and your experiences as they inspire others.

And if you have enjoyed this article, then please share it with others.

Looking for more inspiration from the Award winning author, speaker and coach Maite Baron, then download 2 free chapters from her Nautilus 2014 Award winning book Corporate Escape The Rise of the New Entrepreneur. With the bonus that you will receive her weekly thought provoking updates. Get your download here.

Thank you for reading and sharing.

With gratitude,