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Boomers Are Rocking The Startup World

Jan 13, 2022

When you think of the average startup founder, do you envision a millennial in a hoodie — armed with their pitch deck — pursuing funding?

You might be surprised to learn that it’s actually the graying 50-something, bootstrapping their first business, a purpose-driven startup.

Over the years we've invested our resources into putting on entrepreneurial events and programs. They attract a lot of startup founders. In our early days, we were shocked to see so many boomers at our events. In fact, we asked ourselves, where are the millennials?

So we did the research and here's what we learned.

Boomers are twice as likely as millennials to be planning a new business and the odds are greatly in their favor. Older entrepreneurs have the uncanny ability to see the need, or improve upon, a product or service based on practical experience.

Some boomer entrepreneur statistics:

  • 67% are profitable.
  • 76% rate their happiness at an 8+ (1–10 ).
  • Boomers make up half of the American business owners.
  • Boomer startups are outpacing all other startups.
  • 50% growth of boomer startups since 2007.
  • Most bootstrapped their startups.
  • The most popular industry is business services.

The boomers are rocking the startup world, literally in their 501s (dad jeans) and tees. What’s driving the rise in boomer startups? 

The Gig Economy — The rise of the $1.4 trillion gig economy, fueled by 57 million freelancers, has created a freelance economy. Businesses have gravitated towards hiring part-time or freelance instead of full-time. Half of the millennials are now freelancers. This is a major workforce disruption. If the trend continues, projections show that by 2022, 43% of the US workforce will be freelancers.

Aging out at 50 plus — The over fifty crowd losing jobs due to restructuring and layoffs are finding it more difficult to find another job at the same rank and level of income.

Dream Job. Dream Income — The landscape has changed and the traditional path to the proverbial dream job with the dream income no longer exists for the majority of American workers.

Generational Culture Tensions — Right or wrong, each generation has a preconceived bias against the other generations. From workplace environments to agile teams, how we get things done differs greatly amongst our generations. These differences too often cause great friction in the workplace.

The Rise of Purpose —According to Gallup, only 33% of the American workforce feel engaged at work. There is a shift from a culture of “paycheck” to a culture of “purpose”. These boomers want meaning and purpose as they use their talents and strengths. They want their job to fit their life. They want to create their own exceptional workplace and the ability to create their own success path. This includes a flexible schedule they control, working from home as they desire, becoming more agile and collaborative wherever and with whomever they choose.

Retirement Fund Shortage — Only 23% of baby boomers think that their savings will last through retirement or that they have done a good job preparing for retirement, and only 54% had any retirement savings at all. The entrepreneurial path has become the answer to a fully funded retirement fund.

Here is my personal experience mentoring boomers launching their first business.

The Reluctant Entrepreneur — Many were what I call "reluctant-entrepreneurs". They experienced a career setback and had trouble landing a job commensurate with their experience and salary requirements. After a year or so on the market, they faced taking their skills to the market as a business. They would have preferred another job, they just couldn't land one anywhere near the old pay. So they reluctantly became entrepreneurs.

Imposter Syndrome — Many experienced an identity-crisis as new entrepreneurs. We call this imposter syndrome. This goes away as they begin generating revenue.

Crisis of Faith — Let's face it when life is going great, you can skate by without a strong faith. But when the you-know-what hits the fan, one has to focus on what it takes to rebuild their faith.

Path, Method, and Mentorship — The boomers are great to work with. Why? They've been around the block, know what they don't know, and are very willing to learn what it takes to succeed. 

Plus, I'm a fellow boomer, what's not to like!





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