The best time of life to start a business is in your early 20’s – this is when I wish I had started in business looking back. You’re young enough that you have very few obligations or overbearing liabilities, and you have plenty of time to fail fast, fail often and fail forward; a totally necessary part of achieving any real level of long term success.
It’s so much easier to face the fears (and reality) of failure when you don’t have a mortgage and family to look after, as these commitments are often the things that freeze people where they find themselves in life which stops them taking what they perceive as risks to their ability to provide. That said, some people do start businesses in their later years and there’s nothing wrong with this either… just that you potentially have a lot more to lose.
It really does depend on the person though, and their individual circumstances – some older people don’t have the sorts of obligations and responsibilities I’ve mentioned above, and so the same freedoms to explore business apply to them. Actually, what you find it that those who are older are actually in a similar position to the youngsters in that they’ve by now paid off their mortgages and their kids have left home long ago to lead their own lives. Just look at the founder of KFC – Colonel Harland David Sanders didn’t achieve his success in business until he was in his 60’s, and by all accounts has become extremely successful.
The other point I feel it’s important to make is how business and entrepreneurship is becoming even more of a necessity than it has ever been. As we see technology in it’s various iterations literally decimating the jobs markets, it stands to reason that more and more people are going to have no choice but to turn to creative entrepreneurship in order to make a living as there simply won’t be the plethora of jobs available as there is today. Slowly but surely we’re seeing checkout tellers being replaced by self-service, we’re seeing restaurants employing computers to take food orders, and pretty soon we’ll have self-driving vehicles being controlled and managed by BlockChain (which sends Uber’s business model flying out the window and would result in 45,000 truck drivers being put out of work in the UK alone) and AI robots running around doing everything from serving food to sweeping the streets. Make no mistake, this is the world upon which we are currently preparing to embark and things are going to change significantly over the course of the next decade.
So, when’s the best time to start a business? Right now!