Guest Blogger Dr. Natalia Weichowski, Personal Branding Coach, Speaker & Author
Yes, I am a Millennial. I might look young but I am an old soul. This explains why I always had deeper and more entertaining conversations with individuals who are approximately 20 years older than I am; and why my mentors and dream clients are Baby Boomers.
Boomers seem to be more balanced and aligned with their values than for example a Generation X representative. I perceive Boomers as eager learners and there is always something essential that I can learn from them, which makes working with Boomers even more fulfilling.
So, if you are a U.S. based Boomer and wonder if you “should” start your own business, this article is for you. I’d like to share five powerful reasons why times have never been better Boomers to become an entrepreneur or solopreneur.
- Money (money, money)
You have the cash and over the upcoming years, you will receive even more cash. Boomers in the U.S. have the highest net worth of any population segment. You have 70% of all disposable income and you will inherit 15 Trillion US Dollars over the next 20 years. Let these numbers sink in for a moment.
Realize the privileged position you are in: You might not need to raise funds, to pitch your business to investors and/or to be rejected over and over again by arrogant schnooks who think they understand the world – the whole universe – because their title says “Serial Entrepreneur” or “Venture Capitalist. Take your private equity (savings) and build a business based on your values and desires.
- A winner’s mindset
One of my mentors once told me: “The older you get, the less you’ll care about things you cannot control – like the opinions of other people. And the more you’ll accept, love and find peace with yourself.” In other words: You are at the peak of your authenticity. Blessed with attributes like patience, resilience and lightheartedness. Traits that many people at my age often struggle with.
Guess what happens when you compare the success rates of Millennial versus Boomer start-ups? Which group starts up the most businesses by a two to one margin over the other? Which group do you think has the highest likelihood to still be in business after three years? Correct. It is not the Millennials.
According to the most recent report from the Kauffman Foundation, the highest rate of entrepreneurship in America shifted a few years ago to the Boomer age group, compared to Gen-X (1965 to 1980) and Gen-Y (1981 to 1995). Today people over 55 are almost twice as likely to create successful startups as those ages 20 to 34. –Martin Zwilling – Entrepreneur Magazine
Also, targeting the Boomer demographic is a very smart move. Americans aged 55 – 65 outspend the average consumer in nearly every category. As a fellow Boomer, you know how your customers feel, what they want and what resonates with them (and I strongly assume that it is not stereotypical age and health-related products…). There are a multitude of market trends indicating that the Boomer market is the most lucrative.
American Boomers spend 7 Billion USD a year online. They will spend 4.74 Trillion USD over the next 20 years. Yet, Americans over 50 are targeted with only 5-10% of marketing dollars. This is a huge opportunity – especially when you are thinking about making Boomers your customers.
- Experience, knowledge, and skills
Boomers have the experience, insights, knowledge, and skills that it takes to not only market to Boomers but also to launch and/or run a successful business.
You have been a member of the job market for 35-plus years. You have made tons of mistakes and successes. You know what works and what does not work. You have learned from good bosses and bad bosses. This is a priceless advantage. You can take that knowledge and design a business and succeed based on these best practices.
- (The right) time
You had a career. Maybe you raised a family and the kids are now on their own. You did everything you had to do. Now that you have finished fulfilling your “societal duties” you can fully focus on yourself and your dreams – without feeling guilty or stressed. The time of big compromises is over.
What will you do with the next thirty, forty, maybe even 50 years? Will you view this as the perfect time to live a new life/career and to make an impact? Leave a legacy? When I reach your stage in life I believe I will be incredibly excited to fulfill amazing new and significant opportunities for my life.
- A solid social network
Porter Gale says “your network is your net worth”. In addition to that, building a solid social network of co-equal individuals and brilliant minds takes time, effort and maintenance.
You most likely have that social capital with a “Vitamin C” which Millennials are wishing for, praying for and dreaming of. You can use your network to get the information, resources, and talent you need to skyrocket your business. You are connected to the very people you need for support, participation, investment, and execution. Some directly some only one or two degrees away through your current network. Strategic collaborations, reverse mentoring and internships are three other examples of how to use your network.
Boomers are the most powerful market demographic in the US – not only from a consumer’s perspective. I believe that this is also true for future creators and business builders.
You have (almost) everything that the majority of Millennials or even Generation X start-ups are lacking. So, don’t wait. Make that jump. Your best years are still ahead.
Dr. Natalia Wiechowski is an internationally recognized Personal Branding Strategist and “LinkedIn Marketing Unicorn” with a following of over 54,000 organically grown followers. Her work has been featured in LinkedIn’s #InItTogether campaign in 2018. She and ProBoomer’s Paul Long mentor each other. Find out more at ThinkNatalia.com and get daily tips on how to make the most out of your personal brand by following her on LinkedIn.