But check out these statistics:
- Of new businesses in 2012, over 30% were started by people aged 45 to 54.
- In fact, Boomer women are the fastest-growing demographic of new entrepreneurs. According to a recent study, 10% of US women between the ages of 55 and 64 had taken steps to start their own businesses.
- On the other hand, people in the 20-to-34 age bracket actually started only 23% of new companies, the fewest of any of the demographic groups measured. So much for the stereotypes!
So if Boomer women make great entrepreneurs, what stands in their way?
In addition to the usual things that hold us back from pursuing our dreams (no money, no time, fear of failure, lack of inspiration, lack of confidence), middle-aged women are particularly affected by three things:
- Ageism affects Boomer men and women alike thanks to our youth-oriented culture. Also, companies often prefer to hire younger people because they’re cheaper and have lower expectations.
- Sexism is still a problem, though we’ve come a long way since the Mad Men Combined with ageism, it can be a major obstacle, especially when women work in traditionally male-dominated fields.
- Guilt around neglecting their families for the demands of a fledgling business.
What is it that makes Boomer women successful entrepreneurs?
- Experience – Here’s where your age works to your advantage. You have a ton of experience that the 20-somethings don’t, not to mention more contacts to build your company.
- Confidence – If you don’t have it, you should! When you make the decision to start your own business after a successful career, you know what you’re doing.
- More Freedom – In our younger days when we were raising our kids, our lives were more complex. The demands of building a business are harder to meet when we’re knee-deep in family responsibilities at the same time. But now that we’ve reached mid-life, our kids are grown… Or at least they’ve reached the point where they no longer need (or want!) us to be so involved in their lives.
- More Focus – Now we can take all the creative energy we devoted to raising kids and running a household and apply it to creating the lives we want… not to mention deploying those world-class multitasking skills we mastered through juggling the demands of a young family.
- A Bigger, Better Network – Time to tap into the support network you’ve built over the years – business associates, family, and friends. Use them as a sounding board for your ideas and a resource to help you recharge your reserves of confidence, energy, and persistence that are essential to getting your business off the ground.
So if you’re a Boomer woman with a brilliant idea, it’s time to make it happen! We’ve spent our last few decades gaining the experience, the skills, and the support network to launch successful businesses. Let’s set an example and make our sons and daughters proud of their entrepreneurial moms!