Are You a Middle-Age Entrepreneur?

Bill Seagraves specializes in helping aspiring business owners make the leap from the restraints of corporate America to discover the freedom that small business and franchise ownership can provide. With more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur and financial funding expert, Bill is expertly positioned to offer sound advice that has seen hundreds of small business owners not only succeed, but flourish. Bill is the author of a new book, Be Your Best Boss: Reinvent Yourself from Employee to Entrepreneur.

An excerpt from next week’s Business901 podcast: 

Joe: Since you’ve worked with so many, is the mindset of a middle age entrepreneur, is that entrepreneurship sort of like uncovering an unmet need? Did they always have that desire? Were destined or is just something that evolves? What have you noticed?

Bill Seagrave: I think there’re 2 answers to that question. I have got people that have come to me, and they have an internal unmet need. They’ve always wanted to be in business for themselves, or they have a passion that they feel like they have something to deliver to the world through business ownership. They’re certainly that context, very successful driven folks.

We also have the folks that, it is an unmet need. The question reminds me a very recent client of ours. It’s a family situation. So, parents and 2 sons, they’re in the orthodontic appliance business. That’s a fancy word for saying they make retainers for folks and but the parents have been in that business for 30 plus years. The 30-year old sons have been in the business for about 15 years, but they’ve always worked for somebody else. They see an opportunity to build their own kind of family focused business with the four of them, see that as an unmet need at some level or they wouldn’t be doing it, I’m sure. Although, it’s not a unique need. It’s something that they’ve worked in, in the past.

Joe: Your book really focuses on that and, we sort of lost track of that path a little bit. I mean in all the books you read, you think about the Lean Startup, and we’re all thinking of the young swashbuckling software designer. What made you write the book? Did you see that unmet need out there? There wasn’t a book in that space?

Bill: Well, I’ve experienced that need. I have calls every day. I probably do 6 or 8 calls day in and day out with individuals that are considering business ownership at a midcareer point. It’s a very infrequent basis that I get the swashbuckling 20-year old that gives me a call. These folks are all, you know, evaluating the pros and cons, have a sense of security being employed but at the end of the day, corporate America you really don’t have control of your destiny. You’re not sure how long you’re going to be there, and as you look forward to your retirement, there’s this uncertainty of are we going to get there.

My wife and I had that same conversation. I happen to already be an entrepreneur at the same time, but we were addressing it. And so, people are asking themselves the question “Where do we want to be at, whether 5 years, 10 years or 15 years down the line?” and that time frame maybe a big part of the conversation. The midcareer folks have a shorter but clearer vision of where they need to be at to get to where they want to be. The twenty-something person has got 40 years, and they’ve never even thought about where do they want to be in 40 years. They’ve said, “Well, I’m looking to hit a homerun, build a multi-million dollar business in the next 5 years and then I can sell around the world or play golf.” Whatever they want to do, that’s their vision of there’s a clearer, crisper, a more focused experience that the midcareer entrepreneur’s looking for.

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