Funding a Business at Mid-Life

In the book, it seemed that you stayed away from discussing just the VC funding type which in software seems so prevalent and is that directly related to that midlife entrepreneur that he has assets and everything? I asked that question of Bill Seagraves, author of Be Your Best Boss: Reinvent Yourself from Employee to Entrepreneur. and below is his answer from the podcast:

Bill: Well, there is the context of available assets, yes. So, self-funding, bootstrapping a business and maintaining ownership is certainly a context for the midcareer entrepreneur. I think most midcareer entrepreneurs aren’t looking to hit the big home run. The multimillion-dollar or billion dollar transaction, exit transaction is not part of their vocabulary or their vision. They’re really looking to position themselves for what I would call a comfortable retirement versus an extravagant retirement.

Joe: How do you play a role with the midlife entrepreneur? I mean do you play a mentoring role or how do you position yourself with them?

Bill: Well, I find myself mentoring business owners, so yes. It’s not in the context of a formal coaching business but somebody who is looking to or, at least, considering making a jump. They’ll call in, and the conversation is primarily wrapped around the funding aspects of the business. The first thing I want to understand is ‘what are your plans,’ ‘what are your goals,’ ‘what are your dreams.’ The funding programs are just a means to get there. But, to be successful in business, I want to have some sense of what they want to do, what kind of experience are they looking for and I’m very happy to share my experiences, having helped thousands of people fund their business and many thousands more just from the perspective of having a conversation and then having some sense of where they went. I think I’m uniquely positioned to, at least, share my experiences and say “You’ve said this from what you want your day in the life of an entrepreneur to be, but the business that you’re looking to do is not going to necessarily give you that.

You may want to go back and ask some more critical questions of whoever is advising them on, you know, what it’s going to be like day in and day out. I find the happiest, most successful people are in a position to execute on a business that they’re very happy to do. I have the opportunity to speak with potential entrepreneurs, and I get value in just having those conversations day in and day out. I think of myself as inspiring people to make this leap. The book is just another channel to provide additional inspiration for making that leap. At the same time, I caution people in the book that it’s not for everyone, and I hope some of those red flags come across and at some level filter people that aren’t positioned to be successful also.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Working with Mid-Life Entrepreneurs

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