Starting a business at 50plus.

You're 50plus, unhappy in your current job, been made redundant, on furlough or maybe you just want to do something different? Whatever the reason if you've had a dream to start a business, this could be the time to do it.

I can hear some of you already saying I'm 50plus, I'm too old! Are you crazy?

Well to those of you who are thinking like that I say:

Did you know that people over 50 are twice as likely to be successful as those under 25?

Yes I know we're in the middle of a once a lifetime pandemic and economically things are turbulent, but that is not a reason not to try. As they say in times of turbulence there is opportunity as well as danger.

Right now in the UK, US, Ireland and Australia its the 50 and over who are launching more start-ups than any other age group.

Never run a business before? Don't worry, according to mobile payment firm Square four out of five over-50s who do start a business are doing so for the first time.

The website ran an article on people starting a new business at 50plus. Here are a couple of the stories they told:

Changing Health: Changing Health offers a behavioural change programme aimed at helping people with type 2 diabetes to make lifestyle choices that last a lifetime.

John co-founded the business at age 50 with Professor Mike Trenell, one of the UK's leading lifestyle medicine researchers and practitioners.

Q. How much start-up capital did you need?

A. I got £1 million seed round funding.

Q. What drove you to start the business at age 50 (or over)?

A. Having worked in a number of successful consumer-facing businesses and living with type 1 diabetes myself, I've witnessed first-hand the huge gap between how my care is delivered and how I live my day to day life.

I was at a diabetes conference some years back debating the gaps in the market with my now co-founder, Professor Mike Trenell, and it dawned upon us both that this is the right thing to do in our lives.

Q. How much is the business making now?

A. Our current financials are private.

Q. What's your advice for others who want to do the same?

A. I'd advise being open to help on new technologies. For example, the way you sell and market online now is very different to ten years ago, let alone when we first started our careers or launched our first business.

Jean Rasbridge - e-cigarette direct

Make sure you launch a business in an area you're passionate about and have experience in.

It'll fast track your success and prevent costly mistakes along the way. If you lack experience, buy it in, then fuel the business with your passion.

Q.What business challenges have you overcome?

A. Being in the later chapters in my book of life, I must say the speed and possibilities of technology have been my biggest learning challenge. My co-founder and head of technology thankfully fill in the gaps. The mechanics of what our business is able to now deliver for people in healthcare astonishes me. For example, we can now deliver personalised weight management support for people around the globe at the press of a button. I'm very proud and impressed with what has been developed in such a short period of time.

Laybuy: Gary Rohloff is the co-founder and managing director of Laybuy, a buy now, pay later service. Laybuy is New Zealand's largest buy now, pay later service and was started by Gary at age 55. It was recently launched (2019) in the UK with Footasylum confirmed as the first major retailer to offer it as a payment option.

Q. How much start-up capital did you need?

A. My wife and I funded the business for the first 18 months. We did, however, raise private equity capital ... but [we] still retain majority ownership of Laybuy.

Q. What drove you to start the business at age 50 (or over)?

A. The initial idea for Laybuy was born in the early 2000s when I was running a company called EziBuy (Australasia's largest catalogue business). At the time, we were looking for a way to improve our average order value as we noticed that whatever we tried to do, our customers' discretionary income was finite and we couldn't increase our basket size.

In May 2017, I decided to leave the corporate world after thirty-five years and start the business alongside my wife and our two sons. My family have been incredibly supportive throughout the journey.

Q. How much is the business making now?

A. I can say that we have grown by 370 per cent in the last twelve months and have expanded from New Zealand to Australia and the UK since we opened our doors two years ago.

Q. What's your advice for others who want to do the same?

A. Do your research, ensure you are 100 per cent committed and prepare yourself for an emotional roller-coaster. It's so much fun but bloody hard work too.

Q.What business challenges have you overcome?

A. When we first launched, our initial plan was to have signed 200 retailers by June 2019. In fact, we achieved this within the first three months, which blew our forecasts out the window.

This meant that we had to return to the drawing board in terms of our funding lines. We had to do this, not from an operational growth perspective, but rather to support our debtor ledger that had far surpassed our original expectations. Securing the kind of funding we needed to be comfortable with our growth trajectory took about seven months. And, like a lot of other small fast-growing companies, we had no choice but to offer up more personal assets to secure it.

Remember that as individuals who are 50plus we come with things that those younger than us just can't buy!

  1. Experience. We've been around a while. We've seen a thing or two. That can allow us to bring a perspective to a situation that a younger entrepreneur might not have.

  2. Finance. We've worked for the 30plus years, if we're lucky we'll have a financial cushion that can be critical in the early days of a start-up. Even if we don't have a cushion we have a lifetime of experience of managing money and paying bills. Again something that younger people just don't have.

  3. Network. We've already got a network in place that can be leveraged and used as a potential source of business contacts or customers.

  4. Credibility. You can have a great product or story to tell, but if you don't have the credibility or authority to convince others how good your product is, well opportunities are going to be missed. At 50plus we have a track record of success behind and with a little luck a network of friends and colleagues ready to endorse us.

  5. Skills. At 50plus we often come with a deep knowledge of a subject, specialism or sector than can provide a competitive edge.

Feeling inspired. Well, no excuses. Its time to act. Go out there and do the work. Research, draw up a business plan and have a go. If you've already started a new business and want to share it with your fellow men over 50 leave a comment below or contact me at and I'll be in touch.

Author: JamesG

Photo by Peter van Eijk on Unsplash

26 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All