Entrepreneurs today aren’t just made up of your average tech-savvy millennial. According to research from the Swinburne University of Technology and Queensland University of Technology, business owners aged 55 to 64 lead a third of all Australian firms. This proves that it’s never too late to pursue your passions, and there is no better time than now to take a leap of faith into a new business and become a seniorpreneur.
My journey is an example that it’s never too late to start a business later in life. I switched careers in my early 50s, after I had worked in hospitals for over 30 years both as a nurse and in the quality and data fields. During this time, I uncovered consistent frustrations health care professionals have. However, the ultimate pain point for healthcare professional is the pervasive feeling that they are not providing the best care for their patient. In response, I started Make It Appen, a software development company that creates apps for the healthcare industry that aim to improve lives of patients.
To create apps for the healthcare industry, I had to first learn how to code for apps. I turned to online tools such as Github, an open source code-hosting platform, where other developers freely share their code and their knowledge – it gave me inspiration and helped me advance my coding skills.
The apps that I have created for the healthcare industry include:
For any entrepreneur, you have to wear many hats for the business at the start – from accounting to marketing – and this can be a challenge, especially for a seniorpreneur who may have spent most of their career in a specific trade. My best piece of advice is to outsource what you can afford to. You do not need to be an expert in every single area of the business.
It also took me time to realise that, at my age, I was not pressured to build an empire if I did not want to, and that the business can be a large or as small I wanted it to be. l was happy to only have a small team and build a few select apps a year, which meant that I could keep doing what I love, and that I was focused on giving my customers the best experience. Success can be found at many levels – you do not have to make millions to be successful.
If you have a business idea just start it, even if it seems scary. As a seniorpreneur we have more freedom, time and money to take a few risks and pursue ideas that we may have put to one side when we were younger.
While we may have more time for leisure activities at our age, it is also important to carve out time to sometimes put yourself out of the comfort zone and upskill yourself.
Lastly, you are never too old to try something new. It can be difficult as those around you may be talking about retiring. If you have a good support network and are in good health, this is the best time of your life to start something new for yourself.
Julie Misson, Founder, Make It Appen