Seniorpreneurs, The Next Boom?

Older entrepreneurs discuss their sometimes unique challenges in starting a business.
May 7, 2013

Older entrepreneurs are everywhere. And they have plenty to say about what it means to start a business at an age when others consider retiring.

Starting and growing a business when you’re older can bring its own frustrations and rewards. But the insights—from motivation to what it means to be successful—are valuable to anyone. Here’s how several older entrepreneurs feel about pursuing their passion:

Kathy McShane, 62, managing director of Ladies Who Launch, a networking company

“We tend to be less emotional about situations and tend to be able to see all sides of the situation. We also value differences in people 
and employees and it’s much easier for us to focus on the benefits or skill 
set that these people bring to the situation.”

Alan Canton, 65, managing partner of New Media Website Design

“You may not always know what to do. But you always know what not to do.”

Robin Blum, 63, of In My Book Cards, a bookmark/greeting card seller

“It’s a rough time for the book business and I’m determined to help independent bookstores survive. It’s certainly not the monetary reward.”

Craig Wolfe, 60, of Celebriducks, which manufactures celebrity rubber ducks

“Doing business becomes less about just making the best deal for yourself and more about making sure it’s a win-win for both parties.”

Art Koff, 78, of RetiredBrains.com, a work and lifestyle website for retirees

“In dealing with younger executives, managers and professionals, they make assumptions because of my age that make it more difficult to do business. But once we’ve worked together for a while, it’s not a problem.”

Doris Replogle Wenzel, 73, of Mayhaven Publishing

“Financing has been, and still remains difficult. Bankers see my white hair (I was gray by the time I was 30) and become edgy. Banks simply have little understanding of the publishing business and I’m restricted in growth by that reality.”

Sheila Duncan, 62, co-creator of Trouble the Dog stuffed animal

“People are amazed at what I am accomplishing at ‘my age,’ until they meet me and realize age doesn’t even enter the equation. If you have passion for your mission and know in your gut it’s the right thing to do, you can never, ever give up.”

Angel Rampy, 59, executive coach

“Smile a lot – even when it hurts. No one wants to know how hard it is. But ask for help—people want you to succeed.”

Dr. Janice Presser, 67, CEO of the TheGabrielInstitute.com, a training and consulting company

“The only disadvantage is that people expect tech CEOs to be young men. Younger than my children young. But an advantage is that you can get away with saying a lot of soul-satisfying things that remind you that you were right to start this venture.”

Candy Langan, 67, owner of Academy by Candy LLC and Jorgee Compatible Makeup

“I do this because I’m making people happy. I get up every morning and do what I love. How bad could life be?”

Read more about being an older entrepreneur on SUCCESS.com.

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