Your age could impact how successful you are in the YouEconomy.
Before you assume I’m saying you’re too young or old to make a go of it on your own, let’s get this straight first: Anyone of any age can join the YouEconomy and find success with the right work ethic, attitude and resources.
Related: Why You Should Join the YouEconomy
But your stage of life will have a big impact on how you succeed and what your journey looks like. Here’s how your age group might stack up against the others and what you can expect as you create your career.
Teens and 20s:
As a tech native, you see and feel your way through social situations, problems, and tasks in a way the older generations may never. The foothold of GPS technology in the 2000s and the proliferation of the internet in most U.S. households gave rise to what we now call the YouEconomy—a cultural wave you’ve always taken for granted. You are tech savvy, are less attached to the old ways of doing things, and have given innovation a cultural boost. On the other hand, you may lack funding to back up new YouEconomy endeavors, and your age means you lack experience comparable to older generations in leadership and work/life balance. If you’re in your teens or 20s and are ready to join the YouEconomy, look for an older mentor who can help you make up for these challenges while you pursue your significant strengths.
Your 30s are a decade of self-awareness. You believe in yourself and your worth far more than in your 20s, so your potential is even greater. At the same time, life may have gotten more complicated with increasing financial and family obligations—all the more reason to take advantage of the flexibility of the YouEconomy. A part-time entrance might be ideal for you at this point. And since 72 percent of American adults have used at least one shared or on-demand service (with one in five using four or more of them!), you’ve got a big market of potential customers. You’ve also acquired advanced skills at this point, so freelance work in creative or consulting fields are open to you in a bigger way. If you decide to make the leap or are ready to expand your YouEconomy footprint, look for opportunities to build a regular client base and establish consistent income with those repeat buyers.
40s and 50s:
The conventional opinion is that younger people are better at taking risks when it comes to starting a business, but a recent survey by Kellogg Insight of 2.7 million company founders shows the opposite is true. A startup founder who is 50 years old is 1.8 times more likely to start a company that ends up in the top 0.1 percentile of their industry than a 30-year-old founder. It’s even more significant when compared to founders in their 20s. A 40-year-old founder is 2.1 times more likely to found a successful company than someone who is only 25. Even when it comes to technology companies—those mythical fountains of youth and balance ball chairs—the average age of founders was actually 45. At this point in your life, you have everything you need to succeed, except maybe time. So delegation and streamlining will be your challenges. Look for ways to outsource even a few hours per week as you get going.
60s and 70s:
The number of people in the YouEconomy who have long careers behind them is growing. Your skills as an accomplished and mature asset are in demand at large organizations and corporations. In fact, a May 2018 report by Civic shows there are 1.5 million experts helping companies with their knowledge and expertise. Because your market has deeper pockets, your earning potential is greater. Experts who consult for companies earn up to $1,000 per hour. Your challenges might be with seeing how technology is impacting your market, so be sure to get educated on the latest trends by someone in the know. Then put away your résumé and hang out a shingle—you just might be at the start of a successful second (or third) career.
If you’re ready to join the YouEconomy or up your independent game, remember that in the right circumstances your age is not an obstacle but an advantage.
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2019 issue of SUCCESS magazine.