May 25, 2010

Older entrepreneurs.

When you're 55+, maybe it's a good time for adventure and risk-taking.


Mark O said...

When you got nothin', you got nothin' to lose.

Pastafarian said...

I'd imagine that the Obama economy (Obamaconomy?) will encourage more of this. My retirement plan: The gentle release of death. They'll find me keeled over at my keyboard, my mouse in a deathgrip.

And no doubt the media will spin this as a positive -- old timers avoid the loneliness and boredom of retirement, etc.

k*thy said...

Boy, am I out of sync. As I approached this age bracket, I sold my business and am now a 'hired'. I guess I have the experience to go back to that, if I have to, though am hoping I don't find myself there.

Sokmnkee said...

Well, my husband and I are 47 and 43 respectively, and we're newly-minted entrepreneurs. Some days are a little nervewracking, but for the most part, we're enjoying ourselves immensely. We have destroyed the bars that held us in and we can earn as much as we're willing to work for.

Scott said...

For a lot of occupations, when you're in your fifties, you simply won't get a job if a qualified person in their 20s is available.

On my resume, I have to chop off 10 years of experience, and redact the date of my college graduation, just to be able to get an interview.

Maybe someday I will be propelled into the wonderful world of entrepreneurship, but it still sucks.

wv: buggenti -- the cockroach glitterati

edutcher said...

The problem is that, nowadays, there's no incentive, since The Zero wants to tax the Hell out of anybody whose business actually makes a profit.

Aren't all those $200,000 - 250,000 earners the entrepreneurs doing their 1040 as a business return?

mesquito said...

Well, if you're Greek you're already a half-decade into your retirement.

Scott said...

OT: In Greece, you know how they separate the men from the boys? :)

Pastafarian said...

Sokmnkee, good luck. You've got a big bullseye on your back, placed there by the Obama administration.

And I've destroyed a few bars in my time, too, and I've found that raging violent alcohol-fueled episodes can be quite cathartic.

What? Oh, those figurative cagey bars...nevermind.

shoutingthomas said...

Yes, age discrimination is rampant. The young blabber endlessly about the evils of discrimination, and they practice it with a vengeance.

In fact, the constantly changing definition of "bigotry" is a form of age discrimination. King Lear is as relevant as ever. The young want the old to die so that they can inherit the stuff. Re-defining bigotry (for instance so that you must approve of gay marriage) is a handy way to force older people out of certain jobs.

Because I have superior technical skills in a field that is thriving, I get a ton of calls from recruiters and two to three interviews a week when I'm looking for new contract work.

I refuse to even do the interviews for the design firms, advertising houses and media companies, because I know that my interviewer will be a 35 year old gay guy who simply won't hire me.

No, I don't bring up the gay issue. The gays do, and they insist on having their asses kissed. When Bush was still in office, it was common for business meetings in NYC to begin with a ritual denunciation of Bush. I had to keep secret the fact that I go to church and that I belong to a Harley rider's group (too macho). Movies like "V for Vengeance" and "Brokeback Mountain" were always topics of discussion. Woe unto you if you didn't accept the theories of these propaganda movies.

For "V for Vengeance," this meant that you had to join in the young gay men's frenzied claims that the evangelicals were massing on the banks of the Hudson River for a final murderous attack. For "Brokeback Mountain," you were required to believe that the deaths of tens of thousands of gay men in the 70s, 80s and 90s was actually the result of violence at the hands of straight men, not the result of the sexual actions of gay men.

While the offices were going through a fit of hysteria over sexual harassment that demanded the sterilization of the workplace for heteros, the gay guys were posting pictures of themselves half naked marching in the gay pride parades in Provincetown.

The gay kids had learned in college that they were privileged teacher's pets, and that they could terrorize straight men if we didn't kiss their asses. Entire art and media departments became gay only preserves as straight men were fired or subtly encouraged to leave.

I think that a lot of the 30 and 40 year old men had learned to fake being gay for career purposes. For the older men, this was not only impossible, but distasteful.

So, yes, the bigotry campaign has an element that few notice... the young discovered that it was an effective way to drive older men out of the workplace. The perpetual bigotry campaign is a very effective form of age discrimination.

wv:harli I kid you not

Pastafarian said...

Hopefully, Sokmnkee, your new business isn't the sort of B2B that will be hurt by the new 1099 rule that they slipped into the new healthcare bill: Starting in 2012, all businesses must file 1099s for every supplier with which they spend more than $600 total for the year.

So if you make a series of small purchases at Office Depot or the gas station or UPS, etc., if they total more than $600 per year, then you have to file a 1099.

So as a result, larger companies will be looking to consolidate their vendor base. As a startup or a small business, it will be harder than ever to get other businesses to purchase from you rather than from a one-stop-shopping distributor.

And hopefully your new business doesn't use much electricity (cap-n-tax) or has more than 50 employees (or you'll be forced to provide health insurance, and subsidize so much of it that your employees spend no more than 9.5% of their household income on it, or pay a fine). Oh, and then there's also the FMLA, and card check, and astronomical new unemployment "insurance" rates to cover slackers for 2+ years. And does your new business involve chemicals, or food, or machinery? Worlds of regulatory wonder await.

Let me know when you're ready to go destroy that bar.

Meade said...

Age 16-19
% chg. -38.8%

Age 65+
% chg. +29.3%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

65+ is the new 16-19.

New "Hussein" Ham said...

I am 55, and I have analyzed the current economic policies of the Administration and have concluded that if I risk my capital to build up a profitable business and begin employing people then Mr. Obama will steal my business from me and redistribute it to his friends.

Fuck that shit.

I have no intention of sweating to build up a business so that the Socialist Democrats can steal it from me and give it to illegal Mexican immigrants getting free welfare and coerced to vote Democrat.

American workers can elect a different President if they want a job. Or they can fucking starve.

roesch-voltaire said...

Poor shouting thomas you have been discriminated against because of color, gender and age; it is good thing that you have such superior technical skills. As a young entrepreneur I owned my own business and worked in the ad field before I became an academic, and it is true that personal relationships are needed to succeed, but I rarely had to reveal personal beliefs or fake anything to get along. As far as starting a business under this socialist govt, my daughter and son-in-law have started up a magazine, which they publish out of their house, that has international reach and affords them a living. Some folks have good ideas and guts, other don't.

shoutingthomas said...

Poor shouting thomas you have been discriminated against because of color, gender and age; it is good thing that you have such superior technical skills.

Yes, it is.

You've failed to notice that I have a thriving consulting business. Your attempt to paint me as a troubled, failing weakling who needs pity is bullshit.

I make my living in the media world of corporate business... pharmaceuticals, medical, insurance, financial.

I didn't say that the kids were succeeding in their efforts. I'm just telling you what they do.

I'm opposed entirely to the bigot hunting business. But, as long as others are playing the game, I'm playing back with a vengeance.

vnjagvet said...

Since turning 55 fifteen years ago, I've started five businesses. Four were failures; one a success. That is much better than average.

Whether or not you are a professional, it is relatively easy to change your focus from seeking an employer to finding business partners. That is one way to go from employee to entrepreneur, and it is usually less risky than starting and running your own business.

One factor that helped me was that my home overhead (children, tuition, home, food, insurance, nonreimbursed medical expenses, entertainment and general personal expenses) were significantly reduced so cash needs were proportionally reduced. IOW, my personal needs coincided better with the needs of a new or emerging business than they did when I had a growing family.

Also, supplementing income (401K and other retirement, SS benefits, etc.) to make a living is generally easier than making a living, so the object of the exercise and the downside risk is much less than it is with entrepreneurship before middle age.

WV: anucator

I am not sure I want to go there.

All in all, even though I had no business education in college or law school, entrepreneurship was a good option for me. For me, it provided necessary income and the sense I was a producing member of society.

shoutingthomas said...

By the way, roesch-voltaire...

Nice try.

E.M. Davis said...

The article misses out on a rather obvious factor in why 55+ people can start businesses.

They have time.

The kids are most likely grown and on their own.

Without having to look after an entire brood, men and women of these ages can devote the time required to run a successful small business.

I'm 38 and I only have 2 kids. My wife works 30 hours a week. I barely have enough time to cook dinner on a nightly basis.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Let me know when you're ready to go destroy that bar.

I keep a bottle of Glenlivet in my office.

Starting in 2012, all businesses must file 1099s for every supplier with which they spend more than $600 total for the year.

There is a bill to repeal this. I hope to hell it succeeds this will be a paperwork nightmare for ALL businesses.

You want to be Costco or Best Buy and recieve a million or two 1099's to deal with?

Better buy another couple of bottles of scotch and Crown Royal from Costco for the office before I have to 1099 them.

Jay Fellows said...

I started my specialty chemical business at age 54, back in 2002. I had been in the industry for 30 years and knew the key markets and customers. Quite frankly, I would not have been successful at age 30 or even 40.

In those years, I certainly had the energy, but not the efficiency (aka economy of motion) that I have today.

Also I was well positioned financially not to make rash or short sighted decisions.

vnjagvet said...

Another factor, which Jay's comment brings to mind, is focus. By the time you are 55+, you understand that the first rule of new and emerging businesses is cash flow. Without that, the whole thing comes crashing down.

Pastafarian said...

DBQ said: "I keep a bottle of Glenlivet in my office."

DBQ, we really need to do an Althouse meetup, and get good and thoroughly drunk.

bagoh20 said...

I'm not quite 55 yet, but I'm considering reversing my move to retirement and buying a business. This will require risking my entire nest egg which is enough to retire and never have to work again.

Problem is that I want to do more than just survive and travel. I want to help others in a variety of areas. That requires a lot of cash. I figure I can do a lot of good if I'm really successful and if only slightly then still better than what I can do in retirement.

Unfortunately, I live under a Soviet inspired government in my bankrupt Los Angeles, within my bankrupt California, a state within my bankrupt nation run by a confiscatory party that has no understanding of business and markets.

So, I'm torn. I want to employ people and give them the opportunities I had, while supporting charities I care about. I have no interest in getting any richer personally. Unfortunately, I will likely decline the deal simply because I fear my governments. They would consider me as a income source and still not have the wisdom to let that golden goose live.

I may sound like a nut, but I have been running a business like this for 30 years and I never felt like a victim for it until lately. I feel the desperate wolves' breath on my back and the governments I have vastly over-funded all that time are looking at me and drooling. We will all be worse of for that, but I don't wish to be a martyr. I'm not sure what I'll do yet.

F15C said...

I'm 56 and have been working on my start up alternative energy company for six years.

We were within days of getting a $32M investment when the health care bill and its capital gains increase passed - that killed the deal. The financial reform and cap and trade bills looming ahead didn't help either.

The increase in taxes just made an already risky investment in our company too risky given the economic downturn and our unstable government. I can't argue the point, the investor's math and gut feel are correct.

And that is bad news for America.

Our investor has $450M dollars he wanted to invest in American businesses who can execute on a business plan to create jobs in America (including manufacturing) and make money.

We were going to be his first investment but now he's decided it makes more sense to sit on the money waiting to see if the health care bill gets repealed and to see if Congress gets purged so, in his words: "America can begin to function again".

bagoh20 said...


This psychology is what is killing this economy. It's only reasonable to sit it out and wait. All the governments I live under are run by liberals. They are all bankrupt and anti-business, and looking to increase taxes and regulations. This recession should have been over by now instead of looking like a double dip ready to happen. There is tons of money waiting to be invested which is why the stock market has been so good for the last year; you can invest and get back out quickly. Starting a business is long term. Millions of investors large and small are waiting for the country to respect them and what they do: buy, hire, innovate - grow the economy.