I'm 50 years old and I've just lost my job. I am tired of my industry, so I want to start a business. What advice would you give me?

Ageism has made it difficult for me to get a job in my industry, but my family prefers I get a job. I have enough money to survive for 12 months without work. What advice would you give?


What I would offer to you is this piece of advice.

First, don't rush to start a business. When you are "tired" after having been in a certain job or certain industry or anything actually, the first thing to do is to take a break.

You can't be objective or clear right after you exit something that has drained you.

Second, I respect that you have a family and responsibilities. There are folks who depend on you. Perhaps you can negotiate with your family a timeframe where you can hit the pause button and reset. This way, it'll give both of you what you need: It'll give them reassurance and it'll give you a break.

In sum, I don't know why it works this way, but there is something magical about paying attention to yourself and giving your body, mind and spirit what it needs. It somehow creates a space for the next step to reveal itself. And because you will have gotten all the "stuff" from your industry out of you, you'll create a clear line for the right something different to present itself.

I wish you the best!

Answered 9 years ago

You really need to ensure that you are starting a business for the right reason, as the life of en entrepreneur is difficult and not for everyone. (See my recent article here:

If you are absolutely 100% sure that you can do this and you have your family's support as well, then what you need to do is do a Venn diagram of what skills you have to offer, where your interests lie, and what customers in your area are willing to pay for.

With a year's worth of cash in the bank to support yourself (and, presumably your family) you are likely looking at consulting services to start rather than a full scale manufacturing/product operation.

If you do have an idea for a product to be created, you can go to a place like SCORE who can help you with your business plan and maneuvering through the SBA site. There are loans available to small businesses with 25 year terms currently from the government, if you are collateralized (which at your age, you are in a better position than someone just out of college.)

If, however, you want a job, then use your age as an asset rather than a detriment. I have worked with many people much older than 50 in tech companies that were hired at that age and we were lucky to have them.

Perhaps your resume needs tweaking, or perhaps the problem is you are applying for jobs in the first place rather than networking and showing peoe they can't possibly survive without you.

Either path requires effort, and I'm sure you are up to the task.

Answered 9 years ago

The first thing to determine is what is your motivation for starting a business. If you are wanting to create an entity that have value beyond your efforts (something that has stand-alone value that you could sell), the key focus is determining a need you can uniquely meet with a big enough marketplace to be financially worthwhile. You can self fund for a while but would need to be able to over operating costs, including your own compensation needs, before your own funds run out. Or, you would need to able to attract investors to do the same.

The second motivation for starting a business is to create your own job. The focus is to quickly realize revenue to generate personal income. The company has no real value apart from your work but it does keep food on the table. In this case, you start with an inventory of your own skills and abilities, and match them up with market needs that will result in sufficient revenue to meet your needs.

I can totally empathize with your situation. I am not too far behind you and had a difficult time returning to my profession due to age and perceptions of stage of life.

If I can be of any further assistance, let me know.

Answered 9 years ago

Think about how you can turn one of your passions into a career. You've earned the right to do spend your days doing something you love – but in order to keep busy, make sure it's something people need (and are willing to pay money for).

Brand = something you love + something others need

An idea is great, but it's much more powerful paired with research. The Internet is your oyster. Good luck!

Answered 9 years ago

1) Work on your mental game.
Sure, ageism exists, but far more often it's used as an excuse to cover the real issues people don't want to face. I've seen this a lot.

Are you mentally in a negative place - angry and defensive after losing your job? Have you kept your skills current or have you let them slide for a few years? Have you been taking care of yourself physically and spiritually?

Until you tackle your inner space, you will repel both potential employers and customers. Take a few weeks to get yourself into a place where you are ready to move on. Use your new time flexibility to eat healthy, get some exercise and clean the house. While you're doing that, listen to some podcasts to get up to speed on new skills and areas of expertise. Grieve for your old life so you can truly move on in your new adventures.

2) How can you help others?
In a couple weeks, start thinking about how you can use your unique skills, experience and passion to help other people - personally and professionally. What can you do to make their lives and companies better?

Then start reaching out to the kinds of people you can help and talk to them about your ideas. Don't try to sell them on your services or get a job, yet. Take the time to learn what they need and how they would like to engage with a person/company to get that help. This will guide you where you need to go.

Good luck with your new adventures! You'll probably look back in a few years and marvel that as much as the transition sucked, it was the best thing that could have happened.

Answered 9 years ago

I was in your situation a few years ago. If you happen to live in Canada there are some excellent programs to help that are specific to someone who is a) receiving employment insurance; b) starting a mew business and c) has not yet started it.

If that's you set up a call and I can give you the quick run down on the Supported Employment Benefit Program and how it can make a huge difference in getting started.

Answered 9 years ago

Listen to The Side Hustle Nation podcast for some inspiration and ideas on starting small.
Write a book or two. Seriously. Everyone has a book in them. Then go over to to learn how to self publish.

Answered 9 years ago

Hello? what a great opportunity for you have a fresh start in your life. You are young, full of energy, experienced and the better part of your life to live.
I'm living in London and we have a big house where friends are coming to visit us. At this time, we have Minesh and he shows us something really amazing. It's about an app with you can save money on every thing you want to buy and this friend is making a fortune just by giving this app. If you want to know more about this incredible opportunity, just write me a message. I will send you the app for free!

Answered 9 years ago

1. Families are all about security. Getting a job is seen by them as the easy path. They don't have to go through the usual negative experience of job hunting.

2. Do a SWOT of yourself.

3. Realize the running a business is hard.

4. Figure out where you have value, and why people would pay you for it.

5. Figure out how much money you need to make.

6. Create a business plan. Even if you don't use it, the exercise of doing it will help.

7. If you can, get a job in the area you want to start a business in. If you want to run a franchise for example, say a Subway, get hired by one.

8. Fail fast.

9. Study & interview in the area you are going into. Join groups. Do lots of research.

10. Figure out for the business your going into, who are the top players, and what they do right.

11. Answer the question, being brutally honest, why would somebody buy from you?

12. Don't compete with Amazon.

13. Figure out why people fail in the business your going into.

14. There are courses out there to teach you to be a consultant.

15. Make a list of why you don't like the industry your in. Can you change your role in the industry, for example being a consultant, so you get rid of the parts you don't like?

16. Get a board of advisors for your business, that you need to present ideas to. The feedback will be invaluable.

17. Avoid industries with high failure rates (like opening a restaurant).

18. Look at the profit margins of a business.

19. Do not compete with a business segment that can ship directly from China that is all about price. Try to stay away from business segments that are all about price.

20. Do customer research. Buy Ryan Levanque's book, ask. Most business fail, because they don't know what their customer really wants.

21. Memorize the Drucker 3:

Who is your customer
What do they value
What can you provide of value

Running a business can be very rewarding, but most business owners are not doing that great money wise. Non-employers have an average revenue of $44,000 per forbes.

Best Wishes!



Answered 9 years ago

Because of ageism, most experienced professionals start their own businesses, so you are not alone.

I would first take a break and do some soul searching, what do you really want from a career and life in the next 10-20 years. Then, I would to SWOT on your self and the business model and industry that you want to enter to figure out if your goal is worthwhile.

Most businesses will not generate revenue in 12 months. It's great that you have 12 months of living expenses covered, but most likely you will not be able to replace your salary in that time because growing a new business in incredibly hard as internet has globalized competition.

For experienced professionals, the quickest path to revenue is consulting within their industry, contract work with former competitors.

If you like operations, logistics and execution, i.e. are not big fan of unproven new products and innovation, franchising is a good option for you. Getting a franchise will take you about 6 months. If you are buying an existing location, you will start generating revenue from day one, but it will still take you some time to break even. I would do my own research about financial potentials for different franchises; there are some bad apples out there (UPS comes to mind).

Finally, if you want to start you own business, write a business plan first before you pour money into it. Writing a business plan will help you evaluate the financial potential of your idea and force you to put down on paper information about competition, your own competitive advantage, hiring needs, business model, etc. This is my specialty: What I like about writing a business plan is that you are not going into a new business led by passion, but logic. It takes few months to write a business plan document, but it doesn't have to be perfect, unless you are planning to raise money from angel investors. Bank will not give you a loan without few years of revenues to show for. The core of any business plan is a market research:

Good luck and call me if you want me to work with you as you navigate uncharted waters.

Answered 9 years ago

Have you considered re-training as a web developer. Lots of demand. You can easily freelance. Much of the learning is free online and in the online world it doesn't matter how old you are so long as you can write elegant code.

Answered 9 years ago

1. First know that you're young, believe it and own it. Don't wear the "ageism" thing. Could have been more true for that company or role (though illegal) but 50 is credibility and experience. Own it.

2. I hear "I want to start a business" a lot today. But that's like saying "I want to have a baby" or "I want to get a puppy". Dude babies and puppies grow up as do businesses. So change you mental framework to "I want to build a company". Frankly starting is easy. Go to legal zoom and in five minutes you'll have started a company, now what? It's not about starting but rather about building a company. See next point.
3. WHY? ask "what do I want out of this?" it could be you're seeking "I want freedom to choose" or "I don't want to ever have to look for another job again" or "I have something that I can offer or an idea". Find out what you want out of this "starting a business" and that will give you clarity to what fits that goal and how to map to get there.

4. Family pressure etc. It's hard. Everyone goes in the journey of the bread winner. They will be nervous but you'll teach your kids life lessons in the next actions you take. So map out the above
- here is what I want out of this, and what it means for you (your family).
- here is how am going to get here (and here's what it means for you the family)
- financial anxiety plan: 12 months in the bank is great but each month you burn without a focused plan or revenue will bring more anxiety for you and the family. Great companies are also started on the side while founders have a job or doing contract work on the side. This is a way to reduce family financial anxiety.

Ok this may have not been the answer you wanted but hopefully it's the answer you need. THE WHY- WHAT DO YOU WANT OUT OF THIS? A PLAN THAT MAPS TO GETTING THOSE THINGS. A WAY TO EASE FAMILY ANXIETY.

The type of business is up to you. Easiest is the one where you have the most value /power (experience, contacts, customers, partners) the hardest is where you bring a lot less.

Life is a series of projects!

Answered 9 years ago

Why do you want to start a business? I see this as a means to the end. I read a great book written by a Navy SEAL that was adamant about first identifying the target and THEN choosing a weapon. Starting a business, in this context (and in my opinion), is the weapon. If you have 12 months of runway I would start by really taking the time to learn who you are at a level you never have before. You lost your job, but you have gained an opportunity to find out what *you* truly want out of life and THEN figuring out what tactics you develop to move forward toward a life that is congruent with your values and interests.

Answered 9 years ago

What Industry are you from? In which industry you want to start business?

Answered 9 years ago

It's time to find your passion. There's something out there that is your calling. If it were you're industry we wouldn't be having this conversation. You'd be surprised a) how much more you can tolerate the "job" if you have to, and b) how quickly you'll make even more money once you connect with your passion.

I'm sorry to hear you've lost a job. I have been there (was in a shrinking industry for years), like so many others. However, I have no regrets about finally infusing my life with the work that lights me up.

Reach out as needed. There are a lot of us here who "get it."

Answered 9 years ago

It's not good that you're tired of your industry because that's where you have a lot of specialist knowledge.

A new business will likely take a lot more time and will not be easier than a W-2 unless you have a great plan.

You haven't said much about yourself or what your goals for the business and your time are, the circumstances of you losing your job, etc. So not much to go on. Do you want to set up an ice cream cart, revolutionize your former industry, poach clients from your former employer, etc. Do you want to have a 10-person company or a 100-person company, what products and price points do you have in mind, etc.

It sounds like you are in a difficult place emotionally. It sounds like you are writing from a position of desperation rather than strength. Losing one's job is very hard for anyone it happens to. You have my sympathy. Good luck!

Answered 9 years ago

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