Are you born or do you acquire the skills to become an entrepreneur? This question has long been debated.
Looking for certain entrepreneurs, such as Richard Branson or Alan Sugar, who left work at 16 to start their businesses can add to the common proposition that an entrepreneur is born, rather than made. However, in Aviva’s Voice of New Retirement Report, which had a sample based 6000 UK adults, it clearly highlights a new trend which puts this into doubt.
These days we focus on the younger generation who start businesses. However, Aviva’s report swings the other way. It actually highlights a growing entrepreneurial trend amongst those who are retiring or retired. Now, this makes our argument for “is an entrepreneur born or made” slightly more interesting.
What was found was that many of those who have ‘retired’ from conventional work still had the drive to work, still wanted to be challenged (41%) and still had a means to feel fulfilled (48%). This was, in contrast, those who were unretired who thought that money (65%) would be the most likely factor in keeping them working in retirement. Now, this is interesting. An entrepreneur is known for taking on risk. Does the aspect of retirement which softens financial and time risk make it more appealing for people to place themselves in a position where they can enjoy the experience of being entrepreneurial?
Maybe so. What is clear is that with that one in five (20%) who have yet to retire have a plan to set up their own business or become an entrepreneur. They clearly feel ready for it. Life experience is a big part of knowing how to cope with a varying degree of different situations. Being retired gives you that experience and confidence that perhaps was lacking in younger days.
This was nicely complemented by retirees (78%) who did work, felt significantly much more content and fulfilled with the work they do than the un-retired (44%). Striving to do what they want to do, being in control of their own actions and decisions. It is empowering. It shows that life doesn’t have to slow down or stop even as you get older, in fact, what this report shows is that it adds a new chapter. Often one which can be more fulfilling than previous ones.
Taking a look at real life examples. Stacy Marking from The Lemongrass Trading Company retired but still felt the need to challenge herself and change the world. In fact, learning key skills from previous employments gave her more confidence and understanding to how to run her own company. She also never saw it as ‘retiring’ but more as the next stage of her life. Stuart Kerr from Business Doctors also had a similar outlook. He mentioned that no one actually ‘just retires’ and does nothing. Feeling like you are still progressing in life is still a vitally important cog to your psyche, no matter what your age.
During an average person’s life cycle, the likelihood of having or being around children, buying property, working in various working roles all accumulates life experience and responsibility. You take away the level of responsibility once someone has retired, and it highlights a growing need within humans to have that accountability again, to feel that need to achieve and grow. Aviva’s study in my view that entrepreneurialism is inside all of us and it can come out at any stage of our life. Age is just a number. Being involved in making your own decisions, building a solution to a problem no matter how small, is the key to living a life that is not only promotes contentment, but happiness and fulfillment. If that isn’t entrepreneurial, then I am not sure what is.
If you want to see more case studies of those who have set up their own businesses in retirement read more here: http://www.aviva.co.uk/retirement/news-views/report/starting-a-business-after-60/