Figure out what you love to do and monetize it, Ann O’Meara told a room of entrepreneurs looking for advice on starting their second act after retirement.
Seniorpreneurs — entrepreneurs over the age of 50 — are working to turn their lifelong hobbies into cash flow, O’Meara, CEO of Fantastic 55, revealed during a Global Entrepreneurship Week conversation organized by her company.
Growing rapidly, the seniorpreneur space has been born of nationwide innovation in science and technology, she said, asserting that 55 percent of entrepreneurs are between the ages of 55 and 64.
Energized by such data, the entrepreneur was inspired to found Fantastic 55 — a BetaBlox accelerated company that promotes innovation, inspiration, and celebration among senior entrepreneurs who are living longer and looking for constructive ways to spend their free time.
“[At 55] we still have one-third of our lives to live,” she told a packed room. “That’s a really long time!”
Often set up for success because of experience, savings, and know-how; seniorpreneurs can do anything they set their minds to in today’s world, O’Meara said.
“We’re digitally connected — we’re no longer just going into our houses by ourselves and not staying involved [in the outside world after retirement],” she said citing research that revealed one in three small businesses in America, is run by someone over 50. “Everyone is seeking a purposeful life.”
Leading the charge, women are among the most active pursuers of entrepreneurial purpose, O’Meara said.
“We persevere — and we may be a little bit tenacious,” she said laughing, noting that 45 percent of entrepreneurs are women — 25 percent of whom are older than 50.
Women are becoming entrepreneurial leaders, because of life experience, O’Meara added.
Crossing the over-50 threshold positions women to take back control of their lives, pursue passions they’d put on hold, and use knowledge gained in corporate work environments and running households to create success in business, she noted.
“Women entrepreneurs, we rock!” O’Meara added.
Despite 80 percent of senior-run businesses succeeding –– with people older than 50 holding 80 percent of the world’s wealth, according to an MIT age lab study by Dr. Joseph Coughlin –– there are still lessons to learn, added Janet Elie, a mentor of O’Meara’s and founder of Launch 4 Life.
“The [seniorpreneurs] that are successful are open and receptive to change,” Elie said at the GEW event. “Don’t shut yourself off, because if you do you might as well quit.”
A key component in receiving change, includes embracing millennials as allies, Elie further suggested.
“[Seniorprenuers] don’t know everything. We’re willing to admit we don’t know everything and there’s power in that.”