Entrepreneurship Is Not About Age

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There's nothing more important than hustle these days — unless, of course, it's youth. Whether it's the gig economy or climbing the corporate ladder or just forging your own path, there's a strong implication in work culture that your ability to succeed has a use-by date. If you don't invest early, you'll never reap rewards later, right? Actually, not at all.


Late bloomers all around should rejoice in this new research from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Entrepreneurship is not merely the province of the young; in fact, people who launch new businesses in their 50s tend to be as successful as people who do so in their 20s. The research even has gender implications: "Our findings suggest women should not give up too readily," says study author Hao Zhao, "because their chance of success increases as they move to later life stages, and their perseverance ultimately tends to pay off."

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This tracks nicely with earlier studies looking into the multiple peaks of creativity as we age. Some people are wired in ways that favor aggressive progress early in life, while others bear fruit after some time in the working world. This isn't to discount the challenges people face from a variety of angles — indeed, the Rensselaer research is slightly down on entrepreneurship during your 30s and 40s, due to potential caregiving duties with children and parents. But if your plans for your early working life have fallen through for whatever reason, don't get down on yourself and don't give up. That big break can still come your way no matter how many birthdays you've had.