Archive for the 'Q&A' Category

Are you cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Vince writes:

I’ve got a few ideas for an internet startup but a few VCs I’ve talked to basically laughed when I mentioned I wanted seed capital to start a business at my age.  One other person told me being over 45 was a negative indicator for eventual success. The closer to 60 you are forget it.  If you are young < 30 you have a  much
better chance.

So …here I am wondering what opportunity will come along for me (and many other software developers that I could help employ), or should I keep swimming out to meet yet another opportunity hoping I don’t drown in shark infested waters as my idea goes elsewhere and I’m left without a life raft (humor) after I submit an idea.

Vince,

Entrepreneurs can be any age. Don’t believe the myth that young people make the best founders.    Adeo Ressi combats ageism in Is There A Peak Age for Entrepreneurship?  I know a few Dallas entrepreneurs who are in their 60s. So don’t be discouraged because …

Investors are lemmings.   Some do follow what’s hot and want the hip 20 something.  Really, as a founder, why would you chase such shallow money? Many investors, like BAE, evaluate companies irrespective of age. Founder and team experience are a big plus.  We see past the hype of concept ventures that are hot air.  But if you’re concerned about this …

Accept God.  Our God. You must accept the Church of Infinite Rejection as your true savior.  You WILL be turned down and receive grief  for thousands of  reasons on a daily basis from everyone in your life – loved ones, investors, partners, staff, volunteers, service providers.  But frankly this is jumping the gun because at this point …

You are not  an entrepreneur.  Everyone has ideas.  It’s the execution that counts.  You have barely started.  Being an entrepreneur is a long, hard, painful path.  If you truly believe in your mission, you do it because you’re driven.  It’s in your DNA.  You invest the time.  You find solutions.  You adapt.

Now there are incubators that will provide seed funding on concept.  But enrollment is very competitive.  Assuming it’s not a fit or you can’t get in …

You survive.  You don’t pay yourself or your partners or team members.  If you have hard costs, seed capital comes from your savings, credit cards, other personal assets and debts, family, friends, and crowdsourcing.

If you’re just at the idea stage, you have far to go to be ready for an accelerator like BAE, angels, or VCs.  You’ve got to refine your business model, find customer pain, acquire partners, demonstrate market need and demand, create value, start a prototype, build your business plan, and show your sweat investment.  Try my BlueEntrepreneurs.com Resource Guide for helpful links.

Now young kids often are more successful at getting to this point because they have no obligations.  It’s easier for them to make the sacrifice and survive while they build the business.  They don’t have to have a full-time job, support others, or make house, car, or insurance payments.  They can live at home with mom and dad or with other starving entrepreneurs.

Vince, if you truly believe, just do it.  Anyone can at any age.

Good luck!

Marc


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