According to the Kauffman Foundation, people ages 55 to 64 consistently start more new businesses than those in any other age group, and this has been true for about a decade. We also know from this foundation that people over 55 are the most likely to be successful with their business startups, as I’ve mentioned before. The Sloan Center on Aging & Work estimates that about 38 percent of small business owners (including solo companies) are 60 or older.
Even more interesting is that in a recent Civic Ventures survey of 45- to 70-year-olds, about 25 percent indicated an interest in being entrepreneurs, and more than half of them wanted their venture to address a social issue.
In other words, as I’ve said before, the future of work is a future that works for all of us.
Parents of young children and 70-year-olds alike can find work or create businesses that are flexible in hours and location, among myriad other factors, to work with their realities and their desire to focus on what matters most. Organizations are already recognizing the need to customize the work world for every employee as well as the customer, because if they don’t, their employees will do it themselves, especially in midlife and beyond. These companies will not only lose the experience and wisdom of their post-50 staff, they are likely to lose money to many of them as former employees become entrepreneurial competition.
We are already creating a world where we can work how we want, when we want, and most important, why we want. Not only are more and more people starting businesses that make money and a difference in the world, more and more consumers are choosing to patronize these businesses over those that don’t combine profit with purpose.
The future belongs to visionaries, those who see where what matters most to them intersects with what the world needs. And this means that the future belongs to all of us, for we all have a visionary within, and we all will benefit from the Visionary Era we are creating.
Photograph by Tina Lawson