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Older-preneurialship – the new start-up generation.

Workplace
Author since:
October, 2015
86 blog posts

The new start-up generation is older, wiser and comes with a wealth of knowledge and experience.  It is reported that any of us starting a business aged between 45 and 60 are 53% more likely to succeed than someone younger.

Did you know?

Raymond Kroc founder of McDonalds was 52 when he started the company

John Pemberton founder of Coca Cola was 55 when he formed the company

Colonel Saunders founder of KFC was 65 when he started the company

Start-up Statistics

There were 4.8m self-employed people in the UK at the end of 2016 according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) information –  up from 3.8m in 2008. This is 15.1% of the total workforce.  The ONS states that the increase is driven by  people as a start-up  individual or with a business partner rather than employing other people.  In the North West self-employed people made up 11.9% of the total work force.  Studying this information, you will see that people aged over 50 account for 43 % of those who start-up their own business.

Many of us  will live longer than the generation before.    We either  need or want to stay in employment longer.  Staying engaged with life, to many people means staying in employment.

Age discrimination in the workplace

Whether we like it or not , there is a fair amount of age discrimination in the workplace.  If you are mid-thirties and responsible for recruitment you can  think someone of 55 is ancient.  You may also feel that you want someone who you think is on the up curve of their career.  At your age you don’t expect someone who is over 50 to fit that criteria.  At 50  we still have at least another 20 plus years to give to a career, so this is obviously a very wrong assumption.

Well documented is that many of us in industries such as finance, HR and retail feel that we are overlooked after 50.  If we are made redundant we find it hard to get a position of a similar level.  This happened to John Lithgow who was a senior adviser with one for the UK’s top banks.  Based out of a Regional office in Manchester  at 58 he was made redundant, finding himself as he says “unemployable”.

“I could not secure even an interview for the jobs I was interested in…”

“It was not much of a shock when I was made redundant at 58, I felt that I had kept my position longer than many others. With all the changes in banking nobody at any age was safe.  What did come as a shock was how impossible it was to even secure an interview for the type  of jobs I wanted to do.    I still had lots of energy and enthusiasm for my career.  I didn’t feel ready to take a step or several steps back form the positions  I  had held in the past.  After about a year of trying to get work, I knew that for my own mental state I had to take a different direction.  I sat down with a note pad and a list of contacts and looked to start-up my  self-employed life as a  business adviser.  My start-up story started 8 years ago.  At 67 I am still working hard, loving life and loving working for myself “.

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New found freedom and wealth helps start-up figures

For these same reasons many over 50’s are using their vast amount of experience, energy and new-found freedom from looking after children to start-up a business.  We are being overlooked by many companies.  Companies are too short-sighted to see the advantages of employing someone in a top position with this amount of experience and commitment.

The change in pension rules have also made it possible to access retirement funds from the age of 55.  This means some of us can access valuable lump sums.  We can even borrow against the value of a pension to fund a new venture.  Others have started businesses with redundancy payments.  This is also the age when inheritances may give the opportunity to use this cash to start a business.  Having cash can also lead to franchise opportunities and buying into a ready-made business to operate in your area.

Julie Potter is a prime example of this.

“Pitching myself against a 30 year old was exhausting”

“I had worked in the Hotel industry for 35 years and found my experience and pace counted for little against a 30-year-old when I was going for interviews.  It is often said that the Hotel industry is a “Young Man’s Game”.   I  felt I had lots to offer but it became exhausting trying to pitch myself against a bright young thing.  At 51, when I was made redundant I was totally jaded by the whole experience.  I still had a lot of working life to go and needed to earn a reasonable salary to maintain the life style I had achieved.  Going to a franchise exhibition set me on the track to owning my own frozen food franchise and shop.  It has been very hard and a little scary at times.  The benefit of a franchise for me was having the Head Office support which was invaluable.  It is not in the franchisers interest for you not to succeed and they did everything to make sure I achieved the success I now have”

Support is available to start-up a business

One of the areas that may hold us back from going it alone is confidence.  There is plenty of support both financially and in training, out there to make sure the transition is smooth.  Particularly in Greater Manchester  were the Business Growth Hub is based.   They are on the ball in picking up anyone who is looking to start a business and guiding you through the funding options and free training available to fill the skills gaps they may have.

Another thing that can make people wary is that they really don’t want to feel isolated and crave the community they had at work.  Loneliness is the worst part for many start ups.  Marion Stuart was one of these people.

“I went from a busy office to being a freelance Executive PA and thought it would be great as I would have clients to talk to.  After about 6 months I had only a few clients and once they had given me their work – mostly via emails. I had little communication with anyone other than the cat.  This is when I was introduced to a shared office space.  I looked around at what was on offer.  It scared me away very quickly as I was intimidated by how young everyone was – I am 53.  A friend then took me to The Clubhouse in London and although it had a cost it worked so well for me.  I felt comfortable, looked after, and mixed with people of my  level of experience.  I also managed to pick up a lot of clients.  It is amazing how people in the same position as me  starting it alone needed my services to keep their business in order.”

New generation of coworking space – designed with you in mind

Look around your area at what is available, there really is a new generation of coworking.  It is not all pool tables and beer taps and is aimed at an executive level co-worker.  Here at Workplace in Manchester the service and standard of venue is at an executive level and there is always a friendly ear to help and support.  You can chat around the coffee machine which you didn’t think you would miss, but that you realise is part of the energy of work.

If you are looking at starting your own business, there are many resources out there to help and support.  It is surprising  the skills that we have that can be turned in to a profitable business  From PA services, bookkeeping, legal services, recruitment to business consultancy, sales, financing, pensions, travel agent, cake baking, it is all out there for the taking.

Want to come and see what all the talk is about? Try Workplace for a day.  Click Here to secure a free day pass.

Up Next

Coworking - just a buzzword?

Workplace
Author since:
October, 2015
86 blog posts

coworking space, also known as a shared work space or proworking, is home to a style of work that involves sharing everything office space related with other people and the costs. When you walk in to one of these spaces you will find people working together on the same desk space but not from the same company. They work side by side on hot desks, reserved desks, or in private offices. Everyone shares the same facilities and has the opportunity to tap in to reception and hosting services, break-out spaces, and coffee areas.  Many of these spaces organise networking events, social events, and support.

 

So why doesn’t everyone join a coworking space?  Although it does have many benefits, coworking is for the many but not for the few. If it is the type of work place for you, it could truly be a lifeline. Coworking is for those who enjoy action, creativity, and an overall lively work venue. Another advantage of coworking — it has adapted to suit solo-preneurs, freelancers, SMEs, and even large corporates!  The types of people you may meet are varied and that is one of the many things that entice people to a coworking space.

 

Many companies in their very early stages benefit from working in a coworking space. They have a community of great resources surrounding them. Not to mention that other co-workers are likely on a similar journey. Corporates with smaller teams spread through the country or the world like coworking spaces for the shared amenities and additional activities that promote well-being. Additionally, most coworking spaces come with a host, someone who runs the space and facilitates introductions with other co-workers. In a nutshell, coworking is great for those eager to immerse themselves in a vibrant community to expand both their personal and professional networks.

 

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?

Community

One of the main reasons people choose coworking rather than working from home or a coffee shop is the interaction with other human beings it provides. Within a communal workspace, there are many opportunities to reach out and network with the great minds surrounding you. Working on your own or remotely can be lonely and coworking is certainly a cure for loneliness.

 

If there’s someone you’d like to meet or do business with, you can find them here and plan to make an introduction. If you need a developer, a content writer, or a graphic designer, they may be sitting just a couple desks down from you, and, often, they are more than willing to help!  And opposite to this they may also need your services and provide and income stream for you.  Take advantage of these opportunities sat right next to you.

Business Support

In addition to this the hosts and owners and people around you are a great resource for help. Be it how to use a programme on your computer, where to eat or how to sort out your VAT bill.  Another huge benefit of coworking is the different events that are offered to members. The frequency of events will vary from space to space. Having easy access to these support events is perfect for expanding your experience and network!

Although coworking does offer members a community, socialising isn’t compulsory. People are not forced into social situations. Rather, co-workers can choose when and how they would like to network with other people. If someone is in the mood to have a chat, for instance, they can easily do so in the kitchen or lounge area. On the other hand, if someone needs quiet, head-down time, they can work from a quiet space, away from other people. It’s all about what YOU want from the space.

 

Flexibility

Coworking offers users flexibility. Coworking, as a concept, was set up to understand that businesses may look very different every six months, particularly in their very early stages. That’s why most coworking spaces offer more flexible terms with short notice periods to allow you to move with the times.  For coworking it is often even more flexible with the option for month only terms or simple day use.

Many coworking spaces allow you to grow within the space. This means they will be there when your team grows larger or reduces by offering you space to fit your needs at this time.

Another way coworking offers users flexibility is through its various office types: hotdesking, reserved desks, and private offices. Private offices within coworking spaces vary in terms of how many people they can hold.  From single use offices upwards are often available if you need to be able to lock your own front door.  These still have all the added benefits of coworking spaces and come with one bill for everything.

 

Personality
Each coworking space you visit will come with its own individual personality.  There are spaces out there for everyone, if you are just out of university and want to carry on the common room feeling or if you are at the other end of the spectrum and are looking for something more established and executive.  There is something out there for everyone, it is just about finding the venue that sits well with your own personality.

 

Shared Facilities 
Starting up on your own and contracting to your own offices comes with a whole list of jobs.  Sorting out rates, telecoms, Wi-Fi, photocopier, toilet rolls, coffee and tea can be a huge task when you want to simply run your business.  Using shared spaces means that all of this is taken care of and at a fraction of the costs as it is split between many users.  Tapping in to this shared economy is beneficial not just on your pocket but on your head space as well.

 

Price
The cost of renting coworking spaces varies depending on the space and the product you’re looking for. Hot desks are the entry point and the least cost for unreserved space.   Once you start to need permanent space the costs can rise for reserved desks and then offices.  Also, costs vary depending on the style and level of service that you are looking for and often the location.

 

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Although coworking is considered a flexible workspace, joining one can still be a big commitment. You should be sure to take the proper precautions when deciding which space is right for you.  The biggest advice is to try before you buy, work from your first choice for a day or a few days to feel what it is like to work there. Here are the five general things to look out for when joining a coworking space: (1) Separation of spaces for quiet work, collaborative brainstorming, and meetings, (2) Coworking personality, (3) Workplace design, (4) Location, and (5) Flexibility to scale up/scale down.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Coworking (and not co-working) is a term that most people have now heard of… and for good reason. Gone are the days of dull offices and grey cubicles where the office was a place you wanted to get away from rather than go to. Coworking and flexible workspaces are here to stay.  They have encouraged most businesses both large and small to view the work place as giving an enjoyable experience and not just as a place to do your job.

Yes, it is definitely more than just a buzzword!

 

To come and try out Workplace book a free day here.

 

 

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