From Retirement to Entrepreneurship

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Portland attorney Robert Harris

From Retirement to Entrepreneurship

By: Robert Harris
It used to be that retirement meant golf, hiking, card games and travel. But things have changed. People are healthier and live longer and are choosing to continue working past normal retirement age.

And, we’ve seen a recent trend of older entrepreneurs. People who had a long work career and qualify by age for retirement, but chose to start that business they’ve always dreamed about. Of course, some of these clients also decide to star t their own business because they’ve been unable to find work, or because their retirement proves inadequate for one reason or another.

Regardless of the reasons for starting a business, I find that many retiree/entrepreneurs have the type of characteristics and skills that definitely increase their likelihood of success. Here are some of the most important traits that younger clients just don’t or can’t possess.

Life experience: You just can’t “learn” life experience. Clients who have gone through a few recessions and seen three large stock market crashes (1986, 2001, 2008) understand that some things are out of your control. SO they have the wisdom of being prudent. What goes up can and will come down.

How to deal with people effectively: While some people are naturally better than others at dealing with people, the fact is the more different types of people you deal with the better you are at handling challenging situations. Experience counts. And being in business is largely about people skills. Dealing with suppliers, vendors, and clients. It can make a huge difference in the success of your business.

Humility: I won’t say that younger clients are necessarily less humble than more mature clients. I will say that maturity brings perspective and wisdom. The successes and failures of life lead to a certain perspective that the young and aggressive simply haven’t yet achieved. And perspective, not over reaching, being fair to other people knowing it can come back to bite you. Youth doesn’t always appreciate the value of those characteristics.

Diligence and hard work: Again I won’t say that maturity always means you’re a harder worker. I will say that if a retiree decides to become an entrepreneur and calls me, it probably indicates that person is most likely diligent, confident and responsible. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be calling my office. More likely they’d be scheduling tee times, or possibly resigning themselves to a more modest retirement than they had planned.

So, welcome all retiree/entrepreneurs. Call me; I’d love to work with you.

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