Why experience may be your secret weapon when starting a new business

Gemma Williams has some advice for anyone considering going it alone and becoming self employed.

Older man walking to work in London


For many around the UK, the ordinary living wage simply is not enough any more. With rises in groceries, petrol, insurance, interest rates and pretty much everything in between, it makes a lot of sense that people around the country are beginning to consider career changes. 

In fact, in 2023, an estimated 900,000 businesses were launched in the UK, ranging from side hustles making small bonus incomes all the way to people switching up their entire career and working for themselves on a full-time basis. 

Becoming your own boss   

Becoming your own boss and managing your own time is something that appeals to pretty much all of us, but is it a realistic option for older entrepreneurs? 

Thankfully, in this modern world, it’s never too late, even if you’ve been told you’re too old to be starting a business at 50. 

There are some incredible options out there for creating beautiful websites with ease, selling products online, shipping internationally or offering services that you think would be a great money maker; all of which are superb ways to support your new business and reach as many people as possible. 

Do I have the right skills?

As someone who has been working hard for their entire adult life, there is a very small chance that you are skill-less, although many people may feel that way. 

The chances are, if you are even considering starting a business or already trying to become your own boss, then you’ve already found your niche or had an idea that would warrant becoming self-employed; the only thing stopping you at this point could be yourself. 

Whatever your skill set, and no matter your background, you’ll have developed some skills somewhere along the line that could be incredibly useful to some. 

How do I start?

Before you jump in head first, there are a few things to consider that will help to refine your idea and get you on the road to success: 

  • Understand your competition: Even if your niche is totally unoccupied, it is always worth doing your research and trying to learn from your competition. Every day is a school day, and you can learn plenty even from businesses you consider worse than your own. 
  • Work out your costs: Nothing comes for free in this world, so make sure you have a good understanding of your costs; will you need staff? A workspace? Equipment? And don’t forget your overheads!
  • Take advantage of technology: Simple tools can do wonders in helping to streamline your business and improve efficiency. For example, a mobile card reader to take payments on the go, a CRM system that tracks your sales and an online shipping solution to help with order fulfillment. A little tech can go a long way in making your dream business a reality!
  • Don’t underestimate the power of social media: More often than not, it seems like social media is a bad thing, but for your small business, it could be the difference between success and failure. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from those around you, eventually it will become second nature.  
  • Get help with design and marketing: A great idea or product can come across as cheap, fake, or undesirable when given the wrong branding and marketing. There are creative professionals who will help your business grow and it’s worth the money. We can’t all be creative geniuses, and that’s okay!  
  • Be realistic: Even if your idea is the best anyone has ever had, the chances of making money right away are slim. Don’t expect to make the big bucks right away, you’ll likely have to build up to it. 

Starting a business as an older entrepreneur

Don’t let anything hold you back from becoming your own boss, least of all your age. In the modern world, experience counts for more than pretty much anything, so those with more years of work under their belts stand a much better chance of success. 

Use your wealth of knowledge and start your own business, get your idea out there, help to fill a hole in the market, offer a service to those who need it and do it all with the confidence that you are the right person for the job.  

*Gemma Williams actively contributes to conversations about career development, workplace culture and the future of work. She is dedicated to creating resources and platforms that provide meaningful connections and support career growth. After gaining experience in various HR roles, she now turns her focus toward growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts in the industry.  Follow her @GemmaWilliamsHR or take a look at her website: https://startupcareers.co.uk/.

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