Roger Cowdrey - International Business Consultant. Writer & Motivational Speaker
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Is there an ideal age to be an entrepreneur?

I have listened to many arguments about the right time to be an entrepreneur. The traditionalists will argue that you should complete your academic studies before considering entrepreneurial activities. Others subscribe to the belief that an entrepreneurial outlook is the prerogative of the young.

All of these people ignore the fact that an entrepreneurial approach is not something that you can turn on or off; entrepreneurial behaviour is a way of life. Equally, they seem to relate entrepreneurs with running businesses and often simply high tech businesses.

As far as the concept that one should complete academic studies before becoming an entrepreneur, there are two misconceptions. The first is that completing a degree or other academic qualification will automatically provide a safety net and secondly that entrepreneurship requires one to take calculated risks.

Interestingly enough, neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates completed their academic studies and yet they do not seem to have suffered for it! For that matter, many of the fastest growing companies do not have owners with degrees.

As far as the concept of entrepreneurship being tied to running a business is concerned, this too is a myth. Increasingly, in today's fast changing world, there is a real need for an entrepreneurial spirit amongst employees in order that all businesses can continue to survive and succeed. 

The third myth is that entrepreneurship is for the young. I find that increasingly it is the older generation that shows the entrepreneurial spirit in their actions whilst the young become more and more conservative in their approach. I am not surprised at this given the way we bring our children up today in a risk averse environment.

When I was younger then it was true that the young went off to explore the world. Today, in Antalya where I live, it is the older generation that have sold up everything from their homeland and have set out to build a new life from scratch. And this is not about retiring couples; these are often women on their own and people that want to continue working and contributing but are rejected by age in their own countries.

I have only occasionally run my own business or been self employed, but I believe that I have 67 years of entrepreneurship behind me. Some of this was about choices made as a young person, some of it was about the way I approached employment in large organisations and much of it is still about the way I approach my life today and in the future.

My life has no blueprint, but it has always had dreams, possibilities and a willingness to spot opportunities and take them when presented to me. People often accuse me of being lucky, but I believe that I acted where others watched. 

Entrepreneurship is not an easy path and it is certainly not risk free. However, as someone once said to me, ;the harder I work at it the luckier I get'!

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