Young entrepreneurs fear their age hinders them from being taken seriously

New research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Herbalife Nutrition reveals young people who want to open a business say they’re “less afraid to fail” than other generations (Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash).

For those thinking about opening their own business, it’s time to take the plunge before you hit the big three-oh, according to new research.

The survey of more than 25,000 respondents (age 18–40) across 35 countries asked respondents what age they thought would be easiest to start a business and identified it to be at 28 years old.

For respondents interested in starting a business, 51% worry they won’t be taken seriously because of their age — but they also see their youth as a positive.

In fact, half of global entrepreneurial hopefuls said their age would help their chances of success.

When asked why, six in 10 (61%) said they’re better at adapting to new technology than other generations, and 43% said they’re more likely to have fresh, unexplored ideas.

Commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also found 29% of those who want to open a business said they’re “less afraid to fail” than other generations.

Seventy-four percent of respondents have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, with 16% of those saying they already own a business.

Of those interested in entrepreneurship, “becoming my own boss” was found to be the top motivating factor (48%), followed by the ability to follow their passion (44%).

For the 2,000 Americans who participated in the survey, those answers were the same, although in slightly lower percentages (38% and 35%, respectively).

More than three in 10 global respondents said they were looking to support their family (37%) or wanted more flexibility in their job (32%).

Results found 31% look toward entrepreneurship as the opportunity for a career change, while 26% were looking to supplement their income after their job hours were reduced — for many, likely a result of the ongoing pandemic.

For those who have been employed previously, who are now interested in entrepreneurship, 60% said one of the reasons was because they’re tired of being told “no” by older employees and managers.

The same number (60%) didn’t feel like their ideas were taken into account in previous roles.

“If working with entrepreneurs over the past 41 years has taught us anything, it’s that regardless of your age, the difference between success and failure is often good business fundamentals, the willingness to learn, adapt and work hard, and a passion for your work,” said John DeSimone, president of Herbalife Nutrition. “There’s no time like the present.”

But a desire for entrepreneurship doesn’t mean respondents are jumping into it: the average respondent said they believe someone should have five and a half years of experience before starting their own business.

Americans were a bit more cautious: they’d wait an extra year and a half before recommending someone start their own business (with about seven years of experience).

And many expect to face challenges along the way. Top challenges that global entrepreneurs faced included earning enough to offset costs (35%) adapting to the pandemic (35%) and making sales/getting customers (35%).

Results also found that 63% believe their generation faces unique challenges when starting a business, compared to older generations.

“As young entrepreneurs learn how to manage the daily rigors of starting their own business, it’s imperative to surround themselves with a supportive community including mentors and those who will continuously push them to the next level,” DeSimone added.

  1. Becoming their own boss 48%
  2. Following their passion 44%
  3. Supporting their family 37%
  4. Wanting more flexibility in their job 32%
  5. Wanting a career change 31%
  6. Finding ways to supplement income from reduced job hours 26%
  7. Having more spare time from reduced job hours 22%
  8. Solving a problem/improving the world 19%
  9. Unhappy in their current job 15%
  10. Tired of living at home with their parents/family 10%
  1. Better at adapting to new technology 61%
  2. More likely to embrace new technology 46%
  3. Have fresh, unexplored ideas 43%
  4. More resources are available now than for previous generations 35%
  5. Less afraid to fail 29%

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