May 18, 2024

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Successfully Become An Entrepreneur In Your 50s

5 min read

Many people in their 50s embrace the idea of starting a business. People over the age of 55 make up 21% of the U.S. population. This demographic owns 50.9% of U.S. small businesses, according to survey data from 3,000 entrepreneurs published by SCORE.

The likelihood of entrepreneurial success increases with age. A 50-year-old founder is twice as likely as a 30-year-old to build a company that goes public or gets acquired. Karen Bonnici, founder and CEO of Moon Sonder Brands, exemplifies how experience helps with entrepreneurship.

In her 50s, Bonnici experienced the trifecta of all experiences: a divorce, bankruptcy and breast cancer. During all this, she found herself in the middle of creating the popular Super Blanky and Dreamighty wearable blankets. She expresses, “There’s certainly shame involved in it. You never imagine yourself in your middle age, where you should be financially thriving and putting away solidly for your retirement coming into that place. So there’s shame in it. But it’s also an opportunity to fix things.”

Embracing Entrepreneurship In Your 50s

Becoming an entrepreneur in your 50s comes with unique advantages and considerations. One of the key advantages of starting a business later in life is the wealth of life experience that older entrepreneurs bring to the table. Years of working in various industries, dealing with different challenges and building professional networks can provide valuable insights and skills that younger entrepreneurs may not have.

Bonnici began making superhero capes for her nieces and nephews. She thought it’d be interesting to make them out of a blanket—something they could wrap themselves in and believe in their superpowers. Quickly, the parents of her nieces and nephews’ friends started inquiring where they could purchase them.

Through feedback, Bonnici designed the capes with sleeves so the kids could pretend to fly without holding the blanket up with their hands. She researched and found that there weren’t products similar to her creation, so she applied for a patent. After being in business for a few years, she entered the licensing world, landing deals with Disney and Marvel. Her product also had shelf space in Target.

Then, the pandemic hit. During this time, she waited for her contract with Target to expire before designing more Super Blanky products. So, she focused on Dreamighty products for adults.

“I started to study how to do this,” she explains. “It took me about a year to figure out how to be in e-commerce, find factories, build this business and research whether or not it was a viable product. I was way down the pipeline with that by the time I was diagnosed. I guess there was nothing that was going to stop me, but the day before I went in for my surgery, my breast surgery, I placed my first order from a factory, and it was like, ‘This isn’t it. I gotta do this.’”

She invested the revenue back into the company and built her presence on Amazon. She scaled the company from $75,000 in sales to $725,000 to now a 7-figure idea.

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Identifying A Profitable Niche

Identifying a profitable niche is another important aspect of planning your entrepreneurial journey. This involves researching market trends, identifying gaps in the market, finding a niche that aligns with your passion and expertise, and looking for areas of growth or emerging markets that have the potential for success.

It is also important to consider your target audience and their needs. Who are you trying to serve with your business? What problems can you solve for them? By doing this, you’ll create a strong value proposition.

Building Your Business Framework

This involves crafting a business plan, understanding legal considerations, and setting up the necessary infrastructure for your business. Crafting a business plan is the first step in building your business framework. A business plan outlines your mission, vision, target market and strategies for growth.

A comprehensive business plan includes the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary: provides an overview of your business and its goals.
  2. Company Description: describe your business, its unique value proposition and the market you will serve.
  3. Market Analysis: analyze your target market, including competitors, industry trends and customer needs.
  4. Organization: outlines the structure of your business and introduces key team members.
  5. Products or services: describes the products or services you will offer, highlighting their features and benefits.
  6. Marketing and sales strategy: details your marketing and sales approach, including how you will reach your target audience and generate revenue.
  7. Financial projections: includes projected revenue, expenses and profitability for the next few years. This section is typically presented in the form of tables or graphs.
  8. Funding request (if applicable): outlines your funding needs and how you plan to use the funds.

Understanding legal considerations is another crucial aspect of building your business framework. This includes choosing the right legal structure for your business, such as a limited liability company (LLC), and obtaining any necessary certifications or licenses. It is important to consult with legal professionals to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

Marketing Strategies For The Older Entrepreneur

Digital marketing is a powerful tool for older entrepreneurs to reach their target audience and promote their businesses effectively. Here are some proven strategies for utilizing digital marketing effectively:

  1. Social media marketing: establish a presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Share engaging content, interact with your audience, and utilize targeted advertising options to reach specific demographics.
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): optimize your website and online content to rank higher in search engine results. Use relevant keywords, create high-quality content and build backlinks to improve your website’s visibility.
  3. Email marketing: Build an email list and send subscribers regular newsletters, promotions and updates. Personalize your emails and provide value to encourage engagement and conversions.
  4. Content marketing: Create valuable and informative content, such as blog posts, videos and infographics, that resonate with your target audience. Share this content on your website, social media platforms, and other relevant channels to establish yourself as an industry expert.

“Pivoting comes from these major life shifts,” Bonnici concludes. “I have to go in a different direction because of these things that have been thrown at me or these opportunities that have come my way that are challenging and hard. So, we want to offer a space and a conversation about that.”

Updated March 2024: SuperBlanky changed to Super Blanky


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