One of the Steve Jobs stories circulating in the wake of the legendary Apple founder's death is the line he used to convince
Jobs embodied the spirit of creative entrepreneurship -- and the Apple story began when he was in his early 20s, in a
But a growing share of start-ups are coming from older entrepreneurs these days -- and many of them want to change world, too.
Entrepreneurs age 55 to 64 represent a rising share of start-up activity, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, accounting for 23 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2010, up from 14.5 percent in 1996.
And a new study reveals that 25 million Americans age 44 to 70 hope to start businesses or nonprofit ventures in the next five to 10 years. More than 12 million of the aspiring entrepreneurs (48 percent) want to be "encore entrepreneurs"--a phrase coined by
This year's award winners include a
Another Purpose Prize winner this year is a 71-year-old entrepreneur who took on the daunting challenge of trying to restore the economy of
Charlton built TechTown by raising
Charlton recently transitioned to a new role heading up a program focused specifically on helping
When I asked Charlton for his top tips to would-be 50-plus entrepreneurs, he walked me through a seven-point plan of advice based on his own numerous and colorful life experiences:
Get fit and keep fit.
Running a business requires physical and mental fitness.
Focus on skill sets.
Think about finding work tied to your actual strengths, rather than your former title.
Plan an exit as you enter.
If you are partnering with others, think about how you can set up your business so that you have a "pre-nup" that allows you after a few years to pass the business along, and therefore get some value out of it.
Stabilizing your personal expenses is one way to do this. Charlton says he was "ruthless when setting up my own business at age 60. I had no credit card debt, rented a small apartment and then built a small house later on, when I could afford it. I still drive a 10-year-old car. I made sure that if the business went south I wouldn't be left with a lot of personal debt."
Leverage everything and anyone who offers help.
"Universities, economic development agencies, states and cities have an incredible number of services that they want to offer to small businesses to help create jobs," he says. "The challenge is identifying them."
Network, network, network.
"Forget resumes. If you send out enough resumes you will need anti-depressants quickly. Most jobs are obtained by knowing people who know people."
Get in the game.
"Don't stand on the outside waiting for a plum job to come along. Volunteer or work as an intern."
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