(Expansion) – The success achieved by entrepreneurs, who started their companies when they were not yet 30 years old, has for some time become an aspirational model for many young people in the world who want to start a business and make it grow to be part of those successful entrepreneurs.
Men like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Larry Page or Michael Dell, with companies of more than 1,000 million dollars, began their business careers between the ages of 20 and 25. However, not everything was easy for them and, after all, they are an exception.
According to Ali Tamaseb in his book “Super Founders: What Data Reveals About Billion-Dollar Startups,” in which he lays out what makes the difference between billion-dollar startups from the rest, “ The average age of the founders of multimillion-dollar companies is thirty-four years .” In his investigations, Tamaseb found that unicorn founders aged 34 and over had created another company before their $1 billion business, meaning they have an entrepreneurial past of at least 10 years.
For its part, a 2018 research conducted at Harvard found that the average age at which a successful founder starts his company is 45 years. That’s ” in the top 0.1% of startups based on growth in their first five years .” This means that those who reached the age of 34 with a successful venture had already had one or several failures before achieving their goal. Another recent study revealed that the majority of successful entrepreneurs are not exactly young, and that the median age at one of every 1,000 fastest-growing startups is 45 years old.
So while conventional thinking tends to paint the younger generation as exceptionally creative innovators and great thinkers, it appears that older generations are more likely to possess traits that facilitate entrepreneurial success.
Overall, research reveals that the highest rates of entrepreneurial success come from middle-aged and older founders, implying that the older people accumulate skills, resources, and experience.
On the other hand, they also show that younger entrepreneurs seem to have a strong disadvantage in their tendency to produce the fastest growing companies. Under 25s they seem to do poorly although there is a strong increase in performance at that age. Between the ages of 25 and 35, performance seems fairly flat, but from the age of 35 there is an increase in the chances of success, surpassing those of 25 years. Another big increase in performance occurs at age 46 and continues into age 60.
The findings about age and success also imply that young entrepreneurs should not fall into the trap of seeking to match the success stories of young outliers: the Zuckerbergs, Musks, and Gates of the world. According to data from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 20% of small businesses fail within the first year, 30% of businesses will have failed by the end of the second year, and approximately half will fail by the end of the fifth. year.
In general, man fears failure because it is immediately associated with “pain”, with “weakness” and/or with “defeat”. However, accepting failure and failing along the way is something that we must recognize and accept, in order to obtain the best learning. Failure is the best way to learn. Thomas Alba Edison said: “ I have not failed, I have simply found 10,000 ways that do not work ”; that is, who fails the most, receives more learning. Learn to recognize what works and what definitely doesn’t help.
Each failure is a simple sign that something is not working and that some changes need to be made to achieve what you are looking for; Weaknesses, obstacles, or limitations that prevent progress are found, after which it can be determined what needs to be changed or improved.
The advantage of having failures makes you humble. An entrepreneur who has never experienced failure tends to be arrogant, which can fuel the false belief that you are infallible and expose you to devastating mistakes in the future.
Beginnings are always difficult, that is a fact that all entrepreneurs should know. However, the difficulties that arise at the beginning should not discourage you, because even the most successful entrepreneurs have had their previous failures.
Your ability to overcome failure where others give up will lead you down the path of success. Failure can hurt, but you should see it as a positive experience. We must fail and fail often, because by doing so, we also open ourselves to opportunities for success.
Editor’s note: Pedro López Sela is Team Principal of ExO Builder, the most diverse global ecosystem of technological entrepreneurship in the world. He has co-founded 10+ companies and trained 5,000+ people in almost all sectors in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. He is a globally recognized innovation, business, and entrepreneurship author. As an international speaker, he has shared stages with Peter Diamandis, Bob Dorf, Salim Ismail, Jeff Hoffman, to name a few. Follow him on and on . The opinions in this column belong exclusively to the author.