Recently Gary Vaynerchuk posted a Youtube video 50 Second Plea to Every 50 Year Old Out there
He reminds us that 50 is NOT Old and it’s NOT over!
Hey Gary – were you speaking to me?! If so, then I’m living the dream – starting a business at 50. It’s a gut-wrenching, teeth-clenching dream, but somehow, it’s still worth it.
To be accurate and fair to this story, I was 48 when I had the idea to launch a specialty food company built around gourmet dates; and I was 49 by the time I had completed exhaustive research and set the framework to launch Duzu Dates. But I did turn the big FIVE-OH OH during my first year. That happened three days after I completed the TCS New York City Marathon. Who would have thought that running 26.2 miles would seem easy compared to running a start-up?!
I often say, if I knew then what I know now, I’m not sure I would have started. But once you’ve started the ball rolling, there’s almost no turning back.
Let’s be clear: It’s hard. And age has nothing to do with it. I’ll explain why it’s hard in my LIST OF WHY IT’S HARD.
Have you ever said to yourself – “I wish I did that when I was younger? “ I wish I kept our first home and rented it out. I wish I bought shares in Apple. I wish I had started eating better sooner. I wish I had…”
Well – guess what? You didn’t! And neither did I. All we have is now. I don’t want to wake up ten years from now, and say “I wish I had started my business when I was 50 and had the chance.” It doesn’t matter if you’re going to finish that sentence differently.
Here’s a list of WHY IT’S HARD:
1) You will do jobs that in any other situation you would likely not do. Jobs that are tedious, or beyond your capabilities, you wish you didn’t have to do, and you really don’t want to do. But when you look around – you’re it. There is no team, just you, so you GET IT DONE. YOU will do EVERY THING that needs to be done to move your business forward. I am involved in every detail from folding boxes to pitting dates. I try to document the journey.
2) You HAVE to find answers. It’s your business, so it is up to you to figure it out. Not tomorrow. Today. Any problem-solving tools you have in your toolbox will be used, and you will need to find more tools as more questions than you ever thought possible can and will arise.
3) There is more that you do NOT know that you DO know. If you don’t realize this, don’t even think about starting.
4) You will be consistently reminded of all your “back-up options” should you not succeed. These will come from the most well-meaning friends,, and it will start with your own inner voice. It can take on a life of its own, but you will have to squash those thoughts and be the one to shake the doubts. You have to shut the negative voices off and remind yourself that “this WILL succeed because I’m going to make it happen.”
5) You will need more courage than brains.
6) You will feel more pain than pleasure.
7) You will watch your friends go on amazing trips and enjoy time with their families while you’re focused on the business. And you MUST be ok with that.
Now – here’s a list of WHY YOU WANT TO tackle the first list:
1) You ARE young. You have tons of energy, and 50 is NOT too late. Imagine, we are living longer, and if you really wish you’d done something 20 years ago because of where you’d be today, then imagine what you can do with the next 20 – and you have 20 more years of knowledge and experience to draw upon. This time – it should move quicker!
2) You don’t have to ask anyone for vacation time. No one is tabulating how many days you have to be free.
YOU ARE IN CONTROL!
3) Revert to #2. You are in control of your life. There is a freedom in that which extends well beyond 20 or even 25 vacation days per year.
4) You will feel more tired, more anxious, more exhilarated, more alive than you have ever felt before. Did you miss the point? You will FEEL alive and exhilarated in a way you’ve never felt before.
5) You are free. You get to choose what you tackle in your day. But then you will go back to the first list and know you will work your ass off; every day, and yet, it still feels more free than having to ask to take a day off.
6) And the most compelling reason yet – Your friends, neighbours, strangers, and family will AMAZE you. You will never experience how supportive your growing network is until you tackle the impossible. They will make it possible. FOR YOU.
Notice the reasons WHY you might want to start is shorter than the list of Why it’s Hard. This is not an accident. There are more reasons not to launch and to stay with the status quo than there are to start. But the second list is more compelling.
If neither list is for you, then it is good for you to know that and keep doing what you’re doing. No more “I wish I had…”; no regrets. I invite you to enjoy a date with pure happiness and share Duzu Dates with friends and family!