“You must be in business for yourself, you’ll never get rich working for someone else.” – J. Paul Getty in his book titled “How To Get Rich“
Examples abound to show that many business startups fail NOT because of the owner’s lack of “technical know-how” about his/her chosen venture, but quite often because of their lack of insight into many not-so-obvious dynamics that come to play in the life of a business startup, with potentially fatal implications, if not well managed.
This article alerts the veteran employee(or career person) to the need to take EARLY proactive action towards preparing for life AFTER paid employment, suggesting that s/he seriously consider starting up a business BEFORE s/he becomes due for retirement.
The Current Situation
Too often we have seen many people spend a significantly disproportionate period of their lives working single mindedly for their employers. Then one day, they come to the shocking realisation that they have to leave the company having arrived at the prescribed maximum age limit.
Many find themselves confused, not knowing where to start from – even though they leave the company with substantial monetary and other retirement benefits. They are unable to come up with viable business ideas they are sure guarantee sustainable results.
Incidentally, the pre-retirement courses many prospective retirees are made to attend just before they leave their companies often stop short of giving them practical exposure to the real-life business opportunities and challenges they are destined to face.
One could say this should not present much of a problem, as it should not be unreasonable to expect such retirees to find people who can help them decide what to do i.e. where to invest their hard earned retirement benefits etc. The sad reality is that many of the retirees stand the risk of being “taken to the cleaners” by unscrupulous individuals who might decide to exploit the latters’ lack of know-how in the areas of business they settle for.
In addition there is – in Nigeria – a frustrating dearth of information, learning resources and facilities to assist retirees in preparing themselves to enter into the “real world”. As a result, they tend to venture into businesses of all sorts – some of which are actually lucrative – without adequate preparation. The stress/pain resulting from the trial and error approach they are forced to adopt ultimately takes its toll on them, leading to frustration.
The Alternative Proposed
The above makes it quite obvious that a glaring need exists for prospective retirees to better prepare themselves to startup and run their own businesses when they re-enter the real world. It has been said that retirement becomes a burden when people are not psychologically prepared for it.
What we see in our society daily confirms that this foregoing statement is indeed true for very many people. What is therefore needed is an alternative that will henceforth save prospective retirees the unnecessary pain and frustration that many before now have had to go through.
Be Careful – What You Bring From Paid Employment Will Not FULLY Prepare You
Let me tell you this. No matter how many years of workplace experience you have acquired in paid employment. No matter how many board meetings you have chaired. Nothing and I do mean NOTHING can possibly FULLY prepare you for the very hard knocks you WILL get when you eventually leave the security of paid employment to attempt earning a living running your own business.
Nothing they teach in MBA school prepares you to deal with the unpredictability of the real-world. No one can teach you HOW TO persevere in the face of repeat marketplace rejection and daunting obstacles that “appear to” conspire to stop you from making a success of your new life.
Starting up YOUR first business after being in paid employment in my experience is like becoming a day-old baby and learning to crawl, then learning to walk and finally learning to run ALL OVER again. The difference is that the child often will only take some months to a year or so to do all that .
In your case, chances are (going by my experiences – and the opinions of veteran entrepreneurs like Robert Kiyosaki, James Cook, Michael Masterson and others) that it is likely to take you at least five(5) years to get your business fully off the ground.
And THAT is why I honestly believe you would be VERY wise to start THAT business that you will fall back on post-retirement TODAY, NOW, if you know you want to be financially secure in your old age.
Take this advice from someone who once enjoyed a successful career in paid employment and subsequently chose to quit while still VERY far from retirement age(i.e. 31 years) to pursue a long standing dream of venturing into business.
That person was me. And I believe that if it could have been as tough as it turned out to be for me, in spite of my relative youth and energy, ANYONE who retires after attaining the cut-off maximum age is likely to find it EVEN more difficult to endure the challenges needed to achieve business success.