The boss by 30? Most young adults think age 28 is the best time to start a business

NEW YORK — If you’re thinking of starting your own business, you should do so before your 30th birthday. A new survey of more than 25,000 respondents (ages 18–40) across 35 countries finds that 28-years-old is the “easiest age” to start a new business.

This youth movement does have some drawbacks. For respondents looking to start their own company, 51 percent worry people won’t take them seriously because of their younger age — but they also see their youth as a positive. Six in 10 (61%) say being younger means being better at adapting to new technology than older generations. Another 43 percent think they’re more likely to have fresh, unexplored ideas.

Commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also reveals 29 percent of those who want to open a business said they’re “less afraid to fail” than previous generations. Nearly three in four respondents (74%) have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, with 16 percent of those saying they already own a business.

(Me)et the new boss

Entrepreneurship Young adultsOf those considering entrepreneurship, “becoming my own boss” ranks as the top motivating factor (48%), followed by the ability to follow their passion (44%).

More than three in 10 respondents said they’re looking to support their families (37%) or want more flexibility in their job (32%). Results also show 31 percent of young adults view entrepreneurship as the opportunity for a career change and 26 percent see it as an opportunity to supplement their income. Many respondents note their jobs had to reduce their hours as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

For those who have been employed previously, who are now interested in entrepreneurship, 60 percent said one of the reasons is because they’re tired of being told “no” by older employees and managers. The same number didn’t feel like their ideas were taken into account in previous roles.

“If working with entrepreneurs over the past 41 years has taught us anything, it’s that regardless of your age, the difference between success and failure is often good business fundamentals, the willingness to learn, adapt and work hard, and a passion for your work,” says John DeSimone, president of Herbalife Nutrition, in a statement. “There’s no time like the present.”

Experience is still a requirement for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship Young adultsThe sheer desire for entrepreneurship doesn’t mean respondents are jumping into it head-first. In fact, the average respondent believes someone should have five-and-a-half years of experience before starting their own business. Americans tend to be a bit more cautious, waiting an extra year-and-a-half before recommending someone start their own business (about seven years of experience in total).

Additionally, many expect to face challenges in reaching these dreams along the way. Top challenges that global entrepreneurs faced included earning enough to offset costs (35%), adapting to the pandemic (35%), and making sales or attracting customers (35%). Results also show that 63 percent of young adults believe their generation faces unique challenges when starting a business, compared to older generations.

“As young entrepreneurs learn how to manage the daily rigors of starting their own business, it’s imperative to surround themselves with a supportive community including mentors and those who will continuously push them to the next level,” DeSimone adds.

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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