4 Sweetspot Entrepreneur Ages: 7, 16, 22 and 65

success, high ideas, business plan ideas

Four birthdays with real opportunity.

Your personal business plan’s lifetime opportunities don’t depend on your skills, profession or location.  In this short post I’ll explain why I think that 7, 16, 22 and 65 are the “sweetspot” ages to start your new enterprise.  This is one unusual and high idea; I think you’ll quickly grasp it’s significance.

Entrepreneurship at 7: Ready to Learn the Basics

Seven years of age?  I’m kidding, right?  Nope.  By 7 (or at most, 8), kids know how to read, write, add, subtract, multiply and divide; they have the basic tools to learn to be entrepreneurs.  Now’s the time to introduce them to step one of their personal business plan; business as play.  Any neigborhood activity is fair game for a bit of simple business thinking.  Here’s my surefire way to start:  play the “four questions” game around the dinner table.

  • What do people need?
  • Can I do that?
  • Would someone pay me for that?
  • How do I ask Mom and Dad to help?

When kids are enthusiastic and Mom and Dad agree to help, the most wonderful business education available can begin… disguised as an exciting, challenging and rewarding game.  That’s the personal business plan idea.  Kids will lose some and win some… just like real life.  But they’ll take away attitudes and experiences they’ll use  for the rest of their lives.

Entrepreneurship at 16:  Time to Build Your Brand

Sixteen?  Time for step two of a personal business plan.  Another of those best entrepreneurship opportunities, but this time the business plan idea is loftier and more serious.  Now’s the time to think about those university applications and their “what makes you special?” questions. With 12 months to go before the application question needs to be answered, it’s time for a lesson in applied grit and a primer in social entrepreneurship.  Grit is ability to preserver for future reward.  Social entrepreneurship applies the skills of business building to social causes.  Others are doing science projects or amassing volunteer hours at a local charity.  You’ve aimed higher.  Your personal business plan ideal is not to merely contribute, but to create.  Too much effort?  I say not… if you’re already interested in business and you count the potential rewards:

  • Acceptance at the school of your choice
  • Scholarship opportunities (a scholarship penny earned is a tuition penny saved)
  • A door opener for serious business networking

Entrepreneurship at 22:  Ready to Risk (Not Much) Applying Your Education

Twenty two.  Time for step three in your personal business plan.   You’ve paid, and paid, and paid for that degree, with scarce money and a lot of time.  You might decide to take some time to see the world.  Or you might want to press on to graduate school for an MBA.  Or…  you might think there’s no time like the present to start a business or join a startup.

Here’s the secret behind this business plan idea.  There really isn’t much at risk except your pride and your time.  Be careful, and do it right… you might just succeed.   At worst, your resume will record that you aimed high and fell short.

Entrepreneurship at 65:  Trading off Energy for Skills, Experience and Perspective

Sixty five is an arbitrary marker for the day you “retire”.  I mean that you’ve finished a career, having built your nest egg as you were mastering skills and accumulating a working lifetime of experience.  Time for step 4 of your personal business plan.

 Here’s the business plan idea.  Once again, you’re at that wonderful intersection of opportunities and realitively little risk.  (I’m assuming that your experience has taught you not to risk your retirement income.)  Sure, it may be time to bootstrap a lean startup, and you probably don’t have the boundless energy of youth.  I’ve found, though, that grey-haired entrepreneurs have a way of keeping the surprises and stresses of business building in perspective… making for more productivity with less effort.

So there it is… my reasons why there are 4 very good ages to be an entrepreneur.  Can you just imagine what would happen if we took advantage of all of them via your personal (lifetime) business plan?

Don’t leave us to imagine.  Have you got a sweetspot story about entrepreneurship to share?  We’d love to hear about how you celebrated 16, 22 or 65 with an entrepreneurial present to yourself.




  1. Carol Orris says:

    As a parent, I think that you are spot on in your assessment of children at 7,16, and young adults at 22. I have children that fit all of these ages currently, and am always encouraging them to
    hone whatever business skills that are age appropriate. Taking advantage of a child’s natural curiosity , and enthusiasm , and redirecting that into a productive area of action and thinking , is something parents need to do to insure our children’s future success.

    • Chris Chadbourne says:

      Carol, for all the business books written, very few are focused on helping kids develop their business tradeskills. At GoodBusiness we’ve had a couple of feelers from parents who wanted help growing their businesskids. I keep wondering what type of product might best help parents…

  2. I was shocked really to be veracious. “Entrepreneurs at 7” Oh well you explained it well so everything is good. Thanks for this great post!

    • Chris Chadbourne says:

      I’m glad it made sense in the end. I’ll say one more thing about starting early, as early as possible. Done right (with supportive parents or extended family) it’s a great adventure for kids. They have so much fun they don’t even realize how much they’re learning. The learn, really learn, so fast! Later in life it’s the basics that seem to trip up so many aspiring business people. Most of these basics can be learned at a lemonade stand. Now how else, at 7, can you have fun learning things you can use at 16, 22 and 65? Phil, why not take a look at the site’s section labeled “GoodBusinessU” and read the introductory posts about business tradeskill? Those are the basic lessons, and there’s very little that’s beyond a 7-year old, or outside the realm of a lemonade stand.

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