You are By no means Too Outdated to Begin a Enterprise, Even If That Enterprise Is Successful $26 Million within the Lottery
You may think you are too old to start your business – especially your own successful business.
If so, you’re wrong: a study by the Census Bureau and two MIT professors found:
- A 50-year-old startup founder is 2.2 times more likely to found a successful startup than a 30-year-old.
- A 50-year-old founder of a startup is 2.8 times more likely to have founded a successful startup than a 25-year-old founder.
- A 60-year-old startup founder is three times as likely to found a successful startup as a 30-year-old startup founder – and 1.7 times as likely a startup that ends up in the top 0.1 percent of all companies.
Case in point: Jerry and Marge Selbee. After running a local grocery store in Evart, Michigan (population 1,900) for 17 years, Jerry and Marge sold the business and retired.
Then one day Jerry, who was studying math, noticed a new lottery game called Winfall. Within three minutes he had found a “special feature” of the game. In contrast to games in which the jackpot is built up until someone hits all six numbers, for example, Winfall had a “rolldown” function: If the jackpot reached $ 5 million and nobody reached all six numbers, all the money was in the Pot “rolled down” people who matched five, four and three numbers.
In short, if the pot was over $ 5 million and no one won the big prize … a lot of people were guaranteed to win a smaller prize.
“If I were to play $ 1,100,” says Jerry, “I would have a four-number mathematical winner. That’s $ 1,000. Then I knew I had either 18 or 19 three-number winners, and that’s 50 each Dollars. I have. ” $ 1,000 for a four-number winner, and I have 18 three-number winners worth $ 50 each, so that’s $ 900. “
In short, invest $ 1,100 and get a return of $ 1,900.
On average – and as long as nobody hits all six numbers.
This is where the law of large numbers came into play. Jerry knew he wasn’t going to win all the time. But the more he played and the more money he “invested”, the more likely the results would offset each other and achieve a reasonably predictable return.
Jerry and Marge started a company, GS Investment Strategies, and allowed friends and family to buy shares in the company for $ 500 each. Over time – including many trips to Massachusetts to play that state’s similar game after Michigan’s game was discontinued – the company had sales of more than $ 26 million over nine years.
For their part, Jerry and Marge made nearly $ 8 million in profits.
All because Jerry was good at math.
And good at spotting an opportunity. It’s easy to have an idea and hesitate and think, “Yeah, but no one else tried that. I must be missing something.”
But that’s not always the case. As Jerry said, referring to his and Marges success, “The only thing I found really remarkable is that no one else really seemed to understand.”
Every day, hesitation and uncertainty can keep budding entrepreneurs from responding to an idea – especially as they get older, when the risk of losing what you have outweighs the potential reward.
However, science proves that age, as well as experience, skill and connections, are on your side.
The greater your experience, the easier it is to develop a smart strategy. The better your skills, the easier it is to perform well. The better your connections, the easier it is to get the help you need.
You are not guaranteed to win the “lottery” you are pursuing, but one thing is guaranteed: you will never get a chance to succeed if you don’t try.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.