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Want to Start a Business? Entrepreneurs Who Found Success at 50+ Offer Their Advice

Women in conversation with laptop, Advice from entrepreneurs

Want to branch out on your own? Seek the advice of entrepreneurs who have done just that. — Chicasso/Blend Images/Corbis

You may think they're the least likely group to throw the dice on entrepreneurship. For the 50 and over set, retirement — or at least slowing down — is usually top of mind.

See also: Why you need a mentor

But a growing number of older adults are doing just the opposite. They're picking up the pace by starting their own companies in a move to control their financial destiny as new entrepreneurs.

Do you see yourself starting a business now or in the future? Consider these nuggets of wisdom from business owners who are succeeding at it right now.

Annemarie du LeBohn, 51

Orange County, Calif.

Former career: Corporate marketing

Current business: At age 50, she launched a motivational speaking business.

Two cents: "Find a business mentor. I went to SCORE. Having a good mentor helps you cut through the BS. They will tell you like it is. Do you have a good idea? Will your concept work? Once you're 50, you don't want to waste your time."

Barbara Hyatte Boustead, 61

Madison, Wisc.

Former career: Licensed clinical social worker for 37 years

Current business: At age 60, she started Mary's Daughter in order to provide daily money management services to older adults and veterans.

Two cents: "Develop your team, people who will help you take your business where you want it to go. For me, it's my business coach, website support and others. Take the risk and have fun. Unlike during my younger years, when I wanted to prove myself and was driven to 'be successful,' this time around it's about leaving a legacy and pursuing dreams. It's about incorporating my business and retirement goals with my personal values."

Gary Bickford, 68

Knoxville, Tenn.

Former career: Worked in medical diagnostics

Current business: At age 55, he returned to school to become a family nurse practitioner and founded the Healthy Life Clinic, a medical clinic for lower-income individuals.

Two cents: "Don't grow too fast. Early success can pin you into making poor decisions."

After opening one profitable clinic, Bickford expanded to five clinics, which he found difficult to sustain. "I couldn't keep up with demand. I didn't have the right staff people to help me."

Yuval Zaliouk, 74

Maumee, Ohio

Former career: Orchestral conductor

Current business: At age 50, while still conducting, he started Almondina Cookies, sold in retail stores around the country, in several foreign countries and on the company's web site.

Two cents: "Know your product and know how to sell it. If you are familiar with the saying, 'selling ice to Eskimos,' you will be aware of the necessity as an entrepreneur to develop good salesmanship. You must develop the ability to sell, or better put, to convince people to buy. Also, think carefully how to market your product, and be 100 percent confident about the merit of your product or service. My long career in the arts taught me one important lesson; if the main door is shut, look for the side or back door. They always exist and are much less guarded."

Next page: A "lice" success story. »

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