The Baby Boomers are the first generation to view retirement as simply another chapter in an active, results-oriented life. And many of them are expressing that by becoming business owners after they retire from their main career. This is done either out of need or desire – or sometimes a combination of both. A majority of seniors who start businesses begin at home, employing family and friends, which limits startup costs and gives them more flexibility and control over their time commitments. Those who start businesses later in life are often more focused on leaving a legacy and pursuing dreams, rather than simply proving how successful they can become.
Baby Boomers are reinventing retirement. They are leveraging their decades of experience, vast professional networks, and accumulated financial resources to start up their own businesses as so-called encore entrepreneurs. Between 1996 and 2012, Americans ages 55 to 64 had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than those ages 20 to 34, according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation.
There are two main reasons why retirees take the business startup plunge. Some need extra income to keep up with inflation, supplement savings, and maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle for what could be a very long retirement. Others want to fulfill a dream of being their own boss with the flexibility and control that offers.
Building a business is not something you do on a whim – particularly when you’re older and you don’t have as many years to rebound from a failed venture. You’ll want to establish clear goals and expectations, focus on something you’re good at, and perform honest calculations regarding launch costs and income potential. Writing a simple business plan can help put all of this into perspective.
Your retiree business will either be something you build from scratch, an existing business that you take over, or a franchise opportunity. Some of the more popular options include consulting, becoming a professional speaker, working in consumer services, providing senior care services, and developing an online business from eBay selling to affiliate-marketing through blogs.
A traditional office rental or lease might be too costly for your start-up or young small business. If so, one practical cost-effective alternative is to share office space. Consider the convenience of a fully-equipped furnished space that you might share with related professionals with whom you could also share referrals.