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Starting a Business in Your 60s
The statistics say we’re all living longer, which means an expectation to work longer. But instead of being cast on the heap before your time, why not open that business you’ve always dreamed of? After all, you have many vital years to offer, along with a lifetime of experience. We’ve put together some ideas about what areas to pursue and how to go about pursuing them.
While our working lives leave us stretched, we often dream of having free time for our loved ones, hobbies or traveling. But for most people, retirement turns to be a tough emotional challenge.
If you’re retired or about to retire and can’t think of life without business activity, then why stop? Reasons to continue working after retirement vary according to the individual: some would like to have additional income, other aren’t fans of typical retiree activities and feel bored. In addition, psychologists say work and activity help seniors stay healthy: both mentally and physically. According to research by the Kauffman Foundation, the percentage of new entrepreneurs aged 55-64 increased from 15% in 1996 to almost 26% in 2014. And the number of senior business start-uppers continues to grow.
Retirement is a time to choose with your heart what to do. About 35% of workers age 55 and over who have been made redundant said they want to start their own business. The beauty of it is you can work fewer hours, have less stress (not least due to life-long experience). And above all else you can finally make your professional dreams come true.
Whether you already have your own small business idea or not, start with answers to the following questions:
- How does your product/service fulfill a customer’s need? Benchmark your potential competitors, their strengths. Think over your hallmark.
- How will your project impact your personal life? Any business takes a great deal of time and energy. Consider your work/life balance, your current relationships with family and friends. Starting a small business in retirement shouldn’t be stressful. It is a time to satisfy oneself, without overstraining.
- Do you want to have a fixed location or your business idea is home-based? Now there are numerous opportunities to work remotely, having a virtual office, website or just using communication tools. Some business ideas match this option, which gives certain flexibility.
- Who are your potential customers? Choosing the key audience for your product is one of the first steps. It defines your price policy, presence of your business and marketing strategy.
- Speaking of promotion, how will people find out about your business? You can’t achieve success without an appropriate promotional campaign. There are lots of advertising platforms and approaches. Choose those that reach your audience and grab their attention.
The answers to these questions are the substantial base for your business plan.
Funding is the crucial issue for senior business owners, so let’s dwell on it.
Does your startup require financial investment? Do you have enough for the launching and maintenance during approximately the next 3 months? 3 months is the average period named by business experts before your enterprise starts to yield.
If you have enough savings for your startup, you are in fortunate position. But keep in mind that the so-called bootstrapping method is worthwhile when all success factors and risks are well assessed.
A good credit rating doesn’t guarantee you a bank’s approval. Though be aware it is expected to be between 720 and 760.
The critical term for a lender is a warranty of a loan disbursement. Don’t disparage social and government loans programs for retirees, go for details of using different funding sources, but not your retirement funds. Lenders consider pension and Social Security income. Having money deposited into your bank account is the best way to document the income. If not, prepare copies of award letters or a pension plan.
SBA offers tools for seniors in particular financial within the program “Encore entrepreneurs”. SBA and its Resource Partners can assist at every stage of turning an entrepreneurial idea into a successful business. Besides, the organization hosts events in many areas and provides free online courses.
Veterans and members of their families have an advantage in obtaining loans since SBA as well as most lenders have a “Loans for Veterans” program and “Veterans business development” program.
A project’s commencement is always thrilling. Passion for your business idea is the best motivation for getting in a game. And here are 8 small business ideas proven by other retirees.
Franchising of an ongoing business is one of the safest ways to start your own. The founder gives you the necessary instructions and management tips. The company name is already known and has some credit. You don’t need much for a marketing campaign. And the list of franchising companies includes offers for any taste and budget. Americasbestfranchises.com shows a number of franchises, especially for retirees, including low-cost franchises with launching costs of $7000.
Teachers and lecturers are usually passionate about their profession and area of knowledge. Tutoring of kids and students is great opportunity to stay in the business you love. Also, it’s not so overwhelming as working with a typical classroom. You determine your schedule and workload. Tutoring is also very location-flexible business. You can work either at your home, or via the internet, or come to your pupils’ places. Such sites as Tutor.com, SmarThinking.com, Kaplan.com post offers for tutors.
Not only school subjects are suitable for tutoring. Music, drawing, culinary — any particular skill you’re good in can be a foundation for your small business.
Writing & blogging
Tutoring requires immense patience. If it’s not for you but you’d like to share your thoughts and knowledge, start freelance writing or blogging. Most seniors have great experience in different spheres of life: previous career, politics, traveling, pets, poker playing, retirement itself and many more topics. Follow Mark Twain’s advice “Write about what you know.”
Vital style of recurrent content builds loyal fans and bring a return. You can start own channel at once, but it takes more efforts to attract an audience and the cash income will require some time. Another option for a beginning is to sell your articles to existing blog and make money from that. When you feel comfortable in this, you can always launch your journal, taking your followers with you. Visit Kathy Merlino’s blog at Kathysretirementblog.com. Her posts about all sides of retirement are thoughtful and inspiring.
Some retirees would like to have a home-based business and the above-mentioned idea perfectly suits them. A computer and internet connection are all that’s required.
Seniors with experience and a degree can continue their career in consulting. They can employ an expertise, connections; or continue with coaching. And they are well paid for it.
Ideas for consultancy are limitless: bookkeeping, legislation, programming, or any other. The important thing is being an expert in the field.
Gail Dunn worked on cars during her whole life. She knew all traps and pitfalls of car purchase. So at 64 in 2007 she launched the Women’s Automotive Connection — a premier US wide independent auto buying consulting firm. An outstanding example of how vast experience leads to a great business idea.
To start your opportunity search, go to Retiredbrains.com. It is the largest information and job resource for retirees and seniors founded by Art Koff when he was 72.
As with writing and tutoring, consulting is an extension of a previous career or professional passion, but on more favorable terms.
A small family hotel is a business idea for a retired couple who owns a large home. According to The Professional Association of Innkeepers International an approximate minimum size of a B&B hotel is 530 square meters, it is about 6 bedrooms.
Family hotels are becoming popular as tourists look for more authentic and cozy places to stay. You’ll get more profit if your house is located in a picturesque area. So maybe your retirement is the time to move to the place of your dream near the sea or mountains?
Note that the home business idea is better for partners. Keeping a hotel means numerous of day-to-day duties — bookkeeping, management, cooking, cleaning, and advertising. Responsibilities can be divided among spouses according to skills and interests. By the way, in the United States, about 70% of B&B owners are retired couples.
Many retirees dream to launch their own retail business. Though very attractive, it may be costly to start, depending on offered products price and chosen location. On the other hand, if you have a huge collection of any kind, and you are ready to get rid of it for money, that can be a good start. Books, hats, pictures, dinnerware set — no doubt you’ll meet your vintage lovers.
Jeanne Dowell, former Yoga Instructor under the US Olympic Committee, extended further her passion and principles by founding Green Buddha clothing brand and online boutique at the age of 80.
Setting up an online store is almost cost-free and has more chances to blossom out. Modern trends show that e-commerce is more and more popular among consumers of any products. As an advantage, the home-based business saves time for family and friends. For some tips on setting up an e-commerce website, look through the article How to Launch an Online Clothing Store.
This small business opportunity continues growth even during economy softening. Almost 70% of Americans households have a pet. Owners are glad to leave their beloved animals under professional and safe care while traveling on vacation or business trips. The confidence of a client is a recipe for recurrent job offers. Look for the opportunities at such sites as Petsitters.org and Petsitusa.com. This business idea doesn’t require certain expertise. If you love animals, that’s a great opportunity to spend your time on retirement, gain money and enjoy a pet’s tenderness.
If cooking is your passion and your friends and family praise your fine cuisine, then a catering turns to be an excellent home business idea for you. There are about 8,000 companies in this industry in the USA. But the good news is the absence of rough competition or majors. From local home-based small business, you have the capacity to grow large and, for example, make a partnership with a delivery company. The room for scaling is great.
Wally Blume was 62 when he created an ice cream business together with partners. Later he mortgaged his house and bought out his partners to start Denali Flavors. The enterprise has $85 million in sales per year.
Catering is also a wonderful opportunity for couples and partners. One is a cooking genius; another is responsible for financials, products purchase, and advertising. Or you can share all business duties alike.
By the way, Raymond Kroc was 53 when he opened his first McDonald’s.
These are just few business ideas for retirees. Whatever you’d like to do, don’t let anyone tell you that your passion is a freak, or it is too late.
One of the best advantages that seniors have are lasting friendships and business relationships. Your network is your reliable support. Besides, it is a good way for marketing of your business idea. Ask friends, family members, and former colleagues for advice and backing. Approval of loved ones is a force for your progress.