Older adults have a lifetime of experience they can utilize after retirement. Therefore, it’s no wonder many people reach retirement age, and decide to start their own business. Some may start up a business due to the desire to be one’s own boss. Others may just want to follow a long-held passion. Some may do it for the extra income as well. Regardless, older adults choose to start businesses for a variety of reasons. Over the past twenty years, people over 50 have been becoming entrepreneurs at an accelerated rate. People are living longer and healthier lives. Due to this, many reach the age where they could be ready to retire, but they feel compelled to continue in the workforce in a different way.
AARP talks about how older adults can take their passions, experience, and hobbies and apply them in a new way. Some people may get pushed into entrepreneurship due to financial necessities. However, surveys have found that the majority of seniors step into their roles voluntarily. Some common voluntary reasons people may choose to become entrepreneurs are great opportunities, the desire to not retire, or a dissatisfaction with the corporate world.
Yet sometimes the new business has absolutely nothing to do with the career they had. One woman described in the article was a retired physician. But she chose to start a dog toy making business. She wanted to help local animal shelters and make a little money on the side. Clearly, businesses after retirement do not need to be high stress, high income jobs. They can be anything you enjoy doing or feel your community needs.
Obviously, there are difficulties with starting one’s own business. The most common problems are lack of support, funding, and just getting started. When you work in corporate America, you have a solid infrastructure and supportive measures helping the business succeed. However, when owning a small business, most of that disappears. Ageism is also something that affects specifically older entrepreneurs.
Luckily, businesses started by older adults usually last longer because they’re doing what they actually want to be doing. In order to be a successful business owner, make sure it’s based on something you are truly passionate about. A self-started business is designed to be personally rewarding. If it wasn’t, you likely wouldn’t have started it in the first place.