Baby Boomers Becoming Entrepreneurs
An abundance of America’s 77 million baby boomers are finding that slowing down is the last thing they want to do when it comes to retirement. They are seeking outlets for their experience, energy, and drive that will be personally and financially rewarding, while also providing the flexibility and direction they might not have enjoyed during their previous careers.
Sound a lot like owning a small business? It should.
Statistics show that of the nation’s 10.9 million self-employed workers, the largest category, 25 percent, is boomers aged 45 to 54. In 2006, the number of self-employed persons aged 65 and older totaled 781,000—a 19-percent increase in just six years.
As with entrepreneurship at any other age, a boomer’s entrepreneurial direction has many influences, such as interests, knowledge, location, financial resources, and personality. Some may relish the challenge of building a new business, even to the point of working as many hours as they did before retiring. Others may prefer pursuing an enterprise with more limited hours, allowing them to make the most of that long-awaited leisure time.
Fortunately, there’s a growing range of resources designed to help boomers pursue second careers as entrepreneurs. For example, the self-employed section of AARP’s Web site, www.aarp.org, helps those approaching retirement weigh second career opportunities as consulting and franchise ownership. Mature Resources at www.matureresources.org, an online magazine that covers a wide range of issues related to aging, contains a business section with articles related to over-50 entrepreneurs, as well as a business directory.
Marketing consultant Andrea J. Stenberg has created the baby boomer entrepreneur blog at thebabyboomerentrepreneur.com, which provides small business marketing strategies and motivation aimed at aspiring 40-plus entrepreneurs build new businesses.
Another multifaceted information resource is All Business at www.allbusiness.com, an online service that helps address real-world business questions and presents practical solutions. All Business provides articles and directories for aspiring small business owners, as well as a section dedicated to analyzing boomer marketing and demographic trends. Similarly, the Learning Center page of My New Venture at www.mynewventure.com/learning_center has a section specifically for retirement-bound boomers.
For women eyeing a post-retirement career in small business, the TIP$, or Turning Ideas into Profits, Mid-Life Women’s Business Community offers free information, tools, support and networking opportunities. Their website is www.tipscommunity.com.
Entrepreneurs of any age can profit from experience. Contact America’s free and confidential source of small business mentoring and coaching — SCORE Lancaster is a nonprofit association of more than 55 business experts who volunteer as mentors. SCORE offers free mentoring, business roundtables, business plan reviews, and low-cost workshops. Call us at 717-397-3092 or visit us online at www.scorelancaster.org.