Small Business Startup Tips for Baby Boomers

Baby boomers these days are saying ‘no’ to retirement and ‘yes’ to starting a business. In fact, when it comes to entrepreneurship, people over 50 years old are starting businesses at faster rates than millennials, a trend that’s been steadily increasing in the past decade.


Americans ages 55-64 comprise more than 25 percent of all new entrepreneurs, according to a study by the Kauffman Foundation. Meanwhile, a study by AARP found that workers over 65 are outnumbering the teenage workforce — for the first time since 1948.

So, why are these “seniorpreneurs” staying grounded in the business world? There are many reasons, including:

-  They don’t want to give up working or officially retire.

-  They want to earn the extra income.

-   They want to do something they enjoy and are passionate about.

-   They aren’t looking to get rich but want to be productive.

-   They finally want to be their own boss.

And there’s this: Baby boomers are doing it because they want to and not out of necessity as in years past, according to Guidant Financial.


“Compared to previous years, more boomers cited positive reasons for pursuing business ownership in 2018: ready to be their own boss, pursuing a passion and even taking advantage of opportunities that presented themselves,” says David, Nilssen CEO of Guidant.


This is a sign of a strong economy because more seniors are wanting to enjoy the benefits of working for themselves instead of doing it because they are being forced to, Nilsen says.


“What’s more, most boomers are happy with their encore careers as business owners:  76% of business owners rated their happiness as an 8 or above on a scale of 1-10,” according to Guidant’s State of Small Business survey.


Here are a few secrets to senior-preneurship success:


Are You Ready?

There’s no magic number to when retirement should begin. Just because you’re turning 65, doesn’t mean you have to leave the workforce. It should be a strategic decision.


“Another part of retirement you should plan for is what you are going to do when you retire,” says Fiscal Tiger. “Having nothing to do all day can lead to severe depression, so have plans on how to stay active in your later years. If there isn’t a huge need to retire and you don’t have plans for what to fill your retirement with, maybe consider continuing to work and saving more money.”


Or, if you want to retire from your 9-to-5 job, now might be the time to seize the day on the endeavors you’ve been dreaming about, including starting your own side business.


Secure the Capital

You typically need some type of capital to get started. Instead of dipping into your savings account, you could apply for a business loan with a low interest rate. Or, if you have money-making portfolios, it could be “advantageous to borrow at low interest rates to fund a venture that could provide higher returns,” according to a tip from Forbes. “Keep 401K and pension money socked away for when you are really ready to retire for good.” If you do an early withdrawal on your 401k or other portfolios, you could receive a penalty.


Get Marketing Savvy

It’s likely you don’t have a marketing budget set aside, which is fairly common for new businesses. But there are a few small business marketing ideas you can do to promote yourself for free.


If you aren’t a social media person, it’s time to become one. It’s one of the best ways to get brand exposure. In the same vein, create your own website on a free platform. You can always seek advice from someone who knows more than you in setting up both social media accounts and a website. You don’t necessarily need to hire a marketing pro to do the work for you. Another tip: Teach yourself search engine optimization or find someone to help you learn it.


Brand Yourself

Branding is another important part of building your image in a professional, personable way. Sometimes all you have is a first impression, so what does your brand say about you? And how do you stand out from the competition?


Typically, only a few mouse clicks separate you from the competition, so you might be wondering how you can leverage your brand. Some branding tips include investing in your company’s appearance, creating branding guidelines, and trying new things. Creating loyal customers is the ultimate goal and branding is one of the best investments you can make.


Mobile Payments

Cash may be king, but it doesn’t do any good if your business is online. Familiarize yourself in the various types of payment systems and mobile ordering options out there today, including credit card processing. Mobile technology like Square and PayPal are common ways to accept payment. Small businesses are also using mobile apps for accounting, invoicing, communications and scheduling.


Baby boomers today are continuing to change the way people view retirement. Choosing to work for a steady source of income or even becoming an entrepreneur is the new normal for those in their 50s and beyond. What simple tips do you have for riding the seniorpreneur wave? 


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