Anna D. Banks, Basic Author

By Anna D. Banks, GCDF

Most people nearing retirement age begin to think about what they can do next. Even though you may want to start a small home based business, but you could be stuck wondering if you are too old for entrepreneurship after retirement. You may even think that over 60 is an age that is too old for getting into entrepreneurship.

However, recent studies have shown that older entrepreneurs actually have the odds in their favor. As many as 22% men over 65 and 14% of the women over retirement age are self-employed, and entrepreneurs in the age group of 45 to 64 are a group expected to grow rapidly in the near future. Older entrepreneurs clearly have an edge because of their experience gained over many years of working life. They have also generally earned more financial stability, and assets that can finance a startup. Today, entrepreneurs over 50 are quite willing to devote the time and energy to build their small businesses.

There are more than 10 million businesses in the US alone that are women-owned, and employ 18 million people! Women-owned businesses are actually a good 28% of the total business world and total over 700,000 new startups a year! These statistics are a good reason to get ready for the transition from an employee to a business owner. As the Baby Boomer generation hits retirement age, people are living longer and healthier lives, making many of them want to continue an active and productive work life.

By the time you are 50, you have gained a number of skills and accumulated experience that really makes the difference in entrepreneurship. However, prepare well before you make the transition from an employee to a business owner. It requires some precautions that may not apply to young entrepreneur. Starting a new business at this stage can be more risky and you can afford fewer mistakes. There is simply less time to bounce back and the money you are investing might just be your retirement assets. So if you are an older entrepreneur, you need to plan and prepare, getting ready for the transition from an employee to a business owner, with caution.

Don’t stake all your reserves on this one venture. Borrow only as much as you need to start the business and try to avoid a personal guarantee or second mortgages. Pick a business that you have experience in, in a field that you know well. Failing that, pick an industry where your current skills transfer and translate easily. A totally different industry, based on a hobby or an interest, can work quite well if you spend enough time in learning the ins and outs of the industry and familiarizing yourself with the business.

Consider buying up an already established business. Starting a new business from scratch is risky. If you buy an established business, you get processes already in place, and a ready client or buyer base. A running business has a track record, and financial statements; check these out before you buy, with your lawyer and accountant. Also, another good idea might be to consider a franchise.

© 2008 Anna D. Banks, GCDF

ANNA D. BANKS, GCDF is an adjunct professor at Essex County College, career development and marketing coach, speaker, and author. Anna helps individuals design a game plan for an extraordinary career or business. Since 1996, Anna has helped hundreds of job-seekers, managers, business owners, and sales professionals achieve career success. For more information send an email to
Author’s Note:
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