Here’s a crazy idea. Instead of plunging headlong into retirement after countless years of working one, maybe two careers in your lifetime, why not start a new business? Okay, I know, you are very likely shaking your head thinking I have mixed my medications again. Well, I did not and I mean it. The part I mean is the starting your own business idea, although I also mean it that I didn’t mix medications.
I understand it may go against your normal way of thinking. Why would anyone want to jump from a stressful life as an employee in their mid to late 50’s into the stressful life of a business owner? Actually, there is a great deal of success that can come from such a transition. In fact, there are a number of statistics that back me up on this one.
For example, the Kauffman Foundation conducted a survey. The study, which was centred in the United States, showed that people in the 55 to 64 age group had the highest rate of entrepreneurship. In other words, the most new business start-ups in the country were the result of seniors.
While the study did not breakdown the actual types of businesses that were launched, it would be logical to imagine that a fair number of them were home-based. Let’s face it, if you are inching up to retirement and don’t have the size of savings account you had hoped for, the smartest thing to do is continue to generate income.
Instead of continuing to be an employee, the mid-50’s is the right time to go out on your own and start a new business. Don’t forget, you are not only going to have several skills, you will have a lifetime of experience and knowledge working in your favour. Plus, there may even be grant funding programs you can tap into to help cover some of the details like skills upgrade and other start up details.
A business website dedicated to retirees who are delaying retirement in favour of more work discovered an interesting fact. If you are 55+ and you started a new business today alongside someone between the ages of 20 and 34, who do you think would be the most successful? The good folks at Retired Brains can tell you that the senior would be at least twice as successful as the youngsters.
So what are you waiting for?
There are several quick and easy ways to start a business that do not require a ton of funding and in most cases, can be operated on a part time basis. This in itself gives you the best of both worlds – less time working offering freedom plus a regular stream of income offering well, freedom.
The precise business you start up will completely come from you specific skill set and interests. The main thing to keep in mind here is that you no longer have a future where the best you can do is clean up duty at the shopping mall or some other option where your skills are wasted. It also means that you don’t have to drive right into retirement, either.
For more information on how to make a 50+ third quarter transition, check out my eBook “Surviving Midlife Career Changes.”
A back-up plan is simply your parachute out of a situation. It’s that single piece of insurance that saves your butt and helps you to move on. It’s your Plan B or Plan C. It is your lifeline to the future and without one, it slows you down.
When my wife and I decided to close our business after just over twelve years as owners we had a back-up plan, although we didn’t realize it at the time. Both of us were slowly developing home-based businesses that were built around our hobbies.
Brenda was well into a second summer of a small scale home canning operation. The products she produced we labeled under the umbrella of JamBusters! and it was a relatively well-known product within our community. Sales were strong anytime we put effort into vending at a local or nearby event. We also sold steady through a window display in our downtown storefront office.
I had been freelance writing on the side for just over two years after testing the waters at first. My goal at the time was to generate some extra cash flow when things slowed down at our downtown business. By the time I was six months into operation under the banner of Looseink Freelance Ninja I had made more freelancing than what my actual business was paying me.
We chose to close our downtown business for several reasons. Mostly it was related to the changes in the industry we were in but we also found ourselves working long hours for little return. That was okay for a short period of time but we were into our third year of a downturn that was not improving.
I’m 55. Brenda is 59. We are not in your primary employment age bracket. We are Baby Boomers with years of experience and plenty of good working years ahead of us. But who would hire us and how would we even begin to look for work? Fearing we didn’t have a back-up plan it dawned on us that in fact we were already working at something that could replace what we had been trying to keep afloat.
Plus, as is typically the case with Baby Boomers entering their third quarter transition, our Plan B presented a solution that matched our desire to reduce our workloads and give us something we enjoyed doing to keep working. It also afforded us free time and freedom to do our work as often as we wanted and when we wanted. There was the flexibility to not be tied down to a strict five or six day work week.
Do you have a back-up plan?
You may already be working at developing one without even knowing it. Take a look around you and explore the options that come from your interests, hobbies and volunteer service. One of these sources could become part of the solution you are looking for in making a midlife career change. Remember, you need that parachute in order to land safely from jumping from one place to another.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.