Entrepreneurship isn’t reserved for the 20-something-year-old who quit college to write code in their parent’s garage. In fact, according to Shopify, the highest rate of entrepreneurship in the U.S. has been among 55 to 64 years old with people over 55 twice as likely to launch successful new companies than those in the 20-34 age group.
Fifty years is far from old. It’s a good decade and a half away from retirement age. Did you know that celebrities such as Naomi Watts, Will Smith, Lucy Liu, Ashley Judd, LL Cool J, and Rachel Ray are turning 50 years old this 2018? And when you realize that, you can appreciate that 50 and up may be the ideal age to leave the rat race, start a business, and be your own boss.
Read more: A Powerful Checklist for Entrepreneurial Success
Here are some of the best business ideas for the over 50 aspiring entrepreneur:
Rental properties are a great way to earn money. You can rent out space above your home's garage, an empty room in your house, or you can purchase property that you can rent out. There's also a big market for renters as studies have shown that many millennials prefer to rent rather than buy homes. And if you have a bigger budget to invest, you can renovate the space and charge more for rent.
Choose to rent out the space or house for long-term leases or post the listing on vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb. Short stays will mean more work as you'll have to maintain the room and make sure it's clean for every new guest. You can always hire a service to clean the space. It’s well worth it as short-term rentals are becoming more popular these days with more people preferring them to expensive hotel rooms. Nicely designed short-term rentals obviously get booked more often. So if you're the creative type, this is your opportunity to create a beautiful space that will keep you fully-booked year-round and earning quite well.
You can turn practically any skill into a business. It’s also something that you can easily advertise online. Compared to other types of business, it’s probably the easiest and fastest ones to set up. With a service-based business, your product is yourself, and you don't have to maintain any inventory or create goods to sell. There’s probably minimal equipment involved. At most, you may just need a laptop and whatever necessary tools are required to carry out the job.
Some service-based businesses that you can do entirely from home involve writing, bookkeeping, accounting, and consulting.
By the time you're 50, you've acquired a great deal of knowledge in your field. You have the opportunity to pass on this wisdom by offering training and consulting to other businesses in the industry. Create a LinkedIn account where you can connect with other people from your industry. Make sure that your profile is complete with descriptions of all your past experiences. The more connections you make, the more opportunities you will have to offer your consulting services.
Service-based businesses that may require you to get out and meet with clients or go on-site are landscaping, handyman work, electronics and small engine repair, or computer repair. You might even own a large truck that people can hire to help them move their stuff. If you already own a good camera and love to take photos, offer photography services.
It’s entirely up to you how big or small you want to scale your business. You can start by offering freelance services yourself, and as you expand your network and gain more clients, you can gradually build to the point that you employ other writers, accountants, handymen, and consultants.
Read more: Entrepreneurs Think Corporate Culture First Not Last
Buy a Franchise
One of the best things about buying a franchise is enjoying all the perks of being a small business owner such as independence while still having that support from a significant business network. Starting a business from scratch can be hard. The success rate of franchises is much higher than that of a start-up because they’ve already established a reputation and image that customers trust.
When you run a run a franchise, you don’t need any prior experience; the franchiser will provide you with the training you need to operate their business model. With so many franchise business options available out there, you can choose between a small business that requires low investment or something huge like a restaurant or hotel. You can even select a franchise in an industry you're familiar with to make the transition easier.
Turn Your Hobby into a Home Business
Just a decade ago, selling your crafts or offering your services was much more challenging. Thanks to social media, SEO and eCommerce platforms, it’s much easier to market and promote your products and services online.
Do you know how to make handmade jewelry or hand sewn customized dolls? There’s a niche market for those types of crafts. Maybe you know how to build furniture and can take orders for bespoke pieces. If you love to cook, you can offer in-home catering services or make pre-packaged diet meals. Or if baking is your thing, you can accept orders online for customized cookies, cakes, and cupcakes that you can deliver right to their home or event.
You may even have a collection that has accumulated over the years, and you’re now willing to let go of it now for a hefty profit. That toy or doll collection may now be considered vintage. There may be rare, hard-to-find pieces perfect for today's collectors.
Whatever your hobbies, there’s a market, and you can turn them into a business. You can advertise on social media and sell online. Or you can sell your products at farmers markets, trade shows, and bazaars.
From Passion to Profits
Ultimately, there are endless opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs who are 50 and beyond. Age doesn’t need to stop you from turning your passion into profit and bravely exiting from the corporate world to become your own boss.
Entrepreneurship is also ideal for people who haven’t been working in the last few years or were recently laid off. It's understandable why you wouldn't want to go back in and try to compete with the younger generation who are all trying to find jobs too. If anything, your age is your biggest asset when you decide to become an entrepreneur. You have the life experience, wisdom and patience to become a success.
Need a Hand Growing That New Business?
As entrepreneurs ourselves as well as business consultants, we have been using a 6-Step Process to help entrepreneurs, particularly those over 50, turn their ideas into innovations and then into successful business ventures. Perhaps we can help you. The 6-Step Process is built upon our experiences and expertise. It might work for you.
From Observation to Innovation,
Partner, Simon Associates Management Consultants
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