According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, people age 65 and older make up the biggest percentage of self-employed workers. Those aged 55-64 are close second. Some start businesses after retirement to fulfill long-held dreams, or do something with their newfound free time. Others see owning a small business as a way to supplement their income, particularly if current savings fall short of what will be needed as they get older.
Regardless of their age, motivation, or inclination, many seniors find operating a small business to be the most rewarding thing they’ve ever attempted. But though they may be able to bring experience, resources, and time to their start-ups, seniors often find themselves in need of the same kind of information and assistance as their younger counterparts.
The good news is that help is readily available. The U.S. Small Business Administration and AARP have joined forces to assist would-be senior entrepreneurs seeking information on how to start and fund a venture. The SBA provides self-employment section of AARP’s website (www.aarp.org/work/self-employment/) with more than 30 online training courses to support entrepreneurs as they start and grow small businesses.
AARP’s site also include links to the SBA Direct (www.sba.gov/sba-direct) website, a shortcut to community-based business Mentors; columns and webinars on timely entrepreneurship topics from a wide range of experts; and practical tips on everything from working at home to making hiring decisions.
Mature Resources (www.matureresources.org), an e-zine covering a wide range of issues related to aging, contains a business section with articles specifically tailored to over-50 entrepreneurs, as well as a business directory.
Another helpful resource is SeniorEntrepreneurshipWorks.org, a non-profit organization that provides online education, training, news, and other resources. The website’s blog, SavvySeniorsWork.com explores the frequent questions and situations seniors encounter as they start or build their businesses.
Because there’s nothing like a good book, consider The Lemonade Stand on the Corner by Victor Benoun; Second Careers: New Ways to Work After 50 by Caroline Bird; and Business Begins at 50 Part 1, Your Opportunity Thrive by Malcolm Gallagher and Alan Bell.
Entrepreneurs of any age can profit from experience, which is why they should contact Raleigh SCORE. We provide free, confidential business mentoring and training workshops to small business owners. To schedule a free appointment with our experienced counselors, go to http://raleigh.score.org, or call us at 919-856-4739.