Whether the motive is trying something more challenging, following a dream or just making extra money, more seniors are starting businesses. Thirteen percent of 45- to 75-year-old participants surveyed in 2012 by the American Association of Retired Persons expressed plans to work for themselves. With a little common sense, it's possible to set up a business that won't burn up your retirement savings.
If you like people, working for a direct sales firm like Mary Kay, Amway or Avon offers one of the most common business startup models. For a small initial investment, you can buy a starter kit of training materials and products, says Kerry Hannon, an American Association of Retired Persons career expert. Depending on demand, you can market the goods from your own home computer, or recruit sales people to help expand the business.
Consider how to capitalize on your skills in a small business setting. Local business owners can't always afford to hire full-time employees, but still need help with running their company's day-to-day operations, notes Nancy Collamer, a career coach and author interviewed in Business News Daily's June 2014 article, "Five Smart Business Ideas for Retirees." This is especially true if you offer to help a business owner with basic support services like bookkeeping, graphic design or website work.
Depending on your experience, you can work online as a writer, merchant or tutor. For example, potential tutors generally need a college or university degree and the ability to explain complex ideas to a broad range of students. Sellers can start by off-loading personal items and progress to buying and selling books, records and collectibles for profit. The Internet's unlimited reach also makes it simple to identify publications that you can approach to write articles for their target audiences.
Personal Care Services
Setting up a service-oriented business offers a natural outlet for younger, more active retirees. Seniors, in particular, need help with major life tasks like cooking, housekeeping, running errands and shopping. If you're willing to fill those needs, it's possible to build a customer base and create a niche for yourself. Depending on your clients' needs, you can expand into other specialties, like claims assistance and paying bills.
Senior Move Manager
A move manager gets involved when a senior citizen downsizes into a smaller space, like a retirement community. You'll help clients determine what to donate, sell or give away, and coordinate the logistics of the move. You may also handle the sales themselves, or shopping for furniture to suit a new home. Interior design knowledge is important for success, as well as the ability to coordinate with local realtors and senior centers to generate new business.
Ralph Heibutzki's articles have appeared in the "All Music Guide," "Goldmine," "Guitar Player" and "Vintage Guitar." He is also the author of "Unfinished Business: The Life & Times Of Danny Gatton," and holds a journalism degree from Michigan State University.