We go through most of life being too busy to notice the years and decades go by – usually focusing on everyone but ourselves. Then suddenly everything changes – families grow up and move on, personal circumstances change.
Many women over 60 are dealing with various forms of loss – be it their partner, other family members and friends, jobs and routine. Without warning there are a lot of empty hours in the day, but how to fill them? Most things we like to do cost money, which can be in short supply once out of the workforce.
But what if there was a way you could do what you love and make money rather than spend it? It’s a concept that baby boomers are embracing in droves, ditching the day job to become their own boss. For some, this is a long-held dream, while for others it’s an unexpected opportunity to grab hold of.
So what are the advantages of starting a business at 60?
1. BEING YOUR OWN BOSS
After many years of dealing with other people’s needs at work or home, you get to call the shots, using all your life experience.
2. CHOOSING YOUR OWN HOURS
The beauty of being the boss is you decide on your time commitment – do you want to work every day, or just a few hours a week?
3. CHOOSING YOUR OFFICE
Have visions of earning money from the comfort of your home, the poolside or the beach? Why not? Or perhaps you’ll choose a co-working space for regular contact with people.
4. DOING SOMETHING YOU LOVE
Do you have a hobby that could turn into a business? Is there something you’ve always wanted to try?
5. SOCIAL INTERACTION
Whatever business you choose, you’ll need customers to make it work. Having a business gives you new opportunities to meet people – customers, suppliers, other business owners. Local business networking groups are a great way to connect with like-minded people and learn from them too.
Entrepreneurship tends to be associated with young people brimming with ideas and unpronounceable technology, but it’s not all coding and memes in the small business world. And baby boomers have a few key advantages over the millennials – experience trying, failing, learning and starting again. They are resilient, wise and practical. They’ve learned from others at work, home and in social circles. They are well connected, have a great network and usually we have some cash to get started without taking food off the table.
The idea of starting a business might be daunting, but you don’t have to aim for the next Amazon or Arnotts! Whether you see yourself going solo offering products or services occasionally, or heading up a local, national or international operation, you won’t be the first to try. Baby boomers around the world are launching businesses every day.
The first step is to think what you have to offer, what you enjoy, and what lifestyle you want to create. Some semi- retirees opt for niche areas that build on their past professional experience, offering services such as consulting, coaching, mentoring or training in their industry.
Others offer personal services such as child care, aged care, pet sitting, house sitting, cooking, cleaning, styling or driving services (those things you’ve always done for free?).
Then there are the more traditional customer facing businesses like shops, cafes, restaurants, wine bars which require more cash and planning to get started, but can be very rewarding.
There’s never been a better time to get started with technology leading the way, a wealth of information to get you started, and help you connect with clients.
Some top tips before getting started
1. Make sure there is a ‘problem’ that you offer a ‘solution’ to. It’s a good idea to test your idea before officially launching. How much are people prepared to pay, and how often will they buy?
2. Work out how much cash you need – what do you need to buy to get started, and how long will it be before you start to bring cash in?
3. Learn about the technology that will support your business – for example pet sitting and house sitting have websites and apps to connect people and offer a level of security
4. Use your network to test the idea and pick people’s brains
5. Join a local business networking group to find potential customers, suppliers, advisors and mentors.