Baby Boomers comprising nearly half the country's self-employed workers (7.4 million) and entrepreneurship growing.
At present, the Baby Boomer generation is redefining retirement, shunning the conventional traditions of stopping, ceasing, and leaving in favor of staying involved, continuing to contribute, and following our passion.
Like so many Baby Boomers, you too might find that there are some very compelling reasons to either become or continue being an entrepreneur, well past midlife.
10 Reasons for Becoming a Baby Boomer Entrepreneur:
1. Baby Boomers are healthy with many years ahead of us.
2. Baby Boomers want to stay involved and engaged.
3. Baby Boomers enjoy generating extra income.
4. Baby Boomers get to build a business around something we enjoy and are passionate about.
5. Baby Boomers have a full Rolodex and 20-30 years of experience to back up.
6. Baby Boomers want the independence and flexibility that comes from working for ourselves.
7. Baby Boomers have confidence and experience and know what we're good at.
8. Baby Boomers may already have a pool of money saved to help finance our business.
9. Baby Boomers can do business from home, using the Internet as our storefront.
10. Baby Boomers won't be discriminated against because of our age.
Top 5 Small Business Ideas for Baby Boomers
Baby boomers are the nation’s second-largest living generation, overtaken only recently by millennials. Even though many boomers have technically reached retirement age, that doesn’t mean they’re ready to stop working just yet. More and more individuals age 50 and older are choosing to embark on encore careers instead by starting their own small businesses.
We’ve found that the market is exploding with niche opportunities that not only jive with boomer interests but have the ability to be extremely profitable. Here are the top five business industries in which we’ve seen boomers thrive:
- Pet care. Many boomers have chosen to fill their empty nests with four-legged, furry companions, and starting a business in this lucrative market not only allows aspiring entrepreneurs to pursue their passion for critters but make money at the same time. Americans as a whole spent $55.7 billion on pets in 2013, and that number’s expected to creep up in the coming years.
- Travel. One of the biggest boomer trends is to visit destinations they haven’t seen before while they still can making travel a growing arena. Travelers were expected to spend up to $65 billion in 2015, up 7 percent from 2014, so businesses in this industry, whether it’s a vacation planner or a rental car company, can expect to cash in on that revenue. Baby boomers can even choose to be Airbnb hosts and make some extra cash on the side by renting their space to travelers.
- Campgrounds and RV parks. Spending time outdoors and reconnecting with nature after years in a corporate office is a love many boomers share. RV parks, which allow owners to experience the great outdoors while also making a profit, are a great way to marry the two interests. According to IBISWorld, the RV park industry has steadily grown since 2010, raking in $6 billion in revenue in 2015.
- Senior care. Unfortunately, as boomers are aging, so are their parents, so the need for senior care is expanding. “Aging in place” is becoming increasingly popular as seniors strive to stay in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible, making in-home care services especially profitable. The senior care market has seen 12.6 percent growth over the last five years to 2015 and is worth $13 billion.
- Fitness. Baby boomers care about their health and want to stay in shape to avoid aging and disease. As such, the fitness industry has seen a large movement of 50+ individuals not only joining gyms but also starting their own fitness-related businesses. As millennials are also increasingly health conscious, the amount of money spent on fitness continues to increase, and the industry as a whole is worth $27 billion as of January 2016. From gyms to fitness-related technology, this is one industry that’s good for boomers’ health and their pocketbooks.
How Do We Start our Business?
Embrace new marketing strategies. Gone are the days of simply running a weekly ad in the newspaper. Successful businesses are fast turning to social media to engage with their clients. Boomers need to be willing to step outside their comfort zone with technology and embrace popular marketing vehicles including Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. While many baby boomers are reluctant to get into social media, it's an absolute must. The opportunity to network and join supportive mini-communities goes beyond, in my experience, anything a chamber of commerce might offer—or at least will complement it in a different way.
Along with social media, you may want to consider establishing a healthy web presence. "Content marketing and other forms of digital marketing, such as cost-per-click ads are driving forces in today’s marketing," says Kenneth Sytian, an established web designer in the Philippines. "Of course, there is still a time and place for traditional media and many businesses will still find great success with print, television, and radio," he added.
So what does retirement mean to Entrepreneurial Baby Boomer men or women who have successfully woven passion into what we do as small business owners? Do we plan on retiring when we reach the age of 65? Do we even want to?