Welcome to a new guest post series where professionals share their insights. Today's column focuses on seniors reinventing their careers through home-based businesses.
Guest Post by Carla Lopez
If you’re considering getting back into the working world after retirement, you aren’t alone. People are living longer, healthier lives, and as a result, many seniors are coming out of retirement to begin anew. In fact, some statistics indicate over 20 percent of all new entrepreneurs are between the ages of 55 and 64.
Is entrepreneurialism right for you? Read on for navigating the whys and hows of starting your own home-based venture later in life.
Home sweet home
As AllBusiness explains, there are plenty of advantages in working from home, particularly for seniors. It’s a flexible opportunity, so you can still enjoy the freedom of your retirement, setting your own schedule, opting who you work with, and so forth. You gain all the tax advantages of being a small business owner, yet you don’t need much capital to get your business off the ground. On top of all that, if you have any mobility concerns, you have the convenience of not having to travel to a workplace.
Develop a game plan
In order to be successful in a new business, it’s essential to map out a plan. Consider making a checklist identifying your to-dos. As you firm up your ideas, explore this guide, which leads you through all the ins and outs of starting a new business. It helps you understand everything from gauging startup costs, to researching your target market, to various financing options. Acknowledge your overall goals in order to carve out steps to meet them, and you’ll be on your way to success.
Choose your direction
Your new business might be very straightforward. Perhaps you have a hobby you’re ready to put to work, or you want to dabble in something you used to do full-time. Or maybe you plan to take your expertise to others as a consultant. These are great options for a new entrepreneurial venture!
On the other hand, we sometimes know we want to start a new project, but aren’t sure what direction to go. Perhaps finances are driving your decision or you simply miss the challenge of the working world. You might even have a loose idea of what you want to do, but aren’t sure how to frame it.
As an example, with the continued growth in tech, many people are drawn toward launching a startup. If that’s on your radar, Fortune points out you don’t have to be a computer guru to be successful, but you do need to be innovative. The climate calls for startups to be fresh, challenging, scalable, and disruptive. Outsource as needed to get off the ground, and be sure you hire team members who are fluent in their respective crafts.
Pool your resources
Before you go too far, you should contemplate what resources you have to get your venture off the ground. Chances are you would prefer to avoid touching your nest egg, and thankfully, there are alternatives.
There are a number of small business loans to consider, and it’s best to research your options to find a good fit. Your well-formed business plan can help you secure approval, and lenders will examine your credit history, just as for any other loan.
Various organizations also offer assistance. Some states participate in the Self-Employment Assistance program, or SEA program. Career Trend notes there are also grants available to some seniors who are starting their own businesses. Check in with local government and business organizations as well, since they sometimes offer incentives to new businesses.
Count on connections
When it comes to inexpensive fuel for getting your small business up and running, little beats networking. Get involved with your community, touch base with neighbors, and let your friends, family members, and former associates know what you’re up to. Consider joining industry-related forums, local business groups, and associations for small business owners. You can even look into meetups relating to what you’re doing.
Prep your spiel
Sometimes, people who are new to a leadership role feel awkward when first building their small business network. If talking about your enterprise doesn’t come naturally, one idea is to write out an elevator script and rehearse it. You’ll be well-prepared for impromptu opportunities, and word of mouth can be a powerful tool – put it to work!
Build a website
Nowadays, businesses will have a difficult time succeeding if they don’t have an attractive, user-friendly website for their customers/clients to use. According to USA Today, a website can help you build your brand, establish credibility, and help market your services/products. And while you can easily build a website over the course of a weekend using pre-built templates, it’s often best to hire a pro to create one for you. When you begin your hunt, it’s important to look for the right WordPress developer. As Upwork notes, WordPress sites can be simple or more advanced, and freelance WordPress developers should be able to fully navigate the entire WordPress content management system, including the ecosystem, back-end and maintenance. The right developer will create a website that is both engaging for your clients and that can take your business to the next level. As you start to interview freelancers, keep in mind that you could pay between $30 and $150 per hour for a WordPress developer depending on the size of your project.
Since you’re planning on working from home, it’s important to carve out a workspace that suits you. Remember any supplies you purchase are business expenses and can be depreciated, so keep your receipts.
Be sure to set up an area that promotes productivity and is comfortable. Inc. recommends aiming for a well-lit, uncluttered home office in a quiet corner of your home where you won’t face routine distractions. If you need a production area, space for customers to park, or any other details for your new venture, be sure to take that into account.
The time is ripe for seniors interested in a home-based business. Create a solid plan, pool resources, build a network, and establish an appropriate workspace. With your thorough planning, you’ll be set up for success.
Photo Credit: KatarzynaBialasiewicz (iStock)