For many people who are either nearing retirement or already enjoying a much-deserved break, the idea of starting a completely new business might seem a little crazy. After all, you worked for years; this is your chance to finally relax.
Yet for many older adults, starting a new business is exactly how they want to spend their retirement. Take 68-year-old Paul Tasner, for example. NPR recently interviewed Tasner about his company Pulpworks, which he founded in 2011 after his former position was eliminated. The simple concept of Pulpworks is that it makes packaging from pulp (paper, cardboard, or even sugarcane fiber) that’s molded to fit a product.
In his interview, Tasner says that he wishes he had started his company earlier, but the rise in older adult entrepreneurs suggests his business opportunity might have come at the exact right time.
And he’s not the only one. The number of older Americans (age 55-64) who started new businesses in 2012 made up nearly a quarter of all new businesses in general.
3 Reasons Older Adults Are Ideal Entrepreneurs
Years of experience: By the time you reach retirement, you’ve likely been a working adult for 30 or 40 years, potentially more. Perhaps you’ve even worked in different fields, giving you a more diverse skill set. You’ve learned a lot in your time as an employee, and you can bring a lot of experience to the table.
Network connections: Because you worked for so long—potentially in the field where you’re starting your business—you probably have some strong connections you can call on for advice, financial backing, or even a partnership.
Great ideas: You have years worth of those “light bulb moments” stored up. Your wisdom and experience makes you prime for designing a company that fills a true niche or addresses a significant problem.
What Not to Do When Starting a Business as a Retiree
You have the great idea and think you can make it work. Before you get too far ahead of yourself, here are three things you should NOT do when starting a business as an older adult.
Use your retirement savings to fund your new business: Even if you might be entering a second career, you still want to make sure you’re prepared and have taken care of your future needs. You don’t want to risk your nest egg on your new business only to find yourself back at square one.
Discount the importance of mentors: Starting a business involves a lot of complications you might not have considered. Find someone who has experience starting a small business and forge a relationship.
Wear yourself out: Make sure you still take time for yourself.
Do you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Let us know in the comment section!