Since 2001, people age 50-62 have been the fastest growing group of new entrepreneurs in the U.S. In fact, according to the U. S. Small Business Administration, as of the end of 2006 53% of all American small businesses are run by an owner who is age 50 or over.
Now, a good number of the these businesses were started by people in their thirties and forties who are now over age 50.
But an increasing number of Boomers are starting their very first entrepreneurial venture after age 50.
As with many other activities Boomers have been involved in over the past 50 years, this group of individuals born between 1946 and 1964 is once again having a dramatic sociological impact.
There are number of reasons why the entrepreneurial path is becoming more and more attractive to the 50+ Boomers.
Arguably the primary driver behind this Boomer entrepreneurial bonanza is the dramatic reinterpretation Boomers are giving to the concept of “retirement”.
For the parents of the Boomers, retirement meant largely or totally stopping traditional work after a certain age. My father, who passed away several years ago at age 85, declared upon retiring at age 57 – “I’ll never work again” and he did a pretty good job of living up to this proclamation until the day he died.
Not so for the Boomers in their late fifties and now early sixties.
According to a 2004 survey by AARP, more than 75% of respondents ages 50-62 declared their intention to keep working well into their sixties, and beyond for some.
This translates into a gigantic group of people, more than 58 million, who isn’t anywhere near ready to stop working as the group’s members approach or have just passed age 60.
But, after a bit of research one sees a mismatch immediately.
Only a relatively few corporations are showing a willingness so far to encourage corporate managers to stay on after age 60, particularly if they want to work a new, more flexible schedule.
So, there don’t seem to be enough job slots for millions and millions of Boomers who want to hang on a while longer in the corporate world.
And the energy-sapping reality of corporate employment for the past two decades has mentally and physically burnt out many Boomers, who are ready to do almost any kind of work other than in a large corporate setting!
So, here’s the reality facing 50+ Boomers: millions of them want to stay in the corporate world, but the corporate world doesn’t want them.
And millions more can’t get away far enough or fast enough from a corporate job, but want to keep working!
These twin realities lead to the “Sixty-Four Million Dollar” question: If you can’t find work after age 60 in the corporate world, or don’t want anything more to do with the “land of cubicles”, how do you keep working?
Create your own work, of course!
This has always been the essence of self-employment: to sell your skills, knowledge and talents in the open market to customers or clients highly motivated to buy your product or service, and by doing so create a new balance between work and leisure time that’s both fulfilling and financially rewarding.
There’s never been a better time in America to start your own business enterprise.
There are now a dozen or more ways to create a revenue stream from a business enterprise, including freelancing, running an eBay store, consulting, owning a franchise and more.
Costs for running your business have plummeted. Corporations annually buy billions of dollars of goods and services from small suppliers, and it seems like there isn’t any kind of service you can’t sell to time-starved working couples. Plus, the Web brings the global marketplace to you for a few dollars a month in web hosting fees.
By starting your own business, you have a very attractive opportunity to do work you love, supporting the lifestyle you want and boosting your retirement income all at the same time – so show a bit of courage and take the leap today!