side hustle baby boomers

Side Hustles Through the Ages: Baby Boomers Account for Most Self-Employed Workers

There are a multitude of important issues facing people age 50 and up today, from caregiving and mindful living to making our money last. If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking to achieve balance between living in the moment and looking toward the future, wondering if you’ve built a big enough nest egg for whatever that next stage of your life looks like. In order to achieve our dreams, keeping our careers alive after 50 is imperative for many of us Baby Boomers. But what can you do to stay ahead of the curve when you feel like the lone dinosaur in the conference room? Consider joining the “Gray-preneur Club.”

Embrace the gray

A gray-preneur is defined as an older person embarking on an entrepreneurial journey later in life. In this infographic commissioned by the Best Masters Program, we get a glimpse of challenges older Americans face, including ageism. But there are also amazing opportunities available to those of us who are willing to embrace the gray and continue to work away.

According to a study conducted by FreshBooks, 49 percent of all self-employed workers are Baby Boomers, compared to 33 percent of Gen Xers and 18 percent of millennials.

It should come as no shock that we are a hard-working bunch. But no matter what age you are when you start a business, it can still be an intimidating endeavor.



Encore! Your second-act

One way to dip your toe into gray-preneurship is to consider a side hustle.

“Starting a side business while working a full-time job will undoubtedly be difficult, but it’s doable,” side hustle expert, Ryan Robinson, said.

Still wondering if you’re ready for an encore? See if any of these statements resonate with you:

  • My career has helped me build for retirement, but it’s just work; I don’t feel fulfilled. Now is the time for you to dig deep and focus on developing a passion-based hustle. If not now, when?
  • I’m sick of sitting behind a desk for 8 hours a day. If this sounds like you, try tapping into your strengths and avoiding your weaknesses (like sitting behind a desk). Deborah Sweeney recommends tapping into your strengths and avoiding your weaknesses. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still think big, but you should rely on your instincts and the reality of your wise years.
  • I’m ready to call my own shots. You’ve reached the point in your life where you want more control over your work. This is what makes a side hustle so attractive. Starting a hustle of your own can dissipate the loss of control you feel at your 9 to 5, where you’re working under someone else. As your side hustle begins to bring you joy, the negatives at work don’t have as much power over you.
  • I’d like to slow down, but I’m not retiring yet! You’re not ready to abandon your current career—just yet. By developing a freelance career based on your current skills and expertise, you can help ease out of full-time work and inch toward your second act.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that starting a side hustle is thrilling. It provides room for growth, opportunities to learn and a new income stream that can help fund those bucket-list adventures.

Side hustling has its privileges

Growing older means more experience, among other advantages. Thanks to years of experience, as research shows, we are primed for success as we re-imagine our careers. Use the following skill sets you’ve developed throughout your career to leverage your burgeoning side hustle:

  • Work ethic: We’re seasoned. We’ve made mistakes and learned from them. Experience cannot be taught.
  • Professionalism: We have a proven track record. We have the background and good sense to know what works and what doesn’t. We don’t need pep talks, because we forge ahead and problem solve.
  • A vast network: We have current and former colleagues, internal and external clients, and valuable business acquaintances that we have made over the course of our careers. More contacts mean more potential investors, clients and advisors.
  • Reliable credit: More assets and better credit make us more likely to obtain the necessary loans to fund new business.

We may be grayer than we would like, but we also have a burning desire to continue exploring possibilities, to celebrate discovery over decline, and to seek out opportunities to live the best life there is.


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Re-imagining old

It’s time to smash stereotypes and celebrate those of us who don’t let our age define us. For a dose of inspiration, meet Lyn Slater, a teacher who at 65 became an internet fashion sensation (and boasts 550,000 Instagram followers). Tony DiCosta, 67, shifted gears late in life to pursue his second act as a personal fitness trainer. Bill and Linda Petry, a married couple, joined the gray-preneur club together as innkeepers. These three examples are ideal side hustle businesses that serve as great inspiration for aspiring side hustlers.

Whether you are considering your second act in business or are already onto your third or fourth, I hope you are inspired to start up that side hustle you’ve always dreamed of and disrupt the status quo.

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