For some Americans, the best part of life starts at retirement. In a perfect world this new stage of life means no more answering to upper management, battling a 40 hour work week or being stuck in rush hour traffic. They can come and go as they please. And while spontaneous trips to the shore and the relaxing mood of an empty house may be a draw for some, for others, the novelty wears off quickly and there is an undeniable void. They feel a need to get back to work and often become entrepreneurs as a way to balance their desire for independence and their passion for success.
Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurship is not just for the millennial generation. In fact, people over 50 are one of the fastest growing groups of entrepreneurs in the U.S., according to a recent Gallup study. But what does this booming sector of the country need to know before making the leap post-retirement? Here are four tried and true tips for a successful entrepreneurship later in life.
Pick your passion
Make sure your new business is something you actually love to do. This is true at any age, really. Whether you want to start your own consultancy firm, become a furniture craftsman, open an art studio or run an action-adventure tourism service, the possibilities are endless. Why waste your time and money starting a business you’re going to hate in two years? Did you know 70 percent of Americans are unhappy about their jobs? Don’t become a statistic. Instead become happier and healthier doing something you love.
Sure, you might have a strange affinity for dressing your cats up in wacky outfits, but does that mean there’s a huge demand for kitty-couture? Probably not. Before moving full steam ahead on your business idea, start by asking a group of colleagues, mentors or advisors if your idea has weight. Friends and family can help, too. You can even form a focus group or crowd source market research to test your concepts and get feedback. If you discover nine out of 10 people would shell out beaucoup bucks for a feline fedora, you could be onto something. Otherwise, back to the drawing board.
Stay fresh and current
Social media and technology’s influence on businesses aren’t going away anytime soon. So make sure you brush up on your digital skills. Whether you need to develop an app to better communicate your service or product to consumers, or you simply need to keep your finger on the pulse of the marketplace through Twitter and Facebook, it’s wise to embrace all platforms and keep up-to-date on what’s out there.
Plan and protect
Starting a new business can be, well, risky business. It’s important to protect the nest egg you created prior to retirement, in addition to safeguarding your new business venture. When making the decision to exit retirement and enter the workforce, be sure to get all your paperwork in order.
“New business owners in their later years should always be prepared for the unexpected,” says Erie Insurance Vice President and Product Manager, Commercial Insurance, Leo Heintz. “The right insurance policy is a must-have. It can help support your family if something happens to you. It can also ensure your business can continue to operate, which benefits employees and their families. Everyone benefits.”
It’s essential to have the right kind of business insurance, too, to protect against personal and business liability (think lawsuits) and damage from storms, fires and other natural disasters. It’s also worth considering coverage for owned, rented or personal vehicles you drive “on the job” as well as workers’ compensation coverage for any employees you bring on board. If under or uninsured, these types of unwanted situations can leave new business owners with empty pockets and full of regret.
While starting a new business can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor, it’s essential to talk to an insurance agent to get all your important questions answered. He or she can make sure you’re financially covered and protected. And don’t forget to surround yourself with supportive friends and family members as you enter this new, thrilling stage of life.