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Over 50 and Ready to Start a Business? Free Resources To Inspire You to Make it Happen

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Over 50 and Ready to Start a Business? Free Resources To Inspire You to Make it Happen

By Caron_Beesley, Contributor
Published: September 25, 2013 Updated: September 25, 2013

Over 50 and thinking of starting your own business? Looking for real-world, actionable information to start your own business?Image of encore entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs over the age of 50 are one of the fastest growing groups of new business owners. Perhaps you are looking to turn a hobby into a business and finally have the resources to do so. Or you want the flexibility or supplemental income that running a business or being your own boss affords. With a lifetime of experience, skills and connections under your belt, why not?

Making it Happen

Take, for example, Portland-based husband-and-wife team Dave Faul and Sandra Yates, who started Wash n’ Roll Pet Grooming business after more than 25 years of employment in the women’s apparel and real estate industries respectively. Both Faul and Yates were animal lovers, but when Faul suggested that they start a business washing dogs and cats in a van parked a client’s curbs, Yates said, “Thinking he was nuts was an understatement.” However, after three years in business, Wash n’ Roll has expanded to two vans and serves the entire Portland metropolitan area.

Faul began research for a new business when he realized his job could evaporate in a corporate merger or store closure. He learned that the U.S. has a $30 billion pet industry. He also looked at who spends a lot of those dollars. “The baby boomers, whose children are getting older or who are empty-nesters, are willing to spend money on keeping their fur kids happy,” he said.

Sounds a common enough business venture, but mobile pet groomers weren’t prevalent in the Northwest at the time. Faul attended a pet grooming school in Albany for six months, and Yates wrote a business plan.

In need of funding, they approached local bankers who said the business had to operate for two or three years before they could get a business loan; instead, the couple paid their own startup costs. They also received assistance from SCORE. SCORE members volunteer as counselors for small entrepreneurs. “They were really helpful,” Yates said, “and it was surprising that it was all free.”

Growing mostly by word of mouth, the business now has three part-time and three full-time employees.

More Nuggets of Wisdom

Other entrepreneurs who have found success at 50+ talked to AARP and offered the following useful tips for aspiring encore entrepreneurs:

"Find a business mentor. I went to SCORE. Having a good mentor helps you cut through the BS. They will tell you like it is. Do you have a good idea? Will your concept work? Once you're 50, you don't want to waste your time." Annemarie du LeBohn, 51, launched a motivational speaking business after a former career in corporate marketing.

"Develop your team, people who will help you take your business where you want it to go. For me, it's my business coach, website support and others. Take the risk and have fun. Unlike during my younger years when I wanted to prove myself and was driven to 'be successful,' this time around it's about leaving a legacy and pursuing dreams. It's about incorporating my business and retirement goals with my personal values." Barbara Hyatte Boustead, 61, a licensed clinical social worker for 37 years, runs Mary's Daughter to provide daily money management services to older adults and veterans.

"Know your product and know how to sell it. If you are familiar with the saying, 'selling ice to Eskimos,' you will be aware of the necessity as an entrepreneur to develop good salesmanship. You must develop the ability to sell, or better put, to convince people to buy. Also, think carefully about how to market your product, and be 100-percent confident about the merit of your product or service. My long career in the arts taught me one important lesson: if the main door is shut, look for the side or back door. They always exist and are much less guarded." Yuval Zaliouk, 74, a former orchestral conductor, who at age 50, (while still conducting) started Almondina Cookies, an online cookie business.

Inspired? – Free Resources that Can Help You Start your Encore Business

Check out SBA’s 50+ Entrepreneurs web guide for tools, resources and training that can help you assess your readiness to get started and walk you through the steps involved in starting a business – including connecting you with a free mentor, finding the right business type (home-based, online, etc.), as well as the legal and regulatory steps involved such as incorporating your business, getting the right permits and so on.

About the Author:

Caron Beesley

Contributor

Caron Beesley is a small business owner, a writer, and marketing communications consultant. Caron works with the SBA.gov team to promote essential government resources that help entrepreneurs and small business owners start-up, grow and succeed. Follow Caron on Twitter: @caronbeesley

Comments:

Don't let age stop you from realizing your dreams. It's not always the case, but we normally make the best decisions in life as we get older. Hopefully we are more wiser to run a healthy business the older we get. [This post was edited to remove a link. Please review our Community Best Practices for more information about how best to participate in our online discussions. Thank you.]
In fact this is the best thing you can do after a long and successful career working for somebody. You have learnt the ropes, hopefully there would have been quite a bit of job rotation, you have developed contacts. Now is the time to capitalise on your knowledge and skill sets. Do what you love. You will definitely succeed.
Hi, Harry! Thank you for the insightful comment - glad you found the article useful.
Hi, thanks for the info. Do you know of any resources designed specifically for attorneys or those providing legal services? Thanks.
Another tip for people starting business while over 50 is to find products or services near to your heart as well as near to heart of your age group. Baby boomer's catering for baby boomers, seniors serving seniors, etc.
Why limit sales market to just my age group?? Seems a fooling way of planning to make the most money you possibly can.
There are many products that are age-centric.
If the main door is shut, look for the side or back door. Changing the way of thinking, strengthening market and service consciousness is very important for a small business.
It is never too late to start a business. Older entrepreneurs may be more experienced and patient in getting the business going. Good tips and resources.
50 years can just be a beginning for many people, since there is no end of scope if anyone is planning to start their own, at or after 50 years of age. I also believe that at this age one finds the maximum exposure & wisdom to plan out any business strategy at ease.

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