Boomers Mean Business, Baby!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if there ever was a great in history to be over 50, this is it!  Statistics prove that the most productive and prosperous years are between the ages of 40- 60 and once again the research backs it up.

According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, Americans in the 55-64 age group start new businesses at a higher rate than those in their twenties and thirties and have sustained that rate in every single year from 1996 to 2013.  Last year, for example, businesses started by those aged 55 to 64 accounted for nearly one-quarter of all new businesses started.  In fact, 55 – 64 year olds, have had the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the last 10 years!   Kind of adds a whole new meaning to the term, “Golden Years.”

A 2012 study sponsored by the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association, including Babson College and London Business School, found senior citizens, who choose to continue to work, tend to be entrepreneurs with more than 42% running established businesses, 10% starting or running a new businesses and over 25% intending to start a business.

I’m tickled by stats like these, which is hardly a surprise since I come by business-ownership, naturally.  My father owned a real estate brokerage firm, my grandmother operated a home-based beauty parlor, and my grandfather, who was a mail carrier by trade, educated himself in the stock market and parlayed his salary into a solid investment portfolio that funded his retirement…and trips around the world!  I grew up accepting being-your-own-boss as just business as usual.

What makes this new crop of entrepreneurs unique, however, is how these business owners are conducting their enterprises…or more accurately, WHERE they are conducting their business.  The 2012 survey says 69% of businesses now start in the home. Not surprisingly, we go-getter women are more likely to have a home-based business —with 72% of start-ups being operated by women.  (…go girl-power!…)

This new-millennium business lifestyle has also prompted a rethink in the type of work being done.  While home businesses continue to offer services like freelancing, independent contracting, consulting and virtual assistance, more businesses (42%) are consumer businesses than any other type —  such as Internet based and eCommerce.

A shift favoring Internet and home-based businesses is music to my ears! I started my training business with the sole purpose of running it as a “location-independent” enterprise.   Location-independent means that I can operate it from anywhere in the world – from a beach-side cottage in Costa Rica…a pied-à-terre in Paris…or cliff-side overlooking the Norwegian fiords.  (…hey, a girl’s gotta dream!…)

I’m not so naïve as to think that starting a business in your later years is going to be all rainbows and unicorns.  (…I will be addressing some of the challenges in future posts…)  There will be mistakes and missed opportunities along the way.  I remember my grandfather telling me how he missed out on an investment in a fledgling company because he didn’t think the idea would catch on.  That company was Polaroid!  Regardless of your age, it’s going to demand focus, commitment and courage to step out of your comfort zone and take on something new.  What I am suggesting, however, is that we “grown folks” benefit from the wisdom of years, a more disciplined work ethic than our younger generations and often a financial cushion that better positions us in our entrepreneurial pursuits.

Good on you, if you are one of the ones who had the foresight to start contributing to your 401K at age 25 or were the recipient of a fat enough paycheck that you can now boast millions in your retirement account.  If, however, you are among the millions whose retirement “Plan A” was to rely on Social Security, a pension plan, personal savings, or real estate investments, to see you through, the devastating aftershocks of the recent Great Recession might just have you scrambling for “Plan B, C or D!”

I love a quote by Napoleon Hill.  In his watershed classic Think and Grow Rich he says, “If you want riches you must refuse to walk down any path that leads to poverty.”  This implies, of course, that we recognize and are aware of which path we are currently walking!  How do you know?  Look at the results you are getting.

I’m sure you’ve heard the definition of ‘habit insanity’ doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.  In order to get something that you’ve never had, it will require that you do something you’ve never done.  My question to you is, when it comes to capitalizing on the entrepreneurial gravy-train and exploiting this incredible time in history for the 50+ crowd, what impact will your present actions have on your future?

 PLEASE POST A COMMENT: When it comes to redefining your “golden Years,” are you ready to do what you’ve never done in order to get what you’ve never had?  I would love to hear your perspective!

For information on my coaching and training services designed to equip baby-boomers to market their brilliance and transform their lifetime expertise into successful business enterprises, contact me:  PJ@pamelajoakes.com

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2 comments

  1. Great article. I too am of the “golden Years” group to start a business. I’ve started a christian t-shirt and jewelry store online and am having fun learning how to drive traffic to the site, what type of web interface I want to have with my customers, and applying my 30 plus years of service industry experience to this venture. OurKingsCloset.com is still very new – but I am having fun and look forward to seeing how it grows. I agree with your encouragement to get out their and try something – especially if you have a passion about it. I found your statistics about the most productive and prosperous years being between the ages of 40- 60. Having been in the corporate world for so many years and knowing others that are around the 50 year mark and seemingly being encouraged to move on – I believe that taking control of the situation and being entrepreneurs is an awesome and empowering choice. I look forward to reading more of your blogs. I found you through NAPW.

    1. Hi Marcia, I am so encouraged by your post! I agree, running your own online business is fun! I wish you every success in your new venture and I’ll be sure to check out your site!

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