There's a boom in small business, and a significant percentage of it is being driven by Boomers. As much as one-quarter of all new businesses are started by Boomers age 55 to 64, according to the 2017 Kauffman Index of Startup Activity. Older entrepreneurs, even beyond the age of 64, are becoming increasingly common.
The rise in Boomer businesses is not all that unusual. Highly skilled Boomers who are let go from the workplace find that they can leverage their expertise and skills into starting their own business. Boomers who may be tired of working for someone else may see a real opportunity in being self-employed. Still, Boomers should be aware of a sobering statistic reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics: Half of all small businesses fail by their fifth year.
That doesn't prevent plenty of Boomers from starting a business, but as with anything else, a key to success is going into it with your eyes wide open. Here's some great advice from a Forbes article by Robin Ryan. She spoke with three experts on business startups and garnered these main points:
Focus on a target audience: Your chances of success are greater if you target a niche and know exactly who your prospects are.
Define your perfect client: "You need to be clear and know the exact type of person you seek to work with, and who will benefit most from working with you."
Go where the prospects are: Once you know who you are targeting, look for them in the right places: the organizations they belong to, the meetings they attend, the publications they read, the websites they visit, etc.
My wife and I left the traditional workforce in our late 50s to strike out on our own. We started a small service business and ran it together for seven years. After selling that business, I became an independent marketing consultant/freelance writer. Both of these reinventions have worked well for me.
Starting a business isn't for every Boomer, but it definitely presents a viable option for many of us.