By Robert Jones
April 25, 2017 — The good news about retirement is that it can be as much about beginnings as endings. While retirement often means concluding an existing employment contract, increasing numbers of people are grasping the opportunities that open up once they step away from the 9-5.
Today, worldwide connectivity through the internet means that, for most of us, there’s a whole planet of potential enterprise opportunity within easy reach. And many retirees are now considering starting up a retirement business – some to find a source of additional income, others simply in pursuit of an enriching or rewarding experience.
With such a staggering range of options, any remotely exhaustive guide to specific models would be futile. But, whether you’re looking to continue making use of talents you picked up during your career or to try your hand at something entirely new, taking the following three basic steps should put you in a much stronger position to get started.
Step 1: Understand what it is you want to achieve
This may sound like an obvious kicking-off point, but in fact it’s hard to overstate its fundamental importance in laying the groundwork for any retirement project.
A retirement business can be aimed at any number of different key goals: perhaps it’s chiefly about boosting finances, utilizing unique skills, exploring untapped creativity, or providing fresh challenge and stimulation. All of these are certainly great motivations, but it’s wise to have a very clear understanding of which ones apply to you before you start.
After all, very few such ventures will have completely smooth sailing from day one, and nearly all require some elements of compromise along the way. Knowing exactly what you’re aiming to achieve gives you a fixed point to navigate by.
If, for example, the main goal of your retirement business is to generate additional income, then ‘being your own boss’ might have to yield to prioritizing the needs of the customer. If, on the other hand you’re chiefly hoping to develop a new skill, then you may need to focus on this and decline any ‘easier’ opportunities offered to you on the basis of your existing talents.
The more definitive you can be about precisely what you hope to gain from the experience, the easier it will be to maintain a genuine sense of perspective and direction. Being decisive and realistic about your motivations up front will help enormously in satisfying both your own expectations and those of others.
Step 2: Consider what’s already in place
Assuming you’d (sensibly!) like to keep start-up costs as low as possible this is a good tip when launching any new enterprise: before looking to bring anything in from outside, take stock of your existing assets. Many of us have more of them than we might think.
They could of course include material items and equipment that can be redeployed directly in the new venture (or sold to provide some initial capital). Then again, they might equally include less tangible assets – perhaps an unused space you know of that could easily be converted into an office or workshop, or some of your old contacts with some experience in a relevant field.
The point is to assess and exploit your existing situation before you even consider any further investment. Cutting costs is always a no-brainer in any sort of business venture, but during the risky start up phase it is even more critical. Using existing assets not only lowers your initial outlays but also leaves you freer to focus on your all-important longer-term goals.
Step 3: Interview yourself (no tie required!)
As well as being frank with yourself about what it is you’re doing this for, you should also aim to go in with a good understanding of exactly what you’ll be bringing to the table.
Since you’re going to be your own boss, being honest with yourself about your full range of traits, skills and tendencies, will give you a good idea what sort of a boss (and employee) you’ll be. This is hugely valuable in terms of shaping your initial business plan, because you should be able to predict how that boss-employee ‘relationship’ is likely to play out in the long run.
The idea is to design a project that suits you. After your primary motivation, the key areas to consider are: your main interests, your preferred style of working, your skills and experience, and your limitations.
Your interests are hugely important because you’re very unlikely to stick at anything you’re not interested in (no matter how determined you think you are!). Your working style will impact on which types of enterprise are most suitable, so be mindful of factors such as your desire for social interaction and your preferred hours.
In terms of skills and limitations, be honest in assessing yourself: nobody knows you better than you, and nobody else is assessing you for once. Give yourself credit where it’s due and be open about what you find challenging, frustrating or dull. Perhaps you know that you don’t respond especially positively to time pressure, or that you’re far better on the phone than in writing, or that you’re perfectly happy changing your schedule around at short notice. Whatever you see as your key strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be seeing a lot more of them when working for yourself, so it’s helpful not to be taken by surprise!
Don’t forget, either, that your personal situation might lend itself better to diversification; depending on your specific retirement circumstances, you may find it preferable to pursue a few different leads than a single rigid business plan. For retirees who prefer to spread their focus across a number of less intensive projects, there are a huge number of specialized freelance organizations and home commerce websites available that allow for precisely that sort of approach. Some of the better lists out there give you the by specific topics of interest, or the number of hours per week you’re likely to be able to put in.
Thanks to the internet and the new markets it has created you can tailor your new venture to suit your own goals and motivations. Provided you are crystal clear on what they are before you get started, you’ll find there has never been a better time to start working for yourself as a retiree.
About the author:
Robert Jones is blog editor at Tubz Brands, a UK based vending franchise website.
Editor’s Note: Thanks Robert. This is very good advice for anyone considering starting up a business in retirement.
For further reading (Robert has provided some very informative links – check them out):
50 Best New Business Ideas
Keep Risks As Low As Possible
11 Options for Starting a New Business
Secondary Income Guide from Tubz
Comments Have you thought about starting your own business, or have actually done it? What kinds of lessons have you learned – good, bad, or ugly. Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.