Not ready to quit: Retirees are embracing entrepreneurship

When I set up my retirement coaching practice earlier this year, I had no idea I was one of a quarter of million Canadians who start their own business every year. Entrepreneurship is a growing trend, especially among baby boomers.

Many are pulled to self-employment after retirement because they want to leave or are forced out of their jobs, but they are not quite ready to stop working. While some phase out of the workforce by working part-time, and others turn to volunteer or mentorship opportunities, more and more retirees are becoming entrepreneurs.

In fact, the over-50 crowd is one of the fastest growing demographics for new business owners – responsible for 30 per cent of new start ups. Their reasons vary: they may be fulfilling a lifelong passion, or turning a hobby into a business, wanting to try something completely different, be their own boss for the first time, or supplement their retirement income.

I’ve been both a business owner and a consultant earlier in my career, so I have had experience with what it takes to start and run a successful business. But even an experienced entrepreneur will tell you, getting a new business off the ground is challenging!

According to a recent CIBC study, half of new start-ups fail within five years.

If you are thinking about or have already taken the leap into self-employment after retirement, what can you do to be among the 50 per cent of new businesses that succeed?

Fortunately, there is an abundance of resources available for those determined to be their own boss. You can hire a business coach, find a mentor, or sign up for classes at your local college. There are also articles, blog posts, podcasts, webinars, tele-seminars, e-books, YouTube videos and slideshows where you can find a wealth of free information online on everything from developing business plans, marketing, customer acquisition, sales funnels, financing, lines of credits, angel investors, cash flow, etc.

There are also a number of agencies in Canada that offer free and/or affordable assistance in setting up and running a small business including:

  • Small Business Bureaus – excellent provincial resources that offer info on how to register your business, checklists, templates, expert advice, etc. (e.g. http://smallbusinessbc.ca/resources/howtos-checklists/)
  • Women’s Enterprise Centres: provincial organizations for women entrepreneurs, offer an expansive library and training whether your starting a new business, purchasing, exiting, or growing a business (e.g. http://womensenterprise.ca/)
  • BDC Advisory Services: Get objective, practical advice on a range of subjects to help solve management challenges across your business.
  • Industry Canada: what you need to know, grow and compete as your own boss in Canada.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, but will provide a good start if you are hoping to become a successful entrepreneur.

Are you among the thousands of Canadians who have launched a business after retirement? What advice do you have for those who want to pursue self-employment?

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