Small business ideas for older adults

5 Small Business Ideas for Older Adults

Small Business Ideas for Older Adults is Nothing New

As the saying goes, “60 is the new 40.” People in their 60s are experiencing unprecedented levels of vitality, confidence, and fulfillment, often associated with those a decade or two younger. This shift can be attributed to longer, healthier lifespans and increased engagement in joyful, fulfilling activities. One area where older adults are thriving is entrepreneurship.

Surprising Statistics on Older Entrepreneurs

Here are some interesting information you may not have heard before about business and adults in their 50’s and 60’s:

  • According to The Kauffman Index of Startup Activity, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity in the U.S. is among those aged 55 to 64 years old. This has been the case for the past 15 years.
  • In 2016, people aged 55 to 64 made up 25% of new entrepreneurs, up from less than 15% in 1996, as per a study by the Kauffman Foundation.
  • A 2015 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that people aged 65 and older had the highest self-employment rate of any age group, credited to their accumulated business knowledge and access to capital.
  • More than half (54%) of America’s small business owners are over 50 years old, according to a survey by Guidant Financial. Specifically, 33% are between 50-59 years old, 17% are 60-69, and 4% are 70 and above.
  • People aged 55 and older own a disproportionately high 50.9% of U.S. small businesses, despite making up only 21% of the population, as per a survey of 3,000 entrepreneurs by SCORE.

The data clearly shows that entrepreneurship among older adults, particularly those over 50 or 55, is increasingly common and a significant trend in the U.S. economy.

Why Older Adults Make Great Entrepreneurs

Starting a business can be a rewarding way for older adults to stay active, engaged, and earn supplemental income. With decades of life experience and wisdom, older entrepreneurs are well-positioned to identify niche markets and creative business concepts. Their accumulated knowledge, skills, and access to capital can give them a competitive edge in the entrepreneurial landscape.

5 Small Business Ideas for Older Adults

To help my fellow over 50 crowd, we’ve compiled 5 small business ideas for older adults to get your entrepreneurial juices flowing.

Artisan Crafts Business

Many older adults have been engaging in arts or crafts for years. Turn your passion into a profitable business by selling handmade items like jewelry, pottery, woodworking, quilts, and more online through marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, eBay, or at local craft fairs and flea markets. Creating an e-commerce website can also help showcase your artisan goods.

Senior Relocation Services

Let’s face it: by the time you get to your 50’s or 60’s, there’s a good chance you’ve moved a number of times. With your understanding of the moving process and the unique needs of older adults, you could start a senior relocation business. Services may include downsizing, packing, moving coordination, resettling assistance, and more to help seniors transition smoothly.

This is especially true if you live in a place that’s desirable for seniors, or a thriving active adult community. Put your insider knowledge to use while helping others get acclimated to the area.

Pet Care Services

Do you love animals? Pet-sitting, dog walking, grooming services or running a doggy daycare from your home are all great business ideas. Pet care is always in demand and can provide a steady stream of income. Market your trustworthy services to working professionals and traveling pet owners.

This is another business that can be enhanced by location. If you live in an active adult community where people regularly travel for extended periods of time, this might be a great opportunity for you to market these services in your own community. In addition, many older adults have older pets, and their needs are different than their younger counterparts. Pet owners may be relieved to know that their family member is being care for close to home and by someone who will take their unique needs into consideration. A great small business idea for older adults doesn’t even have to mean leaving the house.

Gardening/Landscaping Business

Green thumbs can start a small gardening, landscaping or lawn care service for residential clients. Offer mowing, planting, weeding, pruning and other services to keep yards looking beautiful. This active outdoor work has an added bonus in that it promotes health while earning profits! In addition, younger adults can be hired (either as employees or contractors) to handle some of the more strenuous tasks while you focus on customer service or marketing.

Evidence suggests that the popularity of gardening and yard work has been increasing. From the pandemic lockdowns which saw people at home and looking for things to do, increased concerns about food security, to the recognition of the benefits of gardening, such as stress relief, improved mental health, and a sense of community, gardening and landscaping are growing in popularity. Once thought of as an “old people activity,” a survey found that four in five 18-34-year-olds think gardening is “cool”. A gardening or landscaping business could be the perfect small business idea for older adults to help teach younger folks while earning a profit doing something they love.

Consulting/Coaching Services

I put this one last because this one is more obvious than the previous small business ideas for older adults. If you’ve been working in a specific field for decades, leverage your professional expertise by offering consulting or coaching services. Whether it’s management consulting, tax preparation, tutoring, life coaching, or industry-specific advising, you can be the guide that professionals and students need. Market your services locally or expand your reach online.

The sad reality is that many companies downsize older adults because they want the experience and expertise but don’t want to pay for it. This may be the perfect opportunity to branch out on your own and become your own boss.

Seize the Opportunity

The possibilities are endless when it comes to small business ideas for older adults. When you combine your skills, interests, and entrepreneurial spirit with proper research, planning, and marketing, an encore career as a small business owner could be the perfect way to spend your final working years or even your retirement.

At Paradise, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities faced by older entrepreneurs. As a proud member of the over 50 crowd and a small business owner, we’re always excited to help others embark on an entrepreneurial journey. If you need assistance starting your own business or want to bounce some ideas around, contact us to set up a free, confidential consultation.

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