More Seniors Are Starting Home-Based Businesses. Should You?

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Written by Carla Lopez

Young adults dominate the entrepreneurial scene, but there’s another demographic that’s rising in the ranks of small business ownership: seniors. 42% of adults over 65 who are still in the workforce are running their own business, and another 25% intend to start one. While some older adults are launching traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, most new businesses start at home.

Why work from home?

We’d all love to work in our pajamas given the option, but that’s not the only reason to work from home. These are the advantages of a home-based business for seniors:

  • Avoid commuting: Short commutes are associated with greater happiness and productivity, and it doesn’t get much shorter than grabbing a cup of coffee and walking to your home office.
  • Save money: Eliminating the commute means you save money on fuel and car maintenance. You’ll also spend less on lunches and professional clothing for the office. And that’s just what you’ll save compared to a traditional job. Without the overhead costs of an office or retail space, home-based businesses cost a fraction of what brick-and-mortar businesses do.
  • Set your own schedule: While it’s just as important to stick to working hours when working from home, running a home-based business gives seniors the flexibility to set their own schedule and take time off as needed.
  • Customize your workspace: Vision and mobility problems can be a challenge to accommodate in the typical workplace. At home, however, seniors can create a workspace that’s perfectly suited to their needs.

Outfitting a home-based business

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should set up shop on the sofa. A productive, distraction-free workspace is important whether you’re in an office or at home. Creating a dedicated workspace also allows home-based entrepreneurs to take advantage of the home office deduction.

In addition to professional office furniture, seniors should purchase a computer and phone dedicated to work and equip them with the right business management tools. Rather than purchasing traditional business software, look to cloud-based tools for lower costs and greater functionality. Square’s tools, for example, integrate payments, reports, inventory, and payroll all into a single, affordable platform.

Types of home-based businesses

Most home-based businesses are sole proprietorships without employees, but that doesn’t mean they’re not full-fledged businesses. These are some of the businesses that today’s entrepreneurs are starting from home.

E-commerce businesses

Running an ecommerce business out of your home used to mean filling the spare room floor-to-ceiling with inventory. With the advent of dropshipping, however, ecommerce entrepreneurs can run an online store without managing physical inventory. Instead, products are shipped directly from suppliers to customers and only paid for after an order is placed. There are a wide range of products that can be sold as part of a dropshipping business, including apparel, electronics, home décor, and other shippable goods.

Consulting and freelancing businesses

Going solo is a popular move for seniors looking to maintain their career without maintaining full-time hours. Becoming a consultant or freelancer allows older adults to capitalize on connections formed during their career while allowing them to take on as much or as little work as they choose. You can offer your services on job boards like Upwork for a variety of freelance jobs, including a writer, photographer, or translator.

Writing and blogging

Starting an industry blog or writing for other established websites is another way to turn your professional expertise into a home-based business. Starting a successful blog is challenging, but seniors can grow their readership through guest posts and social media sharing.

Virtual administrative, accounting, and customer support

Seniors who want flexible work without the pressure of running and marketing a business should consider virtual services like customer support, bookkeeping, and administration. These jobs can be done via freelance marketplaces or outsourcing agencies.

There’s no reason to stay tethered to a cubicle in your senior years. If you want to keep earning income past retirement age, start a business that works for you. With a home-based business, you’ll have both the flexibility and the earning potential to truly maximize your senior years.

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