Working for Yourself at 50+

Written by: Cynthia Brown, Business Advisor with Navigate Enterprise Center

Recently I met with a client to discuss starting his own consulting business. After many years working as a professional in his field with a long, impressive resume and director level positions, he suddenly found himself over the age of 50 and back in the job market.  He talked about the challenges of the job hunt and knowing how his age and level of experience might work against him.

This is becoming a common scenario. Trends are showing that the US population, in general, is getting older and many are staying in the workforce longer and delaying retirement.  Many 50+ adults are finding themselves searching for employment or trying to find ways to create supplemental income.  As a result, many are turning to entrepreneurship and self-employment as an option.  A recent study found that about 26 percent of all new startups were formed by people between the ages of 55 and 65. That’s up from 15 percent in 1996.

For generations, creating and owning a business has been a path to financial success and economic mobility.  Self-employment can be a great option for those finding themselves in this predicament. Years of experience or knowledge in a particular field lend the perfect expertise for going out on your own. Being a small business owner can give you the control and flexibility over work hours and income that can be ideal for the mature worker.

While going out on your own can be an intimidating process there are plenty of resources available to assist the new entrepreneur.  JFCS is excited to partner with AARP to offer Work for [email protected]+℠ a new initiative launched by AARP Foundation, with support from The Hartford. The program helps low- and moderate-income older adults explore opportunities to work for themselves and take the right steps toward successful self-employment.  Work for [email protected]+ looks at self-employment paths in contracting, freelancing, micro-business and social enterprise, and helps people identify their marketable traits, talents, and skills. JFCS through our Navigate Enterprise Center can assist with writing a business plan, accessing capital, and providing the technical expertise to start and manage a small business.

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