Thinking to start a home business after 50? You’re not alone. Baby Boomers and Gen Xers alike have started to notice a big gap in how much they’ve saved for retirement and how much they’ll actually need. Starting a new business after 50, even while you still work your day job, is a great way to fund the gap, earn passive income and really enjoy your golden years. Exploring home based business ideas should be part of your retirement planning. But I also know most late-career workers feel like they’re a one trick pony. You don’t have the skills or knowledge to start a business after 50. But I don’t agree. Here are 7 retirement business ideas that just about anyone could start in a home office after 50.
Set up a consulting business in your community or online. Offer a word from the wise to people interested in your skills and industry.
Say you spent the past 30 years working in marketing. You could start a business consulting other small business owners on how to do this on their own. You don’t even need to quit your day job to get started — start scaling your business on evenings and weekends and then switch over full time when it’s time to retire.
Your consulting services don’t have to be limited to your career expertise. Young Millennial professionals are constantly looking for advice on how to be, well, professionals. How to nail an interview, how to manage a team of employees, all of it. And you learned those skills long ago.
Selling Products Online
Selling products online is a booming niche that many businesses aren’t taking advantage of. According to BigCommerce, ecommerce is growing 23% year-over-year, yet 46% of American small businesses do not have a website. It’s a great way to earn passive income.
There are a few different models for this retirement business idea:
You sell items on your website that someone else manufactured. Your only job is to sell the items through advertising, content marketing, or other means. Once people make a purchase, the manufacturer ships the item, and you get a cut of the profits.
If you want to build extra income and reach your retirement goals, an online business selling physical goods is a great way to start. E-commerce is a booming market that is wide open for new players. According to eMarketer, e-commerce sales will see double-digit growth through 2020, topping $4 trillion, and dwarfing economic growth in developed countries.
And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to create your own products to sell, or buy them in bulk from retailers. If you learn how to drop ship, you can start a scalable online business from scratch to boost your retirement income.
What Is Drop Shipping?
Drop shipping is a retail model where the products a business sells aren’t stored in the same place. In fact, when the business sells a product, they immediately purchase the item from a third party supplier who then ships it directly to the customer.
Simply put, you handle the transaction—including customer service–while someone else deals with the shipping and handling. You don’t stock your own inventory, but keep it with the wholesaler or manufacturer to fulfill orders.
There are a lot of benefits to learning how to drop ship. With this model, you can make a lot of money online because:
• It requires less initial capital and overhead
The real draw of drop shipping for most people is the fact that you don’t have to front a bunch of money for inventory to start. You actually don’t have to purchase any products until you’ve successfully made a sale! This also means you don’t have to manage your own warehouse, keeping your monthly overhead costs low.
• The location of your business is flexible
Because the physical products aren’t stored with you, the location of your business is flexible. You can reasonably run the business from anywhere with a good internet connection (That’s what I do!). There are a lot of benefits to retiring abroad and running your business remotely.
• You can sell just about anything that interests you
You don’t have to pre-purchase any of the items you sell, which means you can offer just about any product that interests you, without worrying about the price of stock.
• It’s easy to scale
When you know how to drop ship the right way, more business doesn’t necessarily mean more work for you. Most of the process is done by your suppliers — you just need to manage the orders. And if you do end up tripling your sales, you can always hire on a remote worker to help you manage it all.
You purchase items in bulk and store them somewhere. Then you sell them on your website using advertising, content marketing, or other strategies. When people make a purchase, you ship the items.
This can be done through the Fulfillment By Amazon program. You sell the items, and Amazon will pick, pack and ship the orders for you.
I firmly believe that people any age can use an online business to gain financial freedom and fuel retirement. But if you’re just starting out in the online business world, it can take time to learn the ropes. You might think it’s all up to you to run every aspect of your e-commerce business, but you’d be wrong.
There are plenty of ways to get things up and running fast with the help of third-party services. FBA is one of them.
What is FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)?
One of the challenges of running an e-commerce business is navigating the logistics of storing your products and shipping them to buyers. With FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), you can avoid this headache. Instead, you’ll store your products with Amazon and they will pack and ship them for you. Amazon makes this easy for you.
As an affiliate marketer, you wouldn’t be selling any products directly from your site. Instead you would host advertisements, or feature other businesses in your content that sell products. When someone clicks on an ad or link on your site, goes to the other business and makes a purchase, you get a small cut of the profits.
If you want to earn extra money to boost your retirement savings, affiliate marketing could be your best strategy. This simple online business model requires almost no capital, and you can work on it in your spare time.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
Maybe you already know how bloggers make money online. They pick a niche topic (e.g. left-handed sports), then start writing blog posts for people interested in that topic. As they build their blog audience, they also sell related products or services from their website (e.g. left-handed sports equipment).
Affiliate marketing fits right into this model, the only difference is the products you’re promoting aren’t yours. You make a relationship with a retailer, and recommend their products on your blog. They get traffic from your site, and you get a cut of their profits. It’s that simple.
Selling Knowledge Online
Selling knowledge is a more hands-off approach than consulting. You’re still offering wisdom that people will pay money for, but you don’t take time out of your day to chat with each person. Instead you package your knowledge into an ebook, ecourse, webinar, or other digital format.
The info products business model is one of the oldest on the internet. Info products were (and can still be) something as simple as a PDF offering a detailed explanation on a topic, giving actionable information that people value. Gathering information people need all in one place saves them time and it sells.
Nowadays there are other popular mediums for info products, such as webinars or professionally produced videos.
Creating info products, attracting interest to them and landing sales is actually easy, if you create a compelling product and follow the right steps.
It is really easy to do this. Tools like CourseCraft can help you design and market your own ecourse. You can also publish an ebook or webinar on a third-party platform, or host everything yourself.
You can offer freelance services online or in your community with very little startup capital. Maybe you’ve gained very specific skills from your day job which you can also sell moonlighting, such as design services, accounting, tax services, etc.
It’s also easy enough to learn a new trade that’s in high demand, like bookkeeping.
Compared to other businesses to start after 50, a freelance service isn’t as scalable, because it’s limited based on your time availability. But it’s a great way to supplement your income and keep your day job or just work part-time in retirement.
Starting your own freelance business is a smart strategy for retirement success. Draw on your skills to make it happen, and you can easily grow your business while keeping your day job. Pre-retirees use this strategy all the time to boost their savings and make their dream retirement a reality.
Years of work experience is all you need to make it happen for you as well.
One of the great things about starting your own consulting business is that you can do it from anywhere. If you want to move abroad to fund your retirement, you can.
You’ll notice that all the retirement business ideas to start after 50 can be done online. That’s because online businesses offer you the most freedom to keep your job, work during retirement, and live where you want. For many, this kind of flexibility will be necessary to fund the gap and meet their retirement needs.
I know all of this information has given you a lot to think about. There are a lot of business opportunities out there, but don’t feel stuck with your social security income. Retirees have options! Hopefully, something clicked while you were reading and you now have an idea of which home based business model will suit you. I encourage you to read more on that specific model and let me know if I can answer any questions you’ve come up with about the process of starting an online business.
Did you know you can buy an existing business? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Buy an Existing Business.
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Ian Bond is a private banking senior executive with over three decades of experience in wealth and asset management with Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Citigroup. He has built major businesses on four continents.
Despite his professional responsibility for assets over $100B and revenues over $1B, after the 2008 crash Ian was personally going broke. Within five years he destroyed his debt, became an expat in 2014, and built multiple streams of income to fund his imminent retirement. Ian is also the founder of MyRetirementRehab.me created to help other executives and professionals rehabilitate their finances and make a prosperous, enduring retirement a reality.