Since the 1990s, how people spend their time during their “Golden Years” has changed drastically. And as more and more Baby Boomers reach retirement age, a new class of entrepreneur has emerged: the “seniorpreneur.”
Seniorpreneurs are defined as self-employed individuals who are aged 55 and older. The number of entrepreneurs in BC that fall into this category has nearly tripled over the last two decades, growing from 55,000 in ‘90s to over 136,000 today. What’s more, the growth of self-employed people in this group has significantly outpaced the growth of self-employed individuals in other age groups.
Today, becoming a seniorpreneur can often be an opportunity to vault a personal passion into a viable business. And as it turns out, being a business owner in this age group has a number of distinct advantages.
1. Decades of Experience
It goes without saying that seniorpreneurs will bring decades of experience to their new business endeavour – an important quality often overlooked with so much media coverage of young start-ups today. Their previous experience and tacit knowledge can also help them recognize unique business opportunities.
2. Existing Networks
Seniorpreneurs have already spent years building up a network of professional contacts, which can provide a huge head start over younger entrepreneurs starting businesses. Even if they launch a business in a completely different industry from their previous career, the personal networks they have built up over the years can be an invaluable resource.
3. Greater Financial Flexibility
Without the financial commitments that go hand-in-hand with young adulthood – such as student loans, first-time home ownership and growing families – many seniorpreneurs will have more flexibility to grow their business on their own terms. Their credentials and long-term financial records can also make it easier to obtain financing for their business.
4. Different Motivations
Many seniorpreneurs who are pursuing encore careers have different motivation than younger entrepreneurs. Rapid growth, wealth accumulation and success may be less of a priority, and they may be more oriented toward long-term thinking.
In addition to these advantages as business owners, seniors also experience an important personal benefit from becoming entrepreneurs – the opportunity to stay active and socially engaged during their later years.
Are you senior with a business idea? Check out Small Business BC’s Evaluate Your Business Idea resource.