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Is Midlife Entrepreneurship for You?

Susan L. Reid

Do you think that entrepreneurship is just for the young?

Woman entrepreneur

That anyone past 50 is simply too old to start up a business? That midlife is the time when you should be thinking about retiring and preparing to live on less? If you do and if you are, then midlife entrepreneurship isn’t for you.

However, if you are someone who . . .

• likes to call the shots and live life on your own terms,
• has a strong desire for autonomy and independence,
• is a self-motivated starter,
• knows how to evaluate and take calculated risks,
• is highly self-motivated,

. . . then midlife entrepreneurship could be right for you.

I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. My grandfather owned his own business and worked as an electrician up until the day he died. He was 98. My father owned his own private practice and worked as an expert psychological witness up until three months before his passing. I, too, am an entrepreneur. And, like my father and grandfather before me, I enjoy my work, find meaning and value in what I do, and am passionate about making a difference in the world.

What about you? Could midlife entrepreneurship be right for you?

The Changing Face of Retirement

Retirement, and how we view it, has changed dramatically since the beginning of the 20th century. Before pension plans became standard offerings to U.S. workers during World War II, most people continued working until their death, relying on personal savings and family support to sustain them. While 65 is considered the normal retirement age in the U.S., ma ny of today’s midlife entrepreneurs eschew that age, preferring instead to remain actively involved in their businesses well into their 80s. With Baby Boomers comprising nearly half the country’s self-employed workers (7.4 million), entrepreneurship among seniors is growing (so say reports from AARP and the U.S. Department of Labor). People turning 50 today still have lots of life ahead of them, and each year more than four million men and women join their ranks.

PIggy BankSo, what is retirement, then? Is it the time when you stop work completely or is it the time when you retire from one job and begin another? Does it start at a certain age or depend on the number of years you have served in a specific capacity? Is it based on your physical condition or your personal choice?

10 Reasons for Becoming a Midlife Entrepreneur

1. You’re healthy with many years ahead of you.

2. You want to stay involved and engaged.

3. You enjoy generating extra income.

4. You get to build a business around something you enjoy and are passionate about.

5. You have a full Rolodex and 20-30 years of experience to back you.

6. You want the independence and flexibility that comes from working for yourself.

7. You have confidence and experience, and know what you’re good at.

8. You may already have a pool of money saved to help finance your business.

9. You can do business from home, using the Internet as your storefront.

10. As an entrepreneur, you aren’t discriminated against because of your age.

Women considering retirementSo what does retirement mean to entrepreneurial men or women who have successfully woven passion into what they do as small business owners? Do they plan on retiring when they reach the age of 65? Do they even want to?

If you are happily turning your passion into profit, it's hard to think about stopping. Oh, sure, you could use some time away, an extended vacation, even a more relaxed pace. But do you actually want to retire and cease what you’re doing? Or would you rather stay involved, continuing to contribute, and enjoying life fully?

These days retirement is what you make it. At present, the Baby Boomer generation is redefining retirement, shunning the conventional traditions of stopping, ceasing, and leaving in favor of staying involved, continuing to contribute, and following their passion.

Like so many of them, you, too, might find that there are some very compelling reasons to either become or continue being an entrepreneur, well past midlife.

Copyright ©2008 by Susan L. Reid, DMA

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Copyright ©2008 by Susan L. Reid, DMA

Dr. Susan L. Reid is a business coach and consultant for entrepreneurial women starting up businesses, and is the award-winning author of Discovering Your Inner Samurai: The Entrepreneurial Woman’s Journey to Business Success. If you are ready to take the first steps in owning your business, then get instant access to your own free PDF copy of “Doing What You Love: Multiple Streams of Passion” at 

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