Retirees keeping business active

We’ve all heard the phrase of not being able to see the forest for the trees. That’s a pretty good way to describe the station in life many people find themselves after a busy working life.

We’ve all heard the phrase of not being able to see the forest for the trees. That’s a pretty good way to describe the station in life many people find themselves after a busy working life.

Perhaps they are retired, or their jobs have changed beyond all recognition over the years. Or maybe their careers have disappeared altogether, but they still possess a myriad of skills, abilities and talents.

They know they can make a significant contribution and want to get started, but how and doing what?

People receiving or choosing early retirement packages, as I did recently, don’t necessarily wish to be completely divorced from the working world.

The idea of an entrepreneurial venture allows them to use their skills and expertise in, perhaps, a new way.

“Seniorpreneurs” are often not motivated by financial reasons, rather wanting to remain connected on their own terms with the society around them. Our seniors who have surged to the forefront of the entrepreneurial world lately, bring along this new term —that of “seniorpreneur” or “graypreneur.”

A Globe and Mail article a few years back offers that the number of ventures begun by people over 55 has risen by 30 per cent in recent years.

While tackling the task of exploring some research tidbits for you, I stumbled on two headlines that really caught my attention: “In Life’s Second Act, Some Take On a New Role—Entrepreneur,” and, “Entrepreneurship After Retirement —What’s Age Got To Do With It?”

That being said, these words really sum up for me a message of hope and faith that our aging population have discovered concrete options that can add productivity and joy to their declining years, for their families and our communities.

One article I just read states that this seniors boom is reflective of more people 55 or older who seem to be rejecting the traditional model of puttering around a garden or golf course.

More retiring seniors have carefully planned, this article espouses, their transition from careers to a large dollop of serendipity to arrive at the threshold of an entrepreneurial journey.

Linda Wiener, an aging issues expert for Monster.com, the jobs search website, said recently: “It’s like a giant sea swell peaking under the radar—there are people who don’t want an hourly job, but wonder what they are going to do for the next 30 years.”

No longer are the rigors of entrepreneurial life meant for the young and the restless. Youthful energy has been dethroned somewhat by experience and pragmatism.

Increasingly, seniors close to retirement are attempting yet another life change, through an entrepreneurial portal. And guess what, dear readers, they’re making their mark and a genuine difference.

Why? Because in part they have some level of prosperity and affluence, minimizing financial risks as older folk are not as impatient as our younger generation at times appears and can “wait out” their new venture outcome. They also bring with them a wealth of experience and time flexibility.

Many seniors believe that launching an entrepreneurial venture is a progression of their careers, a new challenge.

Today’s generation of older Canadians are healthier than their parents and thus will live longer. Remember when we thought 65 was old? They are better educated.

The research is showing us that older entrepreneurs can outshine their younger counterparts in several areas making the self-employment option pretty attractive.

And they have stronger track records such that human resource experts suggest highlighting the senior entrepreneur’s experience, talent and accomplishments as a basis for marketing campaigns. They may also have an easier time borrowing funds or raising capital because they have had the time to establish credit and build financial resources.

Coupled with a fair share in possession of adequate computer skills, a home-based venture, for example, presents some sound logic.

The Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society and the plethora of business service providers in our midst are here to help you get started. I have a feeling that you will still find some time for puttering in your rose garden between a few rounds of golf with a glass of our wonderful Okanogan wine. I will, for sure.

Joel Young is an entrepreneurial leadership educator, coach, consultant and the founder of the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society.

eagleyoung@shaw.ca