U.S. government, public domain
Source: U.S. government, public domain

Voluntarily or not, many people 50+ are thrust into retirement but have job juice left and so turn to self-employment.

Some such people do what they did but only on a consulting basis. For example, a human resources manager who specialized in race and gender compliance issues might help various organizations with that.

But if you want to start a new business, it's usually wise to choose one with few moving parts and that requires little money so you don’t run out of cash before your business takes off.

Here are some simple, low-risk businesses well-suited to older people:

  • Senior dating profile consultant. You help people write or edit their online dating profile. You might also take or help them choose photos.
  • Fundraising auction planner. Auctions can raise big money for nonprofits but they’re complicated to stage. Want to lead the effort to make them happen?
  • Estate or garage sale specialist. You advertise, price, and run the sale for a percentage of the take.
  • Buy and sell collectibles on eBay. You may need to be an expert at appraising value although for widely sold items—for example, mint 3-cent U.S. postage stamps from 1940-1970—the eBay sales history may provide sufficient pricing guidance.
  • Make and sell jewelry on Etsy.
  • Commission-based work, for example, selling long-term care insurance or assisted-living condos. HERE is a short-short story about an older commission-based salesperson.
  • Aunt or Uncle _____’s Gift Cart(s) located near a busy commuter train or bus station. You might sell scarves, umbrellas, soap baskets, hot local sports teams' hats and tee shirts, etc.

Dr. Nemko’s nine books are available. You can reach career and personal coach Marty Nemko at mnemko@comcast.net.

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