Baby Boomers in Business

We have been self employed more than once in life. I’ve made all or part of my income from self employment for many years. We sold our business about 10 years ago and I haven’t done any freelance work or started another business in all these years. Now with retirement, I’ve been looking at that possibility again.

There are many lessons your business will teach you. One of the most important is: what kind of business you would want if you had it to do all over again. I did learn that lesson. I know what I want and what I don’t.

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A business can consume your life. A business is your life. I can’t say that I don’t want that again because it’s unrealistic. Any business must be the center of your life. Ignore the claims that you can work only four hours a week and make a living. Eventually maybe, but not in the beginning. It simply won’t happen that way.

With that said, there is some truth to the adage that “if you do something you love, you won’t work another day in your life.” I don’t know who said that, but I believe it. It’s also the first truth of being in business. If you hate it, you won’t work it like you should.

I encourage anyone to seek out a way to earn beyond a job. It’s liberating, but there are some pitfalls.

It’s important to ask yourself some questions before taking the plunge into your own business. Search your mind and your soul for answers. Being in business isn’t for everyone and it’s better to find out where you fit sooner rather than later.

The SBA has a list of 20 questions to ask yourself.

What about money? Do you have enough to start a business? Will you need to borrow? If you do, beef up that business plan. It will help you in many ways and not just getting money. Better yet, find the money without borrowing. Sell something. Earn it somehow, etc. You won’t have the added burden of a bank loan.

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Business plan resources:

The Small Business Administration
BPlans: The Ultimate Guide to Business Planning

Talk with like-minded folks on forums.

Often, someone has been through and solved the very problem that is vexing you. There are many forums out there so don’t limit yourself to just these.

The Small Business Forum

Another Small Business Forum

You may have heard that many new businesses fail. Some throw out a 90% failure rate for businesses. The real number is much less than that, but you should be determined that you aren’t going to be a statistic.

The Small Business Administration’s Starting a Business information.

There’s a special section for people over 50 who want to be Encore Entrepreneurs

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Frugality Requires Things

I might be retired, but that doesn’t mean that I want to spend any more time than I have to in the kitchen. Saving money isn’t rewarding if I don’t have time to enjoy it. I’ve got things to do. That’s why I use machines.

 Four of my most-used machines

Bread Machine

Does anything smell better than baking bread? OK. There might be something, but I think it’s still near the top as far as good smells. Using a bread machine simplifies making fresh bread. I’ve tried making bread the traditional way. It never turned out well and I gave up on fresh bread for many years. The bread machine solves my heavy, dense bread problem. It also solves my pizza dough and Hawaiian rolls problem.

Dehydrator

My husband likes jerky but it’s expensive to buy. Buy a dehydrator and the problem is solved. It’s incredibly easy to make jerky and at a significantly lower cost than commercially prepared jerky. I’ve dried fruit and fresh herbs with it too, but the main use in our house is jerky.

Slicer

We wait until beef is on sale before making jerky. Only one store in our area has a meat department that will slice roasts for you. That’s what we did when we wanted to make jerky. Unfortunately, this store has stopped slicing roasts that are on sale. We bought our own slicer. Now, we can buy beef anywhere it is on sale and not just at the store that would slice it for us.

Food Processor

Does it slice, dice, and julienne fry? Maybe not, but it will do a lot of great things. I use it to make mayonnaise, finely chop vegetables and nuts, and puree sauces. Again, all of these things can be accomplished by using hand tools, but I like the time-saving advantages of machines.

Kitchen tools

I can make great specialty breads for a fraction of the price. I can make a pizza with my homemade dough that rivals any restaurant pie. I can feed my husband’s jerky habit for much less. Add the time-saving benefit to the monetary savings and it’s a double whammy. It does cost money to buy machines and perhaps that isn’t always in the budget. I think we’ve saved the cost of all the machines by making jerky but something more difficult to quantify is also at work here. Life is short and time is precious.

Changing Life, Changing Work

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Retirement doesn’t always mean work stops. That’s the quickest way to the rocking chair and once you are there, can the grave be far off? The question is: Do we want to continue in our current job or do something else?123

Life must have a purpose and working provides that purpose. This is something I’ve struggled with since my sudden retirement. What can I do now? Maybe I should ask “What do I want to do now?”

Certainly, there were some things that are now off the table. The space program doesn’t want a gray-haired grandmother. The Metropolitan Opera actually wants someone with a beautiful voice. Who knew?

If you can foresee a change in your future, here is some information to help you along.

How to Change Careers from the Wall Street Journal

Finding the Right Career–from The Help Guide.org

Tips for baby boomers wanting career change–from the Tampa Bay Times

How Boomers Can Reinvent Their Careers–from Fox Business News