This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme

The Perfect Time for Empty Nesters To Start a Business

DATE: 24/08/21


Have you been day dreaming of the days when you can take early retirement? When the kids have marked out their own paths, gone off to university, set up their own homes and families? When the demands on your time and finances suddenly change and you’re free to take all those trips you’ve been planning for years? Many of us will have considered just that and all the things we’ll do when the house is quieter and we’ve ‘achieved’ what we wanted in our careers. But gently moving towards retirement is not the answer for all of us.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that most new businesses are launched by young, energetic entrepreneurs with big ideas and bigger plans. But while their numbers are significant, nearly half of new businesses are started by ‘boomers’. In fact statistics show that increasingly ‘empty nesters’ and retirees are taking this opportunity to launch their own businesses and are jump-starting local economies in doing so. And the career and life experiences that they bring to their new endeavours pave the way for success.

So what motivates someone to embark on the risk and stress of launching a new business when they could just as easily relax and enjoy some quiet retirement years?


Retirement is a step too far

Not everyone is ready to retire completely. After a lifetime of working, of juggling family and a job, of moving through careers milestones and achievements, the thought of stopping entirely might be a step too far. For many of us, work is a piece of our identity and while slowing down may appeal, many want to maintain some aspect of work.  Doing that on our own terms is the key and setting up your own business can allow for just that. Keeping mentally and physically active through retirement age is hugely beneficial and doing it at a pace and in an area of your choice makes it even more attractive. Plus if you can do so while supplementing your pension income, even better.


Design your own position

When reaching retirement age some of us may be keen to continue to work but interested in switching jobs or relocating areas. Unfortunately the job search in your 50s and 60s comes with its own challenges. Whether industries have moved on in terms of what qualifications they require or whether you’re up against recent graduates and young recruits, the job market is a very competitive place. Add to that the fact that your age and experience will necessarily mean you are a more expensive hire and you can imagine why embarking on a full job hunt can be a little offputting. Setting up your own business sidesteps these issues entirely. You have the freedom to design not only the business you want, but your role within in. Crafting your ideal position in a business that you are personally invested in is a compelling offer.


Turn experience into a commodity

A lifetime spent in industry means a lifetime of experience and knowledge that is invaluable. Your insights into the market, mistakes you’ve learnt from, successes you’ve built on, all of these components give you a significant advantage in setting up on your own. From recruiting to building teams, managing people and finances, working with customers and investors, the rich experiences you’ve collected over your career can be used to leverage your business at launch and as it grows.


Create a work life that suits

As we move through our working and personal life, we find out what suits us. What we want from a job and what we want from our life outside of work. Setting up your own business after having had a career and perhaps a family means you have the ability to create a work life that is uniquely designed for you. Perhaps a consultancy business will suit you best and allow you to work only with clients you choose, at times of the year that work for you. Or perhaps you prefer the idea of e-commerce when you can work around grandchildren or your own hobbies. Thinking about your business and how it can work for you, means you can create the type of balance that you may have been looking for your entire career.


Money isn’t everything

It really isn’t always about the money. Many ‘empty nesters’ or retirees have financial means that make setting up business a lot more financially appealing. Perhaps your mortgage is paid off and children have left home, or your pension covers most of your outgoings and a small business is required only to supplement your income. Having more financial freedom later in your life allows you to make different decisions when it comes to setting up your business and working out what you ‘need’ from your business and what you ‘want’ takes the pressure off.


Pursue passion

Retirement might be the first opportunity any of us have in our working life to do something that we really love. To pursue a project we’ve had percolating in the back of our minds for years. To solve a problem for ourselves and others that we know will improve the way we live. It is the perfect time to turn all the experience and knowledge we have towards the passions and hobbies we enjoy and to carve out a business niche around those. Launching a business takes commitment and doing it for something you enjoy each day makes that far more appealing. Not to mention your enjoyment of your own business will encourage the same from your team and the customers you work with. Passion breeds passion after all so why not turn it into a successful business?

An empty home or a retirement date doesn’t necessarily mark the end of your working life. For many it represents a new start in business, a new beginning in personal growth and an opportunity to achieve something we have always hoped for.  As the economy moves forward after the last few years of turmoil, many of us have reassessed our work lives and it may be the perfect time to turn your unparalleled professional experience into a business that you love and can be proud of.

Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.