Most people look forward to retirement as a time of relaxation, freedom, and fun. Finally, you’ll be able to do what you want without any constraints. However, many retirees soon find themselves pining for something to do. They feel bored and lonely, and they miss the sense of purpose and challenge that work provides. Starting a small business after retiring can be a great way to stay active and engaged, as well as to earn extra income.
For these reasons and others, the number of entrepreneurs over 50 has steadily increased, with mature Canadians finding success in various industries. Thanks to the accessibility of the internet, starting a home business has become a viable and exciting option for retirees. This article will explore the steps to start a small business after retiring.1
Plan Your Business
The first step is to assess your readiness and choose a business structure. Consider your skills, interests, and experience to determine what type of business you want to start. Conduct market research to identify potential customers and competitors. Write a business plan that outlines your goals, target market, products or services, and marketing strategies.2,3
Choose a Business Name
Select a catchy and memorable name for your business. Check whether the name has already been taken or registered by someone else. Register and protect your business name to ensure its exclusivity.
Register Your Business with the Government
Depending on the structure of your business, you may need to incorporate it or register it with the appropriate government authorities. Register for a business number and tax account to fulfill your tax obligations.
Apply for Business Permits and Licenses
Research and identify the permits and licenses required for your specific business activities. Contact the relevant federal, provincial, and municipal government agencies to obtain the necessary permits.
Seek Business Support and Financing
Explore national and regional business support programs and resources available to entrepreneurs. There are specific programs for immigrant and Aboriginal entrepreneurs. Consider financing options, such as loans, grants, or self-funding, to support your business.
Get Free Tax Help for Your Business
Meet with a liaison officer to learn about common errors, bookkeeping best practices, and deductions. This will help you navigate the tax obligations and ensure compliance.2
Now that we have covered the essential steps to starting a small business, let’s delve into some important rules of business for retirees.
Figure out Your Field
Determine the type of business you want to start based on your interests, skills, and budget. Service businesses can be a great option, as they often require minimal up-front investment and can be managed with hired help.
Do Your Homework
Research the market demand for your chosen business idea. Poll potential customers to gauge their interest and willingness to pay for your products or services. Research the licenses, permits, and certifications required for your industry.
Set-Up a Dedicated Workspace
If you’re starting your business from home, create a designated workspace without distractions. This will help you stay focused and productive.
Create a Dream Board
Visualize your goals and motivations for starting a business. Create a dream board with images and words that represent your aspirations. This will keep you motivated during challenging times.
Price your Products or Services Appropriately
Avoid underpricing your offerings in an attempt to attract customers. Calculate all your costs and determine a fair price that covers your expenses and allows you to profit. Consider adding value to your services to differentiate them from the competition.
Allocate a Marketing Budget
Include a marketing budget in your business plan. Invest in advertising and promotional activities to reach and retain customers. Identify your unique selling proposition, and use it to create effective marketing messages.
If your business requires employees, familiarize yourself with hiring laws and regulations. Run test ads to gauge the availability of qualified candidates before officially opening your doors. Consider hiring subcontractors initially and transitioning to full-time employees as your business grows.
Digital Information Products
With years of experience and wisdom under your belt, you likely have valuable knowledge to share. Creating and selling digital information products, such as online courses, white papers, reports, or eBooks, will allow you to leverage your expertise. You can easily get started with just a computer and an internet connection. While there is work involved in product creation, once you have developed your information products, you can repeatedly earn revenue with minimal additional effort.
Virtual Assistant (VA)
As a retiree, you possess a wealth of skills and experience that can be put to use as a virtual assistant (VA). Virtual assistants (VAs) provide various remote services, ranging from marketing to secretarial tasks. Thanks to the advancement of technology and online collaboration tools, you can effectively support businesses from the comfort of your own home. Identify your marketable skills and promote yourself as a virtual assistant, offering your expertise to clients in need.
Drop shipping is an ideal option if you’re interested in online retail but want to avoid dealing with inventory or shipping logistics. Drop shipping allows you to sell products online without the need to hold inventory. By partnering with wholesale suppliers or manufacturers, you can sell their products directly through your website or platforms like Amazon. When a customer orders, the supplier takes care of packaging and shipping, leaving you with the profit. It’s a low-risk and flexible business model that enables you to work from anywhere.
Affiliate marketing provides an opportunity to earn a commission by promoting products or services from other companies. As an affiliate marketer, you’ll need a website to showcase your recommendations and attract a following. Building a solid online presence and a loyal audience is key when it comes to succeeding in affiliate marketing. You can generate income through affiliate partnerships once you establish credibility and grow your traffic.
In a bilingual country like Canada, there is a demand for translation services. If you are fluent in English and French, you can set up a basic website to promote your translation services. Connect with web designers and offer them a commission for referring clients to you. In addition, you can provide digital content in French, catering to businesses that require a French version of their websites or social media accounts.
Starting an online business after retiring offers several benefits as well.
Flexibility and Mobility
You can work from anywhere and enjoy the freedom to travel or spend time with loved ones.
Improved Quality of Life
You can take control of your schedule and work on your terms, enhancing your overall quality of life.
Keep Your Mind Active
Engaging in a new venture keeps your mind sharp and allows you to continue learning and growing.
Minimal Upfront Investment
Online businesses often require little capital investment compared with traditional brick-and-mortar establishments.
To get started on your entrepreneurial journey, take advantage of the resources available to you. Here are some actions you can take:
- Explore free guides and resources available on various websites.
- Consider online courses offered by Canadian universities and other educational institutions.
- Utilize your local public library, which may offer business courses or relevant books.
- Stay updated on regional programs and initiatives to support entrepreneurs, especially seniors.
- Familiarize yourself with government programs for small businesses at the federal and provincial levels.
Starting a business later in life can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience. Remember, age is no barrier to success, and with the right mindset and determination, you can build a thriving business.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.