Life begins at 50! How to make millions as an older-preneur

How to make a success of setting up your own business

Self employment is not a young person’s game. The over 50s demographic are more likely than ever before to become their own boss and it’s little wonder why…

Silver Workers

According to the National Office of Statistics (ONS), people are working longer hours than ever before, with 9.2 million workers over 50 still clocking-in to the office. It’s been a gradual shift that’s likely been prompted, in part, by an increasing pension age that in 2020 is due to hit 67 for both men and women. In the last 30 years, the employment rate for people aged between 50 to 64 has increased by 14.2%, and the rate for over 65s has increased by 5.3%.

Take The Pension And Run?

The Government is keen for the British public to work for longer and contribute to the economy. They say the average earner could accumulate more than £200,000 extra income and see their pension pot balloon by 60%. However, a growing group of older entrepreneurs (28%) are starting their business for love, not money, transforming hobbies and passions into fully-fledged and flourishing start-up companies.

A Shop Window To Success

Reasons for going-it-alone are largely varied; boredom, frustration, low savings interest rates, the end of statutory retirement and the new housing investment tax, plus many others. Fortunately, it really never has been easier to go freelance or be self employed. The necessity of a bricks-and-mortar shop window to attract business is redundant.

To have a significant marketplace presence, older entrepreneurs are setting up digital shops and working hard to market themselves as an online enterprise. For a nominal cost, shopping search portals such as eBay, Etsy, Folksy and Amazon allow entrepreneurs instant access to markets around the world. But e-commerce-ready blogging platforms, such as SquareSpace, do lots of the hard work for you too.

Let’s meet some older entrepreneurs who went solo and never looked back…

The Nail and Beauty Emporium

This eBay shop made £1 million in just one year after owner Alison Abruneiras (pictured below), a nail technician from Lincoln earning just £70 a week, decided to launch her own business.

Trading became welcome distraction “and a buzz” while recovering from cancer, so why not use the platform for both business and pleasure? She set up the cosmetic shop six years ago when she was 47, and such was its success now she’s opened a Spanish restaurant with her husband too.

Alison champions and encourages others to pursue their passions as a career: “Everybody can do something because everybody’s got something they like. My passion was nails and I turned it into a business, but anyone can turn their hand to it.”

Alison Abruneiras

The Twins Gift Company

Karen Davidson and Lindsey Civil (pictured below), both in their 50s, are identical twins who own The Twins Gift Company. They launched the business in 2011 while volunteering for the Department of Twin Research. Lindsey gave Karen a ‘peas in a pod necklace’ as a symbol of their relationship and bond.

It sparked the idea for the business instantaneously. They initially started trading to raise money for the DTR before developing the business into a stand-alone enterprise.

Look Fabulous Forever

One-time corporate consultant and training advisor Tricia Cusden, frustrated with the lack of beauty products available specifically for mature skin, decided if she wanted a job doing right, she’d have to do it herself.

At 65, she set out to create her own range of makeup and in October 2013, Tricia took herself out of retirement and launched Look Fabulous Forever. Tricia, now 68, has developed more than 40 makeup tutorials available on YouTube, featuring real women over the age of 50. They have nearly two million views between them.

How To Set Up Your Business

If traditional retirement isn’t for you and you’re ready to become an entrepreneur, here are top tips for making your business a success:

1) Be Confident

Tricia believes entrepreneurial success comes as part of a positive and hardworking attitude, but also a willingness to take risks: “Choosing to set up my business was the best decision I have ever made in my career, and it is incredibly rewarding. There have been relatively few challenges since I launched Look Fabulous Forever. Although, of course, I wanted the business to be a success, it was set up as a hobby and therefore, I think this attitude has helped it thrive. I am also a natural risk-taker so I love testing the boundaries of my own capabilities.”

2) Get A Business Plan

A thorough business plan is your roadmap to commercial success. Before you go any further, plan for the next year and record the goals you want to achieve. The Prince’s Trust has a free business plan template (billed for young’uns, but what do they know!) to get you started.

3) Check Out Your Competition

Step into the shoes of a shopper and become a customer of your competition. Spy on the journey of their website if, put customer service through its paces, compare what they charge for delivery and note how quickly the product arrived. Did they do anything to make the experience more personal, or stand apart from everyone else? Not only will you be able to cherry pick and enhance the best ideas, you’ll also be hyper aware of any failings. Review websites, such as Trustpilot, are also a goldmine for learnings.

4) Position Your Product

Your product is going to ‘wow’, but only if it’s seen by the right audience. If you’re a retailer, seek out the appropriate e-commerce platform for your needs. For example, if you’ve developed a component for 3D printing, or even a new flight controller for a drone, position the listing on tech-specific ecommerce site, Tindie. Wheres if you’re a knitting sensation, tactile products are more at home on Etsy.

5) Manage The Cost

This beginners guide to Excel YouTube playlist will help get your accounts in order initially. You’ll be conquering takings, expenditure and even return on investment in no time! But as your business grows (and the sums become more complex) speak to the experts FreeAgent about their free accounting software. You’ll also need to keep abreast of tax laws and employment regulations, so keep the Citizen’s Advice Web Chat bookmarked in your browser, for immediate help to specific challenges.

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