Boom or bust, but Seniorpreneurs are going gangbusters

Thursday 8 May 2014

A low angle photograph of Swinburne University of Technology signage on the Advanced Technologies Centre building in Hawthorn.

‘Seniorpreneurs’ are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship, and considered by experts and researchers as the next boom.

Senior entrepreneurship is the process whereby people aged 50+ participate in business start-ups. Notwithstanding the surge in interest in the seniorpreneurship phenomenon, there are certain nuances that differentiate this age group of entrepreneurs from mainstream younger entrepreneurs.

Overall, anecdotal evidence points that older people are in a better position to start a business than younger individuals. Furthermore, senior entrepreneurs place significant value on non-pecuniary benefits of self-employment, such as lifestyle and health preferences.

Taking that these seniors come with decades of experience, existing networks, greater financial flexibility and different motivations, we introduce tips for nascent senior entrepreneurs. With the help of other successful seniorpreneurs, we share these:

1. You are never too old to start a business:

Sixty is the new 50. People aged 50-65 have a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than those aged 20-34, so what are you waiting for? This is the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurship across the globe.

2. Turn passion to profit

A hobby to supplement your income is always 1st prize. Your mature skills and social aptitude drive your motivation, skills, and more importantly, the opportunity to achieve. Risk and reward are always a trade-off, but better so when you do something you enjoy doing.

3. Build a community of likeminded people

Network with other seniorpreneurs who are also starting new ventures.  Just think of all those combined skills and professional services you may obtain at ‘mates’ rates. Even sports clubs for seniors are fantastic networking opportunities. Positive environments promote proactivity, innovation and calculated risk-taking. Network with niche organisations such as Seniors Australia.

4. Make your workspace fit your lifestyle

Starting a business no longer necessarily requires a brick and mortar office or storefront. If you do require an office, share space at incubators and networks. Flexibility is the name of the game. Virtual offices are the domain of entrepreneurs.

Written by Dr Alex Maritz, Swinburne University of Technology