Over 50 and Still Out of Work? Become an Entrepreneur! by guest blogger Laura Schlafly


This article originally appeared on the Mac’s List blog on May 1, 2013.

Are you noticing more news articles about entrepreneurs who are starting up their businesses at ages 50+? It’s not your imagination! There is more press on this topic in the last six months than ever before.

Why is that important to me as a baby boomer, and why now?

1. Although the unemployment rate of 7.6% for our generation is less than the general population at 8.3%, the amount of time a worker 55+ is unemployed averages 51 weeks, compared to 37 weeks for the population as a whole. The longer older workers are unemployed the lower the odds they will find a job. Read the full story on the Huffington Post.

2. This means older workers need to start looking at income producing options other than being an employee of another organization. Becoming a free agent or an entrepreneur are two ways to do this.

3. In earlier posts I wrote about the option to become a free agent. Employers in general are running lean and they will hire contractors whenever it makes financial sense. And they often don’t care where a contractor lives. It’s a global and increasingly virtual economy. If you have many years of experience in information technology and earn a six-figure salary, you are at risk of being let go. If you are already unemployed, getting re-hired can be daunting. This is the tech industry’s “darkest secret,” writes Vivek Wadhwa.

Given these facts, consider becoming an encore entrepreneur and starting your own business.  A Kauffman Foundation report states that since 1996, people ages 55-64 have had a higher rate of entrepreneurial activity than 20-34 year-olds.

Resources to Get Started

  • The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and AARP are sponsoring a new program that offers 60 baby boomers age 50+ the chance to learn about entrepreneurship and launch companies in 2013.
  • The Small Business Association (SBA) offers resources to help encore entrepreneurs start and run a small business, including business planning, mentoring and financial assistance. The SBA’s Portland Metro Area office also has a comprehensive list of local resources.
  • “Senior entrepreneurship” is a hot topic as you can see from this PBS Newshour program. The compelling video includes 10 tips for senior entrepreneurs. Learn from 50-ish Julie Townsend of Oakland, California, who launched MannequinMaddness.com.  You’ll be inspired when you hear from Julie and others.
  • Portland, Vancouver, and Eugene have now had four encore entrepreneur events since 2012.
  • A local solo-entrepreneur resource, Jackie B. Peterson, an SBA advisor, has her own Better, Smarter, Richer training firm which offers online classes designed for budding encore entrepreneurs.

My main point to 50+ workers is this: If you are out of work and still unemployed after one year, you must expand your options! Free agent and encore entrepreneur opportunities are two viable choices.

Seriously explore them, because unless you are willing to relocate at your own expense for more opportunities, you will not find opportunities more compelling than these.

You can find out about Laura’s encore career programs at Career Choices With Laura.

Image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user crowGraphy.

Laura SchlaflyLaura Schlafly is the founder of Career Choices with Laura, a coaching practice where she specializes in guiding midlife professionals through “career detours” and to investigate –then launch – “second act” careers after they reach 50. You can contact Laura at http://www.careerchoiceswithlaura.com or by emailing her at Laura@CareerChoicesWithLaura.com