There are now about 100 million people in the U.S. over the age of 50 - and most of them are going to live a very long time. Life expectancy has increased dramatically over the last century. Now when you turn 65 you can look ahead to 20, 25, even 30 more independent, energetic, active years. Never before in the history of humanity have we had such long life expectancy. What an apportunity.
Of course every opportunity also has a challenge. Many of those over 50 have not saved enough for so many long years of retirement. And, often they find themselves down sized in the newly emerging competitive and ever more technically based economy. When those over 55 find themselves out of work, they are often out of work for 27 weeks or more according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, according to AARP, when they are re-employed 48% say they are earning less in their current jobs than their most recent jobs before unemployment.
But there is a great solution to this income/retirement security challenge and that is Encore Entrepreneurship. More businesses are being started by those 50 and 60 than by those in their 20s. We say, “If you cannot find the work you want, create it!” While the aging of America has been inexorably taking place, another major trend has also been happening; the rise of soloprneurship. Today, according to MBO Partners the decline in employment is being made up by the increasing number of solopreneurs. In their 2015 report on the Independent Work Force, they report there are 30.2 million solopreneurs – one person businesses. These independents or solos are working in a perfect business model for those over 50 whose intellectual property is their life-long knowledge and expertise. In fact, 37% of the solo population is made up of those over the age of 55. We say, create your own business, monetize your expertise.
Here at the PCC SBDC, we are taking the lead in offering entrepreneurial education to this population. And we are finding there is a lot of excitement about our programs.
First we offer a program we call Encore Business Concept Development. This is a 3 session, 9 hour total study group to help new entrepreneurs explore ideas and develop a viable business idea. The next program is our Business Design Series which is 4 sessions, 8 classroom hours which take that idea and turn it into a basic business plan and help the entrepreneur formalize his or her business idea. The last program is our Solo Business Builders program which is 10 weekly sessions, 30 hours of class room time that teach the solo all the skills they need to run a successful solo business.
Solo businesses are not just little small businesses. Solo business depends of elements of focus, specialization, outsourcing administrative and support services, pricing at the top of the market, knowing and articulating your differentiation from others and focusing your marketing on your specific target.
At PCC SBDC, we can help you overcome your fear of starting a new enterprise, guide you and support you in your entrepreneurial endeavor with teaching plus several sessions of one on one confidential advising which will help you create for yourself the work you love, the work you have always wanted to do, and the work that will give you the financial stability you are seeking.