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Explore the Top Business Types for Encore Entrepreneurs

Posted by Jackie Babicky Peterson on June 22, 2017

encore entrepreneurWhile most people might think of a young, ambitious, risk-taker when referring to an entrepreneur, the truth is that a growing number of people over the age of 50 are starting their own businesses. According to a recent study by National Trends, those ages 55 to 64 have a higher rate of new entrepreneurial activity than the 20-34 age group. These “encore entrepreneurs” are putting the skills and talents they’ve acquired over their lifetime to start a new challenge. Encore entrepreneurship allows older individuals many of whom have been downsized, to pursue alternative ways to make money, to start the business they have always wanted of simply to start something whereby they can leave a legacy..

If you’re over fifty and interested in starting your own business, you might want to consider these top business types for encore entrepreneurship:


You’ve likely acquired specific skills and in-depth knowledge on a particular subject throughout your career. We call this monetizing your expertise. Whatever area it may be - marketing, technology, military, etc., there are likely businesses out there that could use your advice or temporary help in that area. To fill that need, you may want to consider starting your own consulting or coaching business.

Senior Services

As people continue to live longer lives well into their 80s and 90s, there are opportunities for those in their 50s and 60s to provide services for this group. For instance, many seniors need help navigating health insurance or managing their bills. Also, help with running errands, taking care of themselves (housekeeping, errands, cooking, etc.) and staying fit. If you’re someone who has the patience and compassion for helping seniors, there are many business opportunities in this area.

>>> Learn more about ENCORE Business Builders 

Online Business

If you aren’t keen on the idea of traveling or leaving your house everyday for work you may want to consider starting an online business. Some people are skilled at making clothing or creating crafts or providing services  that can be sold online. Web sites like Etsy, Freelance and Skillshare have made it easier than ever for small businesses to reach a large audience with their goods and services.


If you have experience in accounting, starting a bookkeeping business may be right for you. Many small businesses need help with their books and look to outsource this tedious function. What is more, starting a bookkeeping business is very inexpensive to start.   

The idea of starting your own business can be very intimidating, but many retirees do it every day. Here are some tips that may help you in your journey to encore entrepreneurship:

  • Pursue your passion – You’re much more likely to be successful if you pursue your passion. Starting your own business can be very difficult, especially at first, so if you aren’t passionate about it, you might not be up for the challenge.
  • Leverage your work and life experience – Most people learn more lessons when they fail and after 30+ years, you’ve likely learned a lot of lessons. Use this information to help you make better decisions in your second career as an encore entrepreneur.
  • Tap into your network – Don’t be afraid to reach out to the connections you’ve made throughout your life. You’ve likely created many working relationships that may benefit you now as a business owner. What is more, you may be able to also help your connections.

Encore entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone, but for many over 50, it’s a challenge they want to take on. At the beginning of our careers it feels like we have so many expenses ahead of us with weddings, children, college, etc., but once all of that is behind you, it can be easier to take a risk, and perhaps more necessary. Many people find the thrill of being their own boss an adventure they want to try out at least once in their life.  With the right attitude and enough passion, encores can have a successful second career as an entrepreneur.

     Free Video Series: How to Find the Right Business Idea     


The Oregon Small Business Development Center Portland Community College has  helped thousands of businesses over the past 30 years. We combine one-on-one  advising with programs taught by business experts, giving our clients the  resources they need to grow their businesses. We’ve celebrated many successes  with our clients. We'd love to celebrate your success. 

Topics: Small Business

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