Retirement Business Ideas: 12 Ways to Get Started After 50

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senior man holding flowers
Iakov Filimonov /

Editor's Note: This story originally appeared on NewRetirement.

Some individuals dream of the day when they can do absolutely nothing. To them, retirement is a euphoric future of sleeping in, lounging in the sun, and thinking as little as possible for the next 30 years of their lives. (Others dream up retirement business ideas.)

In fact, for most of us, a life of zero activity and thought would drive us absolutely nuts! Sure, a few days of relaxation is great, but after that, it’s time to tackle something, learn and grow from it, and then conquer the heck out of it!

Acting on our passions and setting future goals can really do great things for a person — for their mind, body, and soul. If you find yourself nodding to this statement, then the next question is, “Have you considered starting a business after retirement?”

Retirement business ideas for the over-50s don’t have to be blockbusters. It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t need to be impressive. It just needs to fulfill that void that’s probably been inside of you for many years — yes, even while you were working that supposedly fabulous full-time job.

Starting a business after retirement is probably right for you if you’ve always longed to …

  • Be your own boss.
  • Do what you love full-time.
  • Help others directly.
  • Learn something totally new.
  • Build a massive business from absolutely nothing.

If you finally want to tackle your dreams and love the idea of setting up a retirement of purpose (instead of, you know, being a slug like some of your friends), then I suggest you seriously consider the following 12 small-business ideas for the over-50s.

1. Do What You Love!

senior woman art class business owner
Monkey Business Images /

Everyone has some kind of interest in life. No matter what it is, you can probably figure out a way to make money.

Do you …

  • Build model trains? Could you host kid birthday parties or workshops?
  • Play tennis? What about offering lessons? Starting a tournament?
  • Watch TV? How about starting a blog reviewing favorite shows?
  • Love baseball? Have you considered organizing tours to games or ballparks?
  • Reading and cooking? Maybe you could cater a pop-up restaurant in your home based on a different book each month.

How to get started: Start small by offering services to friends for a small fee. See where it takes you!

2. Be a Financial Adviser

A financial adviser coaches a woman on investing
goodluz /

Have you ever met a “financial adviser” who was 22 years old and was supposedly going to teach you — a 50-year-old who actually has lived life and experienced the swings in the market — how to retire comfortably?

Do you know who can properly sell themselves as a financial adviser?

You — the well-seasoned veteran of life and money.

If you’ve done well for yourself financially, if you’ve already earned your bachelor’s degree, and if you love to help people, then this small-business idea for the over-50s is probably a slam-dunk for you.

How to get started: Check out “How to Become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP)”

3. Business Ideas for the Over-50s: Consulting

senior businessman
Rido /

There are some benefits to being older — after all, with age comes wisdom. So it’s no surprise that one of the best business ideas for the over-50s is consulting!

Are you an expert in your field? Could other companies benefit from your wisdom? There are plenty of consulting opportunities for more unique fields. Areas like home office design, organization, and even color consulting!

How to get started: Read “How to Build a Career as a Consultant in Retirement”

4. Starting a Business After Retirement: Marketing, Bookkeeping, and Administration

Dragon Images /

If you come from a business background with skills in administration, marketing, accounting, or finance and know how to organize a business, properly categorize expenses, and make payments, you could probably handle this work in your sleep — and have a blast doing it for exciting new startup companies.

Better yet, many of these activities can be done almost anytime and anywhere. This kind of flexibility makes it one of the best business ideas for the over-50s. And, according to Robert Half, the most in-demand consultant areas are: finance/accounting, business systems, tax, risk mitigation, and optimization.

And there is a huge need for administration, marketing, and bookkeeping services. This is the day and age of small businesses — mainly online businesses — but many entrepreneurs don’t necessarily have experience running a business.

This is where you come in.

How to get started:

“10 Tips for Starting a Bookkeeping Business”
“Getting Started as an Independent Marketing Consultant”
“Can You Earn a Living as a Freelance Administrative Assistant?

5. Landlord/Bed-and-Breakfast Owner

Senior landlord
kurhan /

If you find yourself talking to a millionaire in the near future, chances are that person owns (and rents out) some property. Real estate is an excellent investment, plain and simple. It always has been, and it probably always will be.

Don’t consider yourself hard-nosed enough to deal with those inevitable tenants from hell? Then maybe a B&B is more up your alley. Buy a home in a touristy area, serve a decent breakfast, and enjoy interacting with couples from all around the world!

Bed-and-breakfasts obviously aren’t as passive as rentals, but if you like interacting with and serving others, then this might just be the fun business idea you’ve been looking for.

How to get started: “How to Start a Bed and Breakfast”

6. Buy a Business

Senior couple signing mortgage paperwork
Monkey Business Images /

Building a business from nothing is no easy task. I’m sure you’ve heard the well-known statistic that 4 out of 5 businesses fail within the first five years. If you’re not willing to struggle for years while getting your business off the ground, then perhaps you’d do better just buying one that already has some clientele!

Of course, “buying a business” is about as broad a statement as one can make, but while you’re reading through this list and thinking about what you might like to do for your encore career, consider what might already be available for the taking.

And, if you have the financial means to do it, it might actually be the more profitable move when you consider the potential for immediate earnings!

How to get started: Try Harvard Business Review’s “Guide to Buying a Small Business”

7. Become a Franchisee

Owner of a floral small business
Monkey Business Images /

Of all the small-business ideas to start after 50, this one regularly captures the most attention. It’s attainable and understandable, and someone out there is willing to walk you through the process (because of course, it’s in their best interest to do so as the franchisor).

No, McDonald’s is not the only wicked-awesome franchise out there (in fact, strike it off your list if you don’t already own one — they’re not looking for newbie franchisees). There are dozens of other franchises with fantastic track records (and they’re not all restaurants either)!

Here’s a quick list of the top franchises out there currently:

  • 7-Eleven
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • The UPS Store
  • Sonic Drive-in Restaurants
  • Great Clips

Is the thought of a franchise starting to pique your interest? Check out the link below!

How to get started: Check out the Small Business Administration’s guide “Buy an Existing Business or Franchise”

8. Become an Angel Investor

Happy older investor
Nadino /

You’ve worked hard at your career, and you’ve done well for yourself. Congratulations!

Money isn’t an issue for you, and in fact, you’ve got more of it than you know what to do with. None of the above or below options really appeal to you, but you love the idea of helping someone take their passion mainstream, and they’ll even pay you handsome royalties as it succeeds!

Sound like fun to you? I can’t see why it wouldn’t!

How to get started: “How to Become an Angel Investor”

9. Buy and Sell

Senior woman shopping at drugstore
Ihor Bulyhin /

Have you always had a knack for finding products for well below market price?

  • Maybe you find them on the clearance rack.
  • Perhaps you nab them off the web.
  • Or it might be that you just love perusing garage/estate sales and find your deals under layers of junk!

Whatever the case may be, if you’re used to buying low, then it’s probably time to try your hand at buying and selling for a profit.

The concept is really simple (in fact, we basically already covered it in the generic intro) — find ways to buy super cheap products, and then sell them through a medium where you can earn more (typically Amazon, Facebook, Craigslist, or eBay).

That’s it.

Are you doubting that this small-business idea can actually earn some money? Check out the link below. This option is for real.

How to get started: Read about “This 30-year-old’s company makes millions buying from Walmart and selling on Amazon” or explore “How to Sell on Amazon and Make a Living.”

10. House Painting, Home Repairs, and Gardening

Busy House Painter Painting the Trim And Shutters of A Home.
By Andy Dean Photography /

There’s just something serene and fulfilling about painting the interiors of houses. Maybe it’s the calming strokes of the brush, or perhaps it’s the sense of accomplishment and pride that you get once the job’s done. Whatever it is, it’s oddly fun to do … AND you can make some pretty good money at it too!

Maybe you like the idea of working with your hands … but you’d really rather be outside soaking up the sun. Consider landscaping and gardening as a retirement business idea.

Entry into this market is pretty much as easy as it gets. All you need is a mower and a means to get it from place to place. Call up some neighbors, leave a few flyers on people’s front doors with your steal-of-a-deal introductory price, and wait for a few gigs to come in.

Do a good job, and you’ll not only keep those lawns, but you’ll probably start getting referrals as your clients talk to their friends about your great work (offer referral discounts and they’ll be even MORE likely to spread the word).

I’ve known plenty of people who took up handyman-type careers. They loved talking about the work they did (and for whom — sometimes local celebrities), and it allowed them to pseudo-retire without ever touching their retirement nest egg.

How to get started:

“House Painting 101: How to Get Started as a Part-Time Painter”
“How to Start a Handyman Business”
“How to Start a Lawn Care Business”

11. Life Coach/Mentor

marvent /

If, in the beginning paragraphs of this article, your eyes lit up at the thought of impacting someone’s life and making a true difference in this world, then this is likely the small-business option for you.

Today’s world is an interesting one — especially for those who are early in their careers.

Young adults often are:

  • Outspoken “leaders,” but know little about the topics at hand
  • Confident and happy to others, but shy, withdrawn, and insecure on the inside
  • Willing to do what it takes to succeed, but without any idea what their definition of success even is

In other words, young adults look awesome, sound awesome, but really have no clue about life in general.

They need your help.

You’ve been there done that. You’ve climbed the ladder, done the networking, got the atta-boys, and seen the dollars. But most importantly, you now know what it all means.

Become a life coach to help others succeed — not just in the corporate world, but in all areas of life. And you know what? They’ll be happy to pay you for their life well-lived.

How to get started: “Starting a Coaching Business Isn’t Easy. Here’s How to Do It Successfully”

12. Direct Sales/Network Marketing

MLM Home party direct sales network marketing
DGLimages /

Direct sales and network marketing — you probably can’t believe that this one made the list of retirement business ideas, huh? For many of you, this type of business is an absolute joke, but you’ve got to realize that some people earn a fantastic living doing it. It IS possible.

You’ve heard of some of the top companies:

  • Amway
  • Avon
  • Mary Kay
  • Pampered Chef
  • … and obviously many more.

If you like the idea of selling a product that you love AND teaching someone else how to sell it too, then you’ve actually got a chance to succeed with the network marketing model.

Most don’t earn more than a hundred bucks a month, but some find a way to earn hundreds of thousands each month. If you think you can excel and become the latter, the venture would obviously be well worth the effort.

How to get started: “10 Ways to Choose a Great Network Marketing Opportunity”

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