Starting a business of your own after age 50 can be very rewarding and give you a new lease on life! You’re also more likely to start a successful business at this age because you will channel the skills you’ve developed throughout your career. In fact, one leading study found that people over 50 are almost twice as likely to launch high-growth startups than their younger counterparts.
Here are 10 resources you can take advantage of when starting a new business after 50.
- COBRA Health Coverage
Before leaving behind your desk job to start a new business, you got to have health coverage in place for yourself and your dependents. The Affordable Care Act has made it easier to purchase independent health coverage, but continuing your employer’s health insurance plan via COBRA may be the more affordable option. If your current employer has more than 20 employees, your HR department is required to inform you about your right to COBRA coverage within 30 days of a qualifying event such as quitting or losing your job. You have 60 days after being notified to elect COBRA coverage.
Think of this resource as a dating website but for finding that special co-founder or business advisor! This website will connect you with potential co-founders who have interests, experience, and skill sets to complement your own. 50 % of the members are engineers, and the remainder have business, product, design, or other backgrounds. You can also use FounderDating.com to find a business advisor in exchange for providing some equity in your business. You have to pay a one-time fee of $ 50 to join.
- SBA Encore Entrepreneurs Training
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers free online courses for second-career entrepreneurs. There’s a general course and one specifically geared towards women over 50. These ½ hour online courses cover the rise in senior entrepreneurship, how to create a business plan, and how to choose a business model (e.g. sole proprietorship vs. corporation). They are designed to provide some general information to take your business from concept to reality.
- Bizstarters.com Course and Coaching Packages
Bizstarters.com is a company founded by a second-career enterpreneur. They offer coaching, content, workshops, and course packages specifically designed to help older people run and own a business. For example, a workshop that will help you develop a marketing plan costs $ 499. One-on-one coaching is $ 150 for the first hour and $ 100/hour after that, and it’s designed to help you with business strategy (e.g. should you use capital to purchase more inventory or to renovate?).
- AARP Webinars
In partnership with the SBA, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) hosts free webinars for its members on various business-related topics. Upcoming topics include Financing Your Business, Social Media 101 for Businesses, and Q&A sessions with experienced business owners.
- SCORE Network
SCORE, with its network of over 11,000 volunteers, is a great resource for free and low-cost business advice. You can get free, confidential business counseling from mentors, free business tools and financial and marketing templates, and invitations to local workshops and online webinars. Find your local SCORE chapter here.
- SBDCs and WBCs
SBA-sponsored Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) are located around the country, serving as educational resources for new business owners. The breadth of resources they offer is impressive. They provide aspiring and current small business owners a variety of free business consulting and low-cost training services including: business plan critique, manufacturing advice, financing resources, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting help, market research, and healthcare guidance. The WBC aims to “level the playing field” for women entrepreneurs at every stage of business development.
- Franchises Friendly to Older Workers
Some franchises are friendlier to older workers than others. The AARP has put together a list of franchises that are most suitable for entrepreneurs over age 50. Some are home-based franchises which offer the flexibility of working from home. Others require limited physical labor or cater to an older clientele.
- Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit
Getting a HELOC or HEL over the age of 50 may not seem like a good idea at first. You don’t necessarily want to be taking out a second mortgage when you’re close to retirement. However, taking out small loans against the value of your home in order to generate some working capital for your business may be a good choice for some entrepreneurs. It will be easier to qualify for a HEL or HELOC at an older age too because chances are, you will have paid off more of your mortgage and will hold more equity in your home.
- Ability To Use Your Retirement Accounts to Fund Your Business
You can use your retirement money to fund a startup without any early withdrawal penalties or income taxes. By age 50, your retirement account will likely be large enough that you can use some of it for your business. At the same, you’re closer to retirement, so weigh the risks carefully. If the business fails, you will lose your retirement funds.
With a Rollover for Business Startups, you can transfer funds from your personal retirement account to a company-sponsored retirement account. There are some fees involved with doing this, and you have to make sure that you comply with legal and tax requirements. For help with a ROBS, click here.
People over age 50 are becoming one of the fastest growing groups of business owners. There are a number of resources available to get you started on your new journey as a business owner. Good luck!Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community