Where have all the good times gone? The new economic realities are hard on all of us. If down sizing and right sizing and layoffs aren’t affecting you directly, then the “Thelma and Louise” like drive off a cliff of the stock market and real estate industry probably has you grasping at thin air and wondering why you didn’t bring a parachute. The new economy has something for everyone to be anxious about. And for Boomers, these times can be especially challenging.
With fewer jobs in the marketplace, Boomer’s skills and experience may not work in their favor and may instead prove to be too expensive for many employers. Also, Boomers are more likely to have greater overhead and responsibilities. And for most of us, taking a low paying job and crashing on a friend’s couch until we ‘get on our feet’ isn’t an option. So what are Boomers to do? First, let’s look at a couple of key factors that are shaping Boomer’s current and future financial picture and why now is the time for many Boomers to consider a home based business.
Retirement plans are in the basement – If your 401k is now a 201k you know what I’m talking about. What makes it worse is that the people we trusted to manage our funds have been playing fast and loose with the rules… and their common sense.
Top income earning years have evaporated – For Boomers in their 40’s and 50’s this was supposed to be their top income earning years where they could aggressively fund their retirement plans – For most Boomers, that just isn’t a reality. Big paying jobs are hard to come by and many Boomers are dipping into savings just to keep afloat.
Progeny more reliant on Mom and Dad – After years of paying for their kid’s college education, many Boomers are finding that they are either 1) Competing with their 20 something year old kids for jobs or 2) That their 20 something year old kids are moving back into the house because theycan’t find a job.
Aging parents need help – Most Boomer’s parents are well into their senior years and in the very near future are going to become more and more reliant on their Boomer children to help with their care, either at home or in a (costly) managed care environment.
We are forever young – Our generation doesn’t want to slow down or grow old! Boomers are not going to retire to a rocking chair or go gently into that good night. We want to travel, have fun, explore new challenges and spend time with family and friends. This desire to continue an active and engaged lifestyle is going to need financing.
Though these realities may suggest serious challenges ahead, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train. These are exciting times we live in and it has never been easier or more lucrative to take your experience, skill and passion, set off on your own and create extra income on a part time or full time basis with greater control over your schedule, work environment and income. Here are a few areas to consider when thinking about starting your own home based business.
Professional– Many professionals may already be accustomed to working from home or doing consultancy work on the side. Intellectual based professions such as Lawyers, Accountants, Engineers and Designers, are fields which lend themselves more readily to a home based environment without much change in work habits… other than now being able to work from a deck chair by the pool or in pajamas over the kitchen table.
Artisan– There is a growing population of home based tinkerers and artisans who craft everything from jewelry to car accessories in their home studio or garage. And no longer resigned to selling their wares at local art fairs and specialty markets, these creative innovators and artists can now reach a global marketplace with a few taps on a keyboard and clicks of a mouse.
Passion– Now is the time for many Boomers to pursue their passion! How about you? Do you have a love for Italian cooking? Antiques? Stamp collecting? Always wanted to write a book? Pursue your interest in painting? If so, then it may be a simple step for you to create a business plan around your passion where you can do what you love and still create a meaningful income from it.
Network/Internet Marketing– We’ve all been approached by an over zealous in-law with their latest fast money scheme or magic potion. The reality is that network marketing in the 21st Century provides a viable, professional and affordable entry to home based business ownership. These are typically businesses in a box where products, websites, marketing, training and support is already in place for you. Network Marketing has produced more millionaires than any other industry. And it has also produced more failures. The biggest problem as I see it is that many people don’t treat a business that cost them a couple hundred dollars as seriously as they would a business that cost them a couple hundred thousanddollars. Do your research and go with a product that can stand alone and attract and retain customers above and beyond the team building aspect. Also, look for a product you can be passionate about and a company you can believe in. The internet is full of opportunities. Explore your options and be open to taking an educated risk and learning new skills.
The bottom line? No matter which avenue you choose to pursue, in any business endeavor the main variable is YOU. What drive, desire and commitment do you bring to the table? Take an objective and subjective look at your goals and what you hope to achieve. Dig deep and get philosophical. Get quantifiable and look at the numbers. Put it all together and cast your vision. Yes.. a vision for a home based business. Without it, you may lack purpose and passion and not have the focus you need to see the income opportunities before you.
Last thought. To me, being a home based business owner encompasses many of the best beliefs set by our generation so long ago; beliefs of equality and freedom, peace and love that many of us fought for on the streets, on the battlefield, in the court room and in the dorm room. The growing trend in Baby Boomer owned home based business is more than about meeting a financial need, it is an opportunity to invigorate those beliefs and values and to create a legacy that is powerful and lasting.