Trend: Starting Small Businesses Later in Life

Last week I published an interview with business humorist Hesh Reinfeld. Hesh is an example of someone in the Baby Boomer generation (i.e., those over age 40) who decided to start a business after having a few decades of experience under his belt.

He is part of a growing trend of people in the United States starting businesses later in life or after retirement. And he’s got lots of company.

Yahoo Small Business commissioned Harris Interactive to conduct a survey to gauge entrepreneurial attitudes back in April 2005.

Of those surveyed, 56% said they wanted to own their own business later in life. That’s more than four times as many who simply want to retire and not work at all! This chart of survey data tells the story:

Even more striking was the answer to the question “when are you too old to start your own business?” “It is never too late” was the response of 47% of the people.

This desire to continue working later in life seems at odds with another trend, that of people foregoing high-pressure corporate positions or jobs that bore them, for lifestyle reasons. People are saying they do not want to be part of the rat race.

But is it at odds?

Not really. What I believe is happening is that people are moving towards better integration between their work and the rest of their lives. They see owning their own business as offering flexibility. The choice is no longer either work at a demanding pace or not work at all. Instead, they can work at something they really enjoy at a pace that fits with the rest of their lives. When work and personal life are integrated better, with flexible work hours and conditions, they want to continue working.

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Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

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