43% of Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs Give “Be My Own Boss” as Top Motivation

2018 Baby Boomer Small Business Trends

Nearly half of Baby boomers seeking to start their own business say the main reason is a desire to call their own shots. In a recent Guidant Financial Baby Boomer 2018 Small Business Trends survey, 43% of respondents gave “ready to be my own boss” as their main motivation to open a business.

2018 Baby Boomer Small Business Trends

Business owners over the age of 50 accounted for 50% of the nationwide aspiring entrepreneurs in the Guidant survey. This was a 10% increase from the previous year. The other motivations for opening a business included: a desire to pursue a passion (42%), the desire to take advantage of an opportunity (36%), an unhappiness with corporate America (22%), and being laid off or outsourced from their current position (15%).

Baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 are driving small business growth by expanding their existing enterprises or as an encore career. This experience gives them a great advantage over younger entrepreneurs.

David Nilssen, CEO of Guidant Financial, explained this particular aspect of their experience in a press release. Nilssen said, “Those who decide to start businesses later in life have several advantages over their younger counterparts. Baby boomers often have larger professional networks and years of business experience, and we’re seeing an increasing amount who are leveraging those benefits to launch and grow their own ventures.”

The Guidant Financial survey was carried out between November 28, 2017, and December 1, 2017. More than 2,600 male and female small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs responded to the email survey across the US, including Alaska and Hawaii. The participants ranged in age from 18 to over 70.

Survey Results

The survey also shows the Baby Boomer demographic to be living longer and healthier lives with the need for more than their retirement plans to fund their lifestyles. This group also showed a very positive attitude with 76% of the owners saying their happiness level was 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10. The vast majority said they were in the process of expanding their business with 67% saying their business was profitable and only 6% saying they were looking to sell.

Predictably, funding was listed as the biggest hurtle for 61% of respondents. Drilling down, 47% said they did not have the cash for a down payment, 46% listed a lack of knowledge about funding options, 24% complained of unqualified credit scores, 19% were concerned about debt and 18% listed trouble with bank loan approval.

2018 Baby Boomer Small Business Trends

Image: Guidant Financial

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Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.

4 Reactions
  1. We need more Boomer ladies to identify as entrepreneurs.

  2. It is nice that baby boomers are now thinking of being their own boss. They used to think of just being employees.

  3. A large number of Boomers are highly educated any many are computer literate as pointed out in this study that 71% of aspiring Boomer entrepreneurs use online searches to learn about business financing options. Yet you look at the biggest hurdles for Boomers to business ownership and you will find the SAME reasons(hurdles) as those found by younger under 40 entrepreneurs i.e. haven’t identified right opportunity, not sure where to start and lack of a support system. Is ageism still holding the Boomers back? Are Boomers being pushed over to the ‘pasture land’ before their time? And, why isn’t there any serious collaboration between younger & older aspiring entrepreneurs to achieve mutual benefit by helping each other succeed?

  4. Hi Joe,
    Great points.
    There should definitely be more platforms for bringing Boomers and younger generations together. The experience, insights and many other intangibles Boomers bring must be used and capitalized on by any new entrepreneur looking to make his/her way in the business world.
    Likewise, Boomers can also learn from the younger generation on how to navigate today’s connected business ecosystem.