Updated: Jun 24
Many seniors manage successful businesses across a range of industries. But did you know that it’s possible to run a business from home and still make an income? There are many reasons why home-based businesses are great for retired boomers—and getting started isn’t as challenging as you might think.
Why Start a Home-Based Business as a Senior?
Many seniors continue to work well beyond retirement—the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites a labor force participation rate of 40.1 percent among people ages 55 and older, and it continues to rise. Many things drive people to return to or remain in the workforce, such as income concerns or boredom. But why should you choose a home-based business?
Working from home—or anywhere—as a digital nomad means that mobility isn’t a top concern. While the U.S. Census Bureau confirms that mobility is the most common challenge among older Americans, working from home means fewer obstacles between you and your profession.
Startup Costs (and Responsibilities) Are Low
The beauty of home-based businesses is that they don’t require much capital to get started. You don’t need to rent space, hire employees, or purchase products in most cases. Sure, product-based home businesses are an option, but so are service-based jobs.
Even if you choose to sell products from home, you can use a drop-shipping service to handle the logistics for you. If you want to learn more about popular e-commerce topics, look to wikis and resources online. If you need assistance with startup tasks, you can also keep costs low by hiring freelancers instead of full-time employees so that you only pay workers on a per-project basis. For instance, to help make your e-commerce store visible and more accessible to shoppers, you’ll need a high-quality website. If you’re not familiar with how to achieve this, hiring an experienced web designer ensures that your business’s website is customized to fit your needs. You can connect with talented candidates by accessing freelancing sites like Upwork.
Keep communication costs low by switching to a VoIP service provider so you can offer quality customer support.
Regardless of the business type, you can expect startup costs to range between $2,000 and $5,000, Business News Daily notes. Of course, many digital nomads have started their businesses for significantly less.
Regular Expenses Are Affordable
While a home-based business is the most flexible work you can find, you also need to budget for work-related expenses. For example, as an entrepreneur, you will rely on technology to stay connected, which means many calls, texts, or emails, depending on your industry. Other common expenses for home-based businesses include an office setup and equipment, plus faster internet or even a landline to address certain business needs. You may also need business management tools that will allow you to easily accept payments and track inventory.
Tax Breaks Help Small Businesses
As the U.S. Small Business Administration explains, self-employed workers and sole proprietors fall under specific tax scenarios. Your expenses—both business and capital—may qualify you for tax breaks.
Of course, you also need to set aside funds for self-employment tax, which is 15.3 percent of your income. This is one responsibility that employees typically don’t worry about since their employers automatically remove taxes from their checks. It’s manageable to do on your own, however, or with the help of your tax professional.
How to Start a Home-Based Business as a Senior
Becoming a digital nomad—someone who can work from nearly anywhere—doesn’t require you to travel the world (unless you want to). Getting started is often as simple as establishing your expertise and networking with clients in your industry. Just ask yourself some basic questions, like whether you have appropriate marketing tools and if you need an exit strategy since some groundwork will often set you up for success.
Establish Business Licensure
Depending on where you live and how you plan to run your business, you might need a business license to do so. While many freelance professionals use their social security number for work as a sole proprietor, other options include establishing an LLC or corporation.
Many digital nomads rely on a website to promote their services, but others use their real-life networking skills to find work. For example, you may want to attend local networking opportunities, which you can find on platforms like Meetup. Don’t discount events that require a fee to attend, as they can actually be a motivator for you to get active with networking.
Starting a home-based business is the right choice for many retired boomers looking to keep working with more flexibility. Once you get started, there’s no limit to how far you can scale your work. And with the right fit, you can continue until you decide to stop, whenever that may be.