Episode #3: Should You Quit Your Day Job? Starting a Business in Retirement

December 1, 2015 · 20:00
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Joe Anania was an airline mechanic who had a passion for motorcycles.  

In 2005, Joe Northwest Airlines mechanic colleagues went on strike.  To bring in some money while waiting out the strike, he looked to his motorcycle hobby and started repairing motorcycles.

When the strike ended, Joe decided he didn’t want to go back to the airline.  He retired and started his own business, repairing and restoring vintage motorcycles.  He sees this business something he can do until his working days are done.

Chris talks with Elizabeth Isele, founder and president of Senior Entrepreneurship Works about turning a passion into a business and about entrepreneurship in later life. We’ll learn:

  • Is it a good idea to make your passion or hobby into a business?
  • Why you don’t need a board of directors and what you do need instead.
  • What are the benefits of starting a business later in life?
  • What steps to take first if you’re thinking about starting a business.
  • How to learn about entrepreneurship at any age.

Our listener question comes from Deb.  She asks “How can a 60 year old continue to find work in a field that is dominated by young people?”  

Explore additional resources from this episode:

Entrepreneurship and youth seem synonymous. Think Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jack Dorsey of Twitter.

Yet if you peek beneath the headlines, the 55 to 64 year age group is remarkably active starting new businesses, accounting for 25.8 percent of new entrepreneurs last year, up from 14.8 percent in 1997, according to the Kauffman Foundation.

Here are a number of online resources for fledgling entrepreneurs that I like. Each of these websites has plenty of links to additional information.

Organizations that support Entrepreneurs:

Kauffman Foundation  The foundation offers a rich array of information for the small business entrepreneur.

Senior Entrepreneurship Works The brainchild of our guest in this episode–Elizabeth Isele. Its incubators are “part collaborative community, tech incubator, and training/inspiration platform.”

Small Business Administration The SBA is a portal into a wealth of information and links.

SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) Volunteers with the nonprofit association act as mentors and counselors to new small business owners.

National Association of Business Incubators A resource for finding and learning about business incubators, which bring together entrepreneurs with experienced teachers and mentors

Small Business Development Centers There are about 1,000 of these small business clearing houses housed in colleges across the country.

The AARP is putting more emphasis on starting a small business. This section of the AARP’s website gathers insights for those age 50 and over, thinking about their own entrepreneurial venture.

Entrepreneurship Publications:

Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Fortune and other major business press publications write about small business and pass on stories and experiences of veteran entrepreneurs.

A couple of publications are especially worth a look. Among them is Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Fast Company and Next Avenue.

You can see more pictures of Joe’s work (and ginger riding the motorcycle) on the Unretirement Facebook page and at Joe’s website.


Ask Chris your unretirement question or share your story:

If you have an unretirement question or a story for Chris, get in touch.  We are always looking for inspiring stories and try to answer as many listener questions as possible.

Join the conversation:

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This week we want to know:

Have you thought about starting a business in your retirement?  

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