Posted on 07/12/2017

Self-Employment Over 50 Spells Independence

Erica Lemp

Erica Lemp is the Executive Director of weVENTURE at the Florida Institute of Technology. Work For Yourself@50+ is offered through the Women’s Business Center Program at weVENTURE.

You may think of “gaining independence” when you graduate high school or college, but have you thought about becoming more independent after 50? What would it be like to be your own boss?

There are many reasons why you may want or need a career change. Maybe you’ve been laid off or need a second job. Or maybe you just need a change or aren’t ready to retire.

Working for yourself after age 50 is not a completely new concept, but it is  a trend on the rise. According to the Kauffman Index, professionals between 55 and 64 accounted for 14.8 percent of new business owners in 1996 and in 2015, they accounted for 24.3 percent.

So why are more individuals 50+ opting for self-employment? Independence. Independence to make their own schedules, the freedom to implement their own ideas, and the opportunity to have financial control of their business.

Here in Brevard County, approximately 35 percent of residents are 50+ (according to a 2016 study conducted by weVENTURE, along with community partners CareerSource Brevard, Wells Fargo and SBDC). Of these, an estimated 6.8 percent (approximately 15,000) are low-income adults who are increasingly looking for self-employment opportunities. Many of them have been laid off or had limited access to resources in their community to pursue other alternatives, such as education and training.

Brevard’s current average age is 44.75, meaning that in 6-10 years, our 50+ population will increase and the demand for approaches such as AARP Foundation’s Work for Yourself@50+ will be needed even more. weVENTURE’s intention is to be the leading voice to ignite the economic power of these seniors by providing a support network that will enable success. The fact that these workshops are free and apply to all types of entrepreneurs, including those wanting to start part -time side businesses, or work as freelancers or consultants, makes them very attractive to those seeking career independence.

Another reason to opt for self-employment? According to a recent CNBC.com article, data has shown that people over age 55 are reemployed (following a layoff or reentering the workforce) at a substantially lower rate than those 54 years of age or younger. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of January 2014, the reemployment rate for 55- to 64-year-olds was 53 percent, compared with 68 percent for 25- to 54-year-olds. For the 65+ crowd, the rate was just 23 percent.

Self-employment may not be the right fit for everyone, but knowing what questions to ask can help guide you to a decision that makes sense for you. Are you in Central Florida? If so, take the first step and join us for a free workshop being held at weVENTURE Rockledge (located inside CareerSource Brevard) from 9 to 11 a.m. on August 4.

To learn more or to register, visit weVENTURE.org/events/2017/02/work-for-yourself50/ or call 888-339-5617 to find a workshop near you!

 

Erica Lemp is the Executive Director of weVENTURE at the Florida Institute of Technology. Work For Yourself@50+ is offered through the Women’s Business Center Program at weVENTURE.

*Updated 07/24/2017

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