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One Surprising Thing that Adults Over 50 are Doing

Apr 20, 2017

Adults over the age of 50 are one of the fastest-growing groups of entrepreneurs in the U.S. In fact, these adults are twice as likely as millennials to start a business in the next year. This group has become so prevalent that they’ve developed a moniker–they’re known as Seniorpreneurs.

It’s surprising, but true: people in their 50’s and up are starting businesses in record numbers.

Ken Budd, author of The Voluntourist, says that seeking business success in later years is especially common among today’s Baby Boomer generation.

“The idea that you’re just going to retire at 65 is becoming an outdated notion,” Budd said. “It’s more that time when people say, ‘I’m going to do that thing I’ve always dreamed about.'”

Why are some older adults starting new businesses instead of retiring?

Many things contribute to this trend. People are living longer. Some are forced to retire at a certain age even if they aren’t ready to quit working. Sometimes people have worked for a corporation for 30-40 years and feel like they’re ready to work for themselves for a change. Others simply find self-employment as the only way out of unemployment when age-discrimination makes it almost impossible to find a job.

And while the twenty-somethings may have the advantage when it comes to working long hours, staying up late to finish projects, and living on just pizza and beer; older workers possess some different, but important, advantages. They can bring in-depth knowledge, broad experience, and a strong professional network.

In The Age of Longevity: Re-Imagining Tomorrow for Our New Long Lives, the authors report that research indicates people from ages 55 to 65 have more innovation potential than a 25-year-old.

Three Older Entrepreneurs Who are Enjoying Tremendous Success

There are so many great stories of successful seniorpreneurs. Here are three of our favorites:

Have you enjoyed a delicious scoop of Moose Track ice cream? If so, you can thank Wally Blume, who started his company Denali Flavors when he was 50. After years in the dairy business, Blume decided to start his own company. There he ended up creating one of the most successful new ice cream flavors in the past couple of decades. Moose Tracks, this chocolate and peanut butter concoction, earns Blume’s company around $80 million a year. That’s pretty sweet!

For the women, who hasn’t found themselves freezing in a restaurant or in an over-air-conditioned building in the summer? At the age of 55 while eating at a too-cold restaurant, Jill Boehler came up with the idea of a wrap for warmth. She wanted a stylish wrap that could fold up small enough to keep in a small bag in your purse (without wrinkling!), and the Chilly Jilly was born. Her sales have been growing ever since.

When Carol Gardner was 52, she found herself divorced and in debt. Her divorce attorney told her she should either get a dog or a therapist. Carol adopted an English Bulldog puppy, named her Zelda, and began taking photos of her. Now Zelda Wisdom is a $50 million dollar company selling greeting cards and calendars. That sounds even better than therapy!


The Original Seniorpreneurs

Although these three represent some great recent entrepreneurial stories, people starting a successful business in their later years is nothing new.

Everyone is familiar with these iconic businesses:

*  Ray Kroc founded McDonalds at 52

*  John Pemberton started Coca-Cola at 55

*  And Colonel Harland Sanders created Kentucky Fried Chicken at 65

If you have the entrepreneurial bug and need even more inspiration, just remember–Ben Franklin was 76 when he invented bifocals!

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