Are you a retiree, an elderly person or senior and you are seeking ways to avoid being idle; maybe while earning extra income? Maybe not just seniors… There are great opportunities for young people, entrepreneurs and businesses that want to focus on an industry, a product, and/or a service that offers social and/or economic benefit to senior citizens in our Community.
Seniors are the hottest demographic in the entire country, and our Community is no different. And this market is only going to get bigger. It is in fact a growth industry. The good news about the senior market is boundless opportunities exist for businesses and entrepreneurs wise enough to think ahead. The big opportunities are growing since in the seniors market may still be 5 to 15 years into the future.
When folks age and retire, they often tend to “vegetate” and take life easy… and that is okay, but more and more individuals that retire, many want to stay active and to be involved in their community and business. As the baby boomer generation continues to age and people enjoy longer lives, it creates a need for businesses that cater to senior citizens. Business ideas include helping seniors with basic living needs as well as providing products and services. Some ideas may require only basic skills while others call for more specific expertise. Businesses that cater to senior citizens need not necessarily be started/operated by senior citizens – indeed, it is the need for such businesses and services that should be recognized that focus on the senior community.
Most Seniors want to do something to keep themselves busy, but there aren’t many companies out there willing to employ elderly people. I believe that studies have shown that when elderly people are not allowed enough physical and mental activity, it shortens their lifespan. It is understandable that most people who are advanced in age need to take it slow and not involve themselves in activities that are physically exerting and strenuous but it doesn’t mean that the senior generation cannot still work nor do something to keep them busy if they have the energy.
The following are but an example of Business Ideas that may apply to Senior Citizens. While many of the suggestions may be of more interest to seniors in large cities or Metro areas, it is no less of interest to explore possibilities:
1. Baby sitting- Elderly people love children and children also love to be around elderly people and this is why the first business i would recommend for an elderly woman is to set up a baby sitting center.
2. Consultancy- You probably worked in one industry before you retired and after several years in that industry, you would most likely know a few tricks of the trade that you can teach other people. You could offer your services as a business consultant and help the younger generation some business success tips.
3. Public speaking- Another option is to become a public speaker and share your ideas and knowledge with the younger generation.
4. Book writing- You could also share your life’s journey, your experiences, things you have learned, marital advice, and parenting tips or just about anything you feel people would be interested in reading. You don’t have to stress yourself looking for publishers to publish your book; you can always write, publish and sell on the internet. There are numerous software packages that allow self-publishing.
5. Coaching services- There are several niches when it comes to coaching. You can become a life coach, a career coach, relationship coach, religious coach or a marriage counselor.
6. Pet sitting- This is another business that doesn’t involve too much physical activity. However, you would need a proper location that would be appropriate, as well as perhaps needing an assistant to help you out because pets can sometimes be restless and naughty.
7. Bed and Breakfast services- Most elderly people complain of loneliness and boredom. Well, to ease the boredom, you could set up a bed and breakfast hotel. You do not need to purchase a property or have millions in your account to start a bed and breakfast business. If you have a bedroom or two in your home that you are not using currently, all you have to do is to convert it to a comfortable space where tourists or visitors can pay you to spend the night. Of course it should go without saying that a good place to start would be with the local authorities to determine permits and requirements.
8. Property management- You could also consider becoming a property manager. You could start with helping neighbors, friends or members of your local group to look for people to rent or lease their vacant properties. Again, this is a business that can be done conveniently from home.
9. Real estate developer- You could also invest your retirement savings into building or buying houses for resale. Flipping houses is a possibility, but probably only if you have some experience and knowledge of the requirements of such a business.
10. Tax consultancy- Many companies and individuals require the services of someone who can help them reduce their tax burden. You could start a tax consultancy business to help such people out. Again, previous experience would most likely be a great advantage.
11. Freelance writing- Another alternative is to become a freelance writer. You could make money from writing web content, copywriting or guest blogging. There is a great deal of information on this subject that would of value when exploring such an effort.
12. Blogging- You could also share ideas, experiences and advise with the younger generation through blogging. You could earn a lot of money from advertisements and affiliate marketing.
13. Catering- You could also become a caterer or write your own recipe book and sell it. Of course, there would be a lot of recipes the younger generation could learn from you.
14. Event planning & Management- If you are someone who loves planning and organizing things, you could think of starting your own event management business.
15. Teaching- Another top business idea for elderly people is to either set up a school or become a part-time or full-time teacher depending on how much time you have got to spare. You could even start an after-school tutoring business for school children.
16. Internet selling- eBay is a good market place for selling just about anything. You could sell used stuffs you no longer need on eBay, antique furniture, stuffs you make at home like jewelry, candles etc. Of course Computer and Internet knowledge would be an important background.
17. Customer service representative- You could also start a home-based customer service business and help business owners take orders, respond to enquiries or solve problems their clients might be facing with their products and services.
18. Online tutoring- If you love teaching but cannot cope with the stress of becoming a school teacher, you could become a tutor on the internet instead. There are several websites where you could apply to for online tutoring jobs and get paid nice commission.
19. Bookkeeping- Another idea you should consider is to start a bookkeeping service and help people keep records of their income and expenses and even prepare financial statements.
20. Dress making- You could also put your sewing skills to use by making and selling clothing items for babies and adults, bed sheets and pillow cases, stuffed animals, pet clothes, cloth diapers or duvets.
21. Pickup and Delivery Service- Seniors who are unable to get out and about can benefit from a home pickup and delivery service. Possibilities include groceries, dry cleaning, laundry and veterinary visits for pets. A van, station wagon or pickup truck can be helpful, especially if your plan to transport larger items or pets. Gain clients by leaving business cards at senior centers or living communities.
22. Handyman and Property Maintenance- Seniors may need assistance in caring for their properties and you can help them by providing maintenance services. You can mow the lawn and tend to the garden, as well as perform repairs around the home. For seniors who travel frequently, you can care for their properties while they're away. One way to gain business is to conduct home repair clinics or seminars at local home and garden stores.
23. Technical and Computer Training- Surfing isn't just for young whippersnappers … Retirees who now have more free time may have the desire to learn how to use a computer. You can teach them the basics of computer use such as surfing the Internet, sending emails and preparing Word documents. A free seminar can also be used as a way to meet potential clients. Patience and motivational skills are beneficial when teaching novice computer users. Helping seniors feel successful, due to lack of access, lack of skills or intimidation, have yet to make use of Internet technology. An option could be online tutorial training in basic skills like Internet and e-mail use.
24. Real Estate- Some seniors look to relocate to warmer climates upon retirement and need assistance selling their home and purchasing a new one. Career possibilities include helping seniors sell their existing selling home or serving as a buyer's agent. An affiliation with a local Real Estate company may be the best entre into this activity.
25. Investment Adviser- Seniors who are living on fixed incomes often need assistance in managing their finances to make every dollar count. As a financial adviser, you can help them develop a plan to maximize pension, IRA, 401k and Social Security payments. Obtaining credentials, such as Certified Financial Planner, can provide you with additional expertise and credibility (See Resources).
26. Senior Transportation- The challenge in the senior transportation business, experts agree, is finding ways to provide seniors who can no longer drive with the ability to get where they want to be-and get there in style. Losing the ability to drive can be devastating, but entrepreneurs who find ways to make the ride enjoyable will cash in.
The need for transportation services is certainly there, particularly if you don't limit your service to daytime activities. "Car services that pick you up, drop you off and return you-after a party, a dinner, the symphony-are great for entrepreneurial endeavors.
A concierge service for seniors could both provide escorted transportation and bring services into the home, depending on what the client requests. Think beautician services, dry cleaning, mobile vets, domestic help-again, anything that makes seniors' lives easier and also makes use of their disposable income.
A good place to start evaluating this business would be to talk to an insurance agent that could provide details on liability exposure.
27. Adult Day Care- Representing another idea still in its formative stages, adult day care may already be provided by existing senior communities. But this may be an opportunity to “contract” with existing senior communities whereby they can expand their offerings to their clientele.
The rise in adult day-care services is a sign of the times… "This area is growing rapidly because as the population ages, other trends-such as two-career households, smaller families and adult children living far from their parents-are putting even more pressure on caregivers' time and energy." What's more, adult day care offers seniors the ability to socialize with their peers and engage in activities that they might not otherwise have an opportunity to do.
The company will offer field trips, day care and entertainment for seniors who either live in a senior facility or live at home but can't drive. "[Seniors may be] stuck in a horrible environment with no means to get out and no access to any culture or real entertainment, and perhaps their children don't have the time to visit enough, let alone take them out for a half-day each week to be entertained somewhere.
Finally, in all cases, it would be advised to seek counsel on any business of interest. A good place to start could be with your area Community College that often has a Small Business Development Group. In Southwest Iowa that would be SWCC/SBDC and IWCC/SBDC.