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Starting a Business After 60? Begin with Your Mindset

By Margaret Manning January 13, 2014 Managing Money

As women in our 60s, we have demonstrated our resourcefulness and resilience throughout our lives. We’ve become experts at doing things for the first time. We’ve earned degrees, raised families, managed our careers and travelled alone. We have proven again and again that we are masters of reinvention.

Now as we reach our 60s, many of us are facing our greatest challenge yet – how to survive and thrive without a job. One option is to start a business. But, despite a lifetime of experience, many of us lack the confidence to get started. If you are thinking about starting a business in retirement, it is essential to begin with your mindset.

Here are several ideas to help you find the confidence to start a successful business after 60:

Write Your Plan with Your Head, but, Choose it with your Heart

It’s easy to say that you want to start your own business in your 60s. It’s much harder to put your dreams into action. Before you start writing a plan, it is critical to decide on your goals. So, have a heart to heart with yourself and decide what you really want to accomplish.

From networking to financing, your reasons for wanting to start a business will influence everything else that you do. Is your goal to make a substantial survival income? Do you just want to bring in a little extra cash to supplement your income? Or, perhaps you want to share your passion with the world?

Once you have decided on your motivation for starting a business, you may wonder how to write a simple business plan. Of course, you could write a formal business plan. But, in most cases, it is enough to start by writing your plan around a few key questions:

  • What are your goals for the project? How will you measure your success?
  • What is the customer problem that you are trying to solve?
  • Who are your potential customers? Where do they go for information?
  • Who are your competitors? What do they do well? What can you do better?
  • What is your product or service?
  • How will you tell people about it? What assets do you have to spread the word?
  • How much money will you need to get off the ground?
  • Who do you know who can give you practical advice and emotional support?

If you revisit these questions every few months, you will be in a much better position than 90% of the people (of any age!) of who try to start a business.

Start a Business Doing Something That You Really Love

Even if one of your goals is to make a significant income from your new business, I would caution against becoming an entrepreneur “for the money.” The truth is that starting a business is hard. The only way that you are going to stay motivated is if you start a business in an area that you already are passionate about.

Don’t let anyone tell you that your passion is too specific. The fact is that some of the best small business ideas serve niche audiences. Why not open a vintage hat store, if that’s what you love? Or, perhaps you make the best gourmet cupcakes in your town. Why not share your passion with the world? There is no limit to the number of small business ideas for women over 60.

Ironically, you have a much better chance of succeeding financially if you build your business around your passions. So, start with what you love.

Get Emotional and Practical Support from Your Network

One of the advantages that we older entrepreneurs have is that we have a lifetime of friendships and business relationships to build on. Make networking a priority. Ask business colleagues, friends, and industry experts for guidance. Give them specific things to help you with.

Make the most of the latest technologies and social networking sites. If you haven’t updated your profile on LinkedIn recently, now would be a good time to give it a second look. Check out Project Eve for inspiration from other female entrepreneurs.

Leveraging your network is not just about getting practical support. The journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur can be a lonely one. Surrounding yourself with positive people can make a huge difference.

Give Yourself Credit for Your Experiences and Skills

Many women of my generation are modest when assessing their own skills. We tend to talk about our successes in terms of the collective contributions of the people that we worked with. We don’t like to brag. Now is the time to remind yourself of just how talented you really are. You have accomplished more than you give yourself credit for. If you need a little extra inspiration, check out our previous article on how to improve your self-confidence.

Remember that Success is All in Your Head

Start planning for your business with a “glass is half-full” attitude. Reflect on why you want to start a company and what might be holding you back. You have a lifetime of experience to apply to your new business. Now is the time of your life to do the things that you love. If you can build a successful business around your passions, so much the better!

Have you considered starting a new business? What qualities do you think that you will need to succeed? Please add your thoughts in the comments below.


Wondering what to do in retirement? Watch my interview with Nancy Collamer.

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The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

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