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Are You a Maturepreneur?

Cliff Ennico on

Millions of baby boomers are leaving corporate America, but few are ready to retire.

The solution for many of them? Maturepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs in their 50s, 60s and 70s start 25 percent of all new businesses each year, according to Bruce Markewicz, founder of Maturepreneur Today, a new information and resource website for second-act business owners.

But while maturepreneurs have many of the same challenges as younger entrepreneurs do -- marketing their product or service, dealing with competition, finding investors, coping with legal and tax headaches -- they have a number of unique challenges. Says Markewicz:

--They have to compete in a marketplace that worships millennials.

--They have to protect their financial investments and have less time to recoup any losses from a failed venture.

 

--Many want to have more work/life balance time for their family, hobbies and other pursuits, which any entrepreneur will tell you is next to impossible.

"Older entrepreneurs have a lot of financial obligations -- home mortgages, aging parents, children in college -- and they can't just afford to take a year off and live in the basement on RedBull and Ramen noodles," says Fran Trelease, founder of BoomerDen LLC, an online consulting firm specializing in cubicle-to-self-employment career transitions. "But often at this stage their ideas are brilliant: they've been stewing on a back burner in the individual's mind for decades, and as a result their ideas and business plans are often much more clearly thought through than the stuff Millennials dream up."

When you hear in the media about America's aging population, it's often presented as a doom-and-gloom scenario: too few young people supporting too many dependent elderly, the national energy level going down and less risk-taking. Someone who thinks this is baloney is Chris Farrell, a Minnesota Public Radio personality and author of "Purpose and a Paycheck: Finding Meaning, Money and Happiness in the Second Half of Life."

"This is a wonderful thing for the economy," says Farrell. "People are working longer, they're healthier and better educated, and hey, age discrimination in corporate America is very real so traditional management jobs aren't an option. By starting something of their own, older entrepreneurs are actually less of a burden on the social safety-net."

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