Solopreneurship for Boomers
We live in the time of great changes in our society. Demographically Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964), numbering some 75 million people, has entered the retirement phase in 2011. 10,000 Boomers reach retirement age of 65 every day of the year and this trend will continue until 2029. Many are still active, healthy and engaged. However, as they leave workforce, only 13% of them are confident that they can maintain their comfortable lifestyle in retirement. Many need to continue working well into their 70’s for various reasons.
Simultaneously with the changes in demographics, technology has dramatically changed our lives in the past 20 years. Mobile, connectivity, cloud, social networks, and other major innovations changed the way we do things and the way businesses of all sizes operate. Corporations large and small used the technology to streamline their operations and outsource to low cost locations in search for greater profits. They are seeking younger employees that are more comfortable with technology, cost less and not expecting longer term employment.
So, are 75 million people in the US going to be left behind? Does the change in our labor markets mean that all the collective talent, experience and knowledge will be left unutilized? That would be a tragic waste.
Boomers have to take charge of their own destiny and the answer is in entrepreneurship. Same technology trends that perhaps pushed them from their corporate jobs is creating a massive opportunity for them to start their own businesses.
Traditionally small businesses were thought of as local retail shops, restaurants, construction or similar local businesses. To start a small business one needed quite a bit of capital, dedication and hard work.
However, the opportunities for entrepreneurship have steadily become more diverse. While not entrepreneurship in the traditional sense, there is a growing segment of people who are turning themselves into a business. They are entrepreneurs in a different sense— not creating a product, running a shop or building a company. They are simply turning their knowledge and skills into a product and offering it to the market. There is even a term for this – solopreneur.
It may not seem that solopreneurship is a form of entrepreneurship, but as the freelance economy grows, that's precisely what it will become. Technology that made lifetime employment a thing of the past is now making the freelance economy the way of the future.
Contrary to popular belief, just about anyone can become a successful solopreneur. Startup costs are minimal and there are very few barriers for those willing to think of themselves as a business. As solopreneurs start up, they have the ultimate flexibility to determine their area of focus, amount of time to dedicate to work and where to live or work.
More importantly, business investment for solopreneurs means investment in themselves. As these businesses are primarily focused on knowledge or experience type of work, business investment means learning new skills or forming new business connections. Boomers can benefit from both.
So entrepreneurial dream is closer than ever for Boomers. It is liberating not to have to work for someone and be your own business. As our society adopts more and more flexible working arrangements, demand for these types of services is only bound to increase. Moreover, as social networking and talent platforms grow, solopreneurs will find opportunities to partner with other likeminded individuals in their pursuit of fulfilling and rewarding jobs. Boomers that are early on this trend will have an opportunity to help their peers and perhaps grow their business through networking opportunities.