mkltgplancourse275Due to massive downsizing, forced early retirements and job burnout, more and more people 50+ are looking for an alternative to a corporate job for the next stage of their lives.

As a coach to startups run by people over 50, let me give you eight reasons why becoming an entrepreneur can let you combine passion and profit and enrich your personal and professional life:

Your age doesn’t matter when you run your own business.

Whether you sell products to large corporations or services to consumers, your customers don’t care how old you are. They only care that you deliver what you promised when you promised it. In fact in some businesses, like corporate consulting, a bit of gray hair can strongly communicate experience and wisdom and give you the inside edge on winning contracts.

You can combine working for mission and for money.

Often while you are climbing the corporate ladder you have to give up volunteer and charity work in order to keep up with the long work hours. When you become your own boss, you can combine giving back to your community with making a nice living. In many communities much of the volunteer work and charitable investment is provided by local small business owners, who often have more flexible work schedules than their corporate brethren.

You can work from almost anywhere.

If you work with your customers at a distance as many business and career coaches do today, deliver your consulting advice at your client’s location or sell a product via an online store, where you physically locate your business office doesn’t really matter much in the success of your business. Using a tablet or smart phone linked to the Web, you can stay in touch with your customers from almost anywhere in the world which permits you to reside in more than one location during the year (a warm-weather place in the fall and winter, a cool-weather place in the spring and summer) to better enjoy your desired lifestyle.

You can avoid getting a pink slip ever again.

In the corporate world, one person can get you fired. But when you run your own business, your ability to survive and thrive comes from finding a group of customers who want what you are selling. Keep them happy, and many will not only buy repeatedly from you, they’ll also tell their friends.

You pick the people you want to work with and the one’s you don’t..

It is uncommon in a corporate career to be able to choose your boss. But, when you are an independent business owner you can often choose which clients to pursue and which vendors from which to buy. Now, there are exceptions to this option, such as when you sell your product through an online store, where essentially anyone with a valid credit card is an acceptable customer.

You can have multiple sources of income.

Serial entrepreneurs are individuals who have launched two or more businesses. But there is an even larger group of small business owners today: “sequential entrepreneurs”. These people use the financial foundation of their original business to permit them to extend into three, four or more ways to make money. For example, a career coach may build her business around one-on-one tele-coaching and then add a self-published book for sale, a fee-based live workshop and possibly paid speaking gigs talking about job search techniques to institutional and corporate audiences. Having multiple sources of income gives you much more security as the economy flexes up and down.

You can enjoy shorter, more flexible work hours..

Corporate employees often work punishing hours, partly due to endless meetings and starts and stops on projects.When you run your own business, you’ll be plenty busy, but you can try to streamline your work process to get the job done in under 40 hours a week. Plus, if you work from a home office, you eliminate commuting time. Plus, if you work from a home office you eliminate commuting time. The hours you free up can then be used for family-oriented activities, such as visiting your grandkids, or just for more me time.

You determine your financial progress.

Corporate salaries have been pretty flat for a while and substantial bonuses are pretty rare for most employees. However, entrepreneurial business owners can enjoy a very different financial reality. When you’re your own boss, you can set a personal compensation goal at the beginning of the year and then roll out a sales and marketing plan to help you achieve the goal.

Your earning ability as a business owner is limited only by your hustle and determination.

You can really boost your retirement savings.

You don’t have to stop contributing to your retirement plan just because you leave your corporate job. The IRS gives you a number of ways to legally put away up to 40% of your self-employment income in deferred income vehicles, such as Solo 401(k) and SEP/IRA funds. And the real beauty here is that you can continue to put aside money, tax-deferred, for as long as you are running at least one business.

You can become known as an expert.

Did you ever come up with a clever idea only to have your boss take credit for it? If you share your insider knowledge and experience with the marketplace through blogging, social media sharing and speaking engagements, you can fairly quickly become known as the “go to person” for your specialty. When a reporter or freelance writer in your niche needs an expert opinion, you’ll be the first person she calls. This provides a deep sense of satisfaction and builds your company’s competitive advantage.

The Wonderful Truth

The wonderful reality today is that is has never been less expensive, and therefore less risky, to start an entrepreneurial venture. Many new businesses today are launched for well under $10,000 and often can be run for less than $500 per month. When you consider the ten advantages of doing entrepreneurial work shown above, it may well be that the greater risk is to rely solely upon a corporate employer to provide you the opportunity to do meaningful work.