Are you thinking about starting a business after 50? If you’ve never done such a thing it can be a mighty scary thought.
There are many aspects of starting a business at 50 or at 60 that need to be preplanned and thought out. Usually, there is some type of monetary investment involved, although with some small business ventures it is minimal. You might need to be licensed, register with your local government agency, etc. Lots of things to check off the list.
As a woman in your 50’s, you may have enjoyed a long career with a company that wasn’t the perfect job, but it offered a consistent income, possibly benefits (maybe some really good benefits) and other perks that go along with working for someone else. So the thought of being ‘out there on your own’ could be sort of terrifying. But it’s also exciting, isn’t it? Joining the ranks of the ‘over 50 entrepreneurs club’ would be pretty cool.
I know. I started a small interior decorating business at the age of 50 when my husband and I moved full time from Michigan to Florida…here is my story.
If you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
My Experience Starting a Business as a Woman Over 50
I’ve always been the type of person who was willing to take a risk. Well, a calculated risk anyway.
On the one hand, I stayed with one company for 20 years and worked my way up the ladder from entry-level to Vice President. It was a good career, I learned a lot and was able to work close to home, earn a good wage and enjoy the typical medium-sized company benefits.
It was a long time to remain with one organization, and the decision to leave that company spurred me on to do some things that I would not have dreamed possible. So leaving was the best decision for me, even though it was terrifying.
I experienced working at a small design shop in town, then helped start a new bank (that was a fascinating thing to do!), then partnered with my husband to start a residential building company. All of these experiences, the ups, the down, the good and the not so good, helped prepare me for taking that leap of faith and starting my own small business in 2007.
When I made the decision to start Simply Designed…decorating to fit your budget! I was working full time in an administrative position (hated every minute of it but it was financially necessary at that time in our lives), didn’t have any money to invest or to lose, and our lives had basically been turned upside down with the economic downturn. We lost everything.
Why am I telling you this? Because I want you to know that you don’t have to, and don’t want to, wait until everything is perfect in your life before you start on a new business venture. If you wait for that perfect time, you’ll never do it.
My friend, if you are thinking of starting a business as a woman over 50, I say go for it! Be smart, about what you do, but don’t hold back at this time in your life.
Start Small and Grow…or Not!
Starting your own business after 50 isn’t necessarily simple or easy, and in fact, it’s neither for most women. As they say, if it were easy everyone would do it!
But here is the beauty of starting, and owning, your own business. YOU’RE THE BOSS! Yep, the buck stops with you, Babe. And, as I said before, it’s exciting and terrifying at the same time!
When I started my interior decorating business I was working full time, so any clients I obtained were handled after hours or on weekend appointments, or when I could schedule time off from my job.
I remember creating a color tri-fold brochure, printing it off of our home printer, and sending it out as a mailer to neighborhoods I had selected as potential clients. And guess what? That’s how I got my first client!
I was so new to the Fort Myers area that my client had to tell me where to find some of the stores he had been looking at for his project. So I found my way around, completed the project and it turned out really well.
Online marketing also became part of my advertising plan and over the years my website has gained substantial local influence in my niche of interior decorating and home staging.
My business stayed rather small for several years as I worked another job and my husband grew his business in Florida. Finally in the fall of 2013 I was able to stop working for others and devote all of my time to my own business! Yay!
Discover Your Passion
So enough about me…let’s talk about you…what you are pondering, how to hone in on the niche that will be best for you and your lifestyle.
You will be much happier, fulfilled and probably more profitable if you can discover your passion or passions, and from there determine how it relates to a business that other people will want. Whether it’s goods or services, you have to offer something of value that other people want and are willing to pay for.
You don’t have to recreate the wheel, you know. If you love to look beautiful and put on makeup, take care of your skin, for example, maybe you want to become an independent rep for an online or local skincare or beauty product company.
I was in my 40’s when I discovered that interior decorating was what I loved to do. I’d always been creative, but it was at this time in my life that I narrowed it down to this niche. Home staging came into play in my 50’s and both niches have served me well, providing a six-figure income for the last several years.
It has been a lot of hard work, long hours, stressful times and monetary investment. But it’s mine. I’m the boss. And I love it.
Now, I’m at the point in my life where I am changing directions completely. It’s been 11 years since that first client back in 2007, and at 63 years of age I am switching my focus from a local perspective to a much wider (and much less physically demanding) income opportunity. Is it terrifying? Absolutely!
The business I know well and make a good income with is no longer where I want to spend my energy in life. So I am slowly phasing parts of that business out, keeping the area that is the most versatile and suitable for me at this time.
And, my income opportunities going forward will be based on a much larger, online market.
I am now a midlife blogger, which was a decision I made about six months ago. I love what I do with this blog, and am working on other opportunities to use my interior decorating, home staging, communication and business skills to help others who have a similar passion.
For me, an online focus with a much larger market is where I am headed. Inspire My Style is the first step in the process.
After almost of year of learning, planning and creating, my first online course, a motivational and self development course for women in midlife, is ready for enrollment. I’m excited and nervous at the same time, but I know that I have something to offer and this is a wonderful avenue to share information.
Fast forward almost two years, to June, 2020, and I’ve been able to create a package of personal development materials for women in midlife. It’s challenging, sometimes frightening (will anyone actually BUY what I have to offer??), and very rewarding.
Move the clock forward about three more years to April 2023, and my business focus has adjust yet again. I’ve moved away from face-to-face with clients and focus solely on opportunities to earn online income. It’s tough and extremely competitive, but I am up for the challenge at this point in my life.
Take a peek at my newest venture as an online creator of lovely, inspiring things for you and your home; visit Ivory Home on Zazzle
But it all comes down to this, my friend:
If you never try, never put yourself out there, you’ll never know if you can do it.
What is the Take Away?
- As a woman over 50, you have something to offer!
- Discover your passion and how it can earn you some income. Do some research for business ideas for over 50 women if you need a jump start.
- Decide whether it will be a local, physical presence, online, or both
- Determine the marketability of your idea – are there potential customers who will pay for what you offer?
- Decide how much money you are willing to invest in your company.
- Set realistic goals – you don’t have to aspire to be a huge company. It might be more like a hobby on steroids 🙂
- Remember to consider your lifestyle, availability, your spouse/partner if applicable, family, travel…all the things that can become part of our lives when we’re women in midlife. All good things for sure, but give them the appropriate thought before plunging into a new business venture.
Owning a business is not for everyone, but if you think it’s for you, then go after that dream. Is it too late to start a business at 50? Of course not! You are never too old to start something new!
Like this post? Share it!
76 thoughts on “Starting a Business After 50”
I don’t think I have the “go for it” attitude needed to have my own business Candi – I like knowing that there will be a regular paycheck etc from my nice little part-time job. I certainly agree with you that 50 is not too old to start something new. I left my previous job when I was 52 and thought I would be unemployable and was surprised to see that I was still in demand and found something even better quite quickly. We need to believe in ourselves and recognize the experience, maturity and life skills we bring with us. Looking forward to reading more about your new venture!
There is certainly something to be said for those nice part time jobs, too! You’re right – we need to understand ourselves, what motivates us as individuals, and what our risk tolerance is. Thanks for stopping by, Leanne!
I like that you took the chance. I like that you are encouraging others and that you have lots of advice to offer. My days of doing anything with a ‘risk’ are long gone but I do think regrets of what we wished we had done are important to consider in any venture of this kind. Good on you!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Denyse! I hope my experience and advice will be helpful to others considering starting a business 🙂
That is so awesome that you started your own business after 50!
I am loving being an Encore Entrepreneur as the Founder and CEO of A.Blake Enterprises. There are long, lonely hours and hard work finding new clients, but I wouldn’t have it any other way at the age of 56 and 32 years in corporate america.
Yep, it’s a hard, long road but I agree with you…wouldn’t change a thing! Thanks for your comments.
Great blog – love your honesty and courage – you go girl!
Thank you, Jacqueline!
I must have an entrepreneurial spirit. Anytime I discover a new interest, I am compelled to think about how to monetize it. Unfortunately, I am NOT a salesman, so the ideas never progress far. I just know I love learning – and then sharing what I’ve learned with others. I’ve considered developing an online series of journaling classes … but have not investigated viable options. You’ve inspired me to take that next step 🙂
I hope you do take that next step, Molly, and develop those online classes!
Hi Candi, I have a dream to help Women Over 50 realise their potential. No, I don’t have a piece of paper that says I can do it, but I do have life experience. I think what holds me back is myself and the thought of can I do this. I know that even through my writing and in life, I have inspired others to achieve their goals. Helping people is my calling but I’m not sure how to actually get started. Perhaps you could give me some tips. Congratulations on your new venture and I look forward to hearing more about it. Have a great week and thanks for sharing with us and being part of the #MLSTL community. xx
You do such great work with your blog, Sue, and I know you have helped and inspired many others! You have certainly been an inspiration to me 🙂
Hi Candi, I’m revisiting because you posted in the ST60 & Beyond Facebook group. I’m so pleased I have been an inspiration to you but you also are inspiring and showing women Over 50 we can still do anything. Have a lovely week. xx
Thank you, Sue!
Congratulations on starting your own business. I agree you’re never too old to go for it. I’ve found, too, that oftentimes we are more successful when there is more at stake. I’m not sure why that is…perhaps it provides more motivation! #MLSTL
I think you are exactly right, Kristin!
Hi Candi! Loved this post. You make us over 50 women proud! I also started a business after 50. I had been in the medical profession for most of my adult life,and at 52 created a unique bridal show with my daughter that was hugely sucessful. From medical to weddings? I know. Weird.
Even though it was successful, neither of us were fans of the industry (bridezillas), so i went on to again start a business with my daughter: Organized Chaos Online. It took off like crazy and even though we’ve both since branched out into other pursuits, it’s still active and getting subscribers.
I learned so many new skills during those years that I have now applied to my current business and would love to see other women over 50 dig deep within themselves to go for it. You’re never too old to go after your dreams!
Thanks again. Wishing you much success!
Thanks for much for sharing your experiences and adventures with businesses after 50. You’ve been a busy lady!
At one point many years ago I thought about having my own business but it was nothing I wanted to invest my time and money in. Good for you for finding a direction you wanted to go at 50 and go for it.
Thanks Victoria, glad you stopped by to have a read!
I love it! Although not 50 yet, I’m pretty darn close and am working hard to grow my business. Eventually, I’d love to step away from my current full-time job. Great advice – thanks!
Glad you found my story and experience helpful, I’ll bet you’ll get there, too!
I love that you encourage women to start a business on age 50. It is never to late to start new things, there is always a chance!
Thanks Ina, and you’re right…it is never too late!
Candi – Good for you! Anytime we step out of our comfort zone it is scary but like you said the buck stops with you – you are your own boss. I love the fact that my life – work and personal – is all based on the decisions I make. You obviously bring tons of experience to your clients and they are very lucky to have you doing what you do best. Best of luck with your venture.
Thanks so much, Nikki!
I’ve been an entrepreneur all my life – so loved this article! Kudos to you!
Thanks Rachel, you can relate to my experiences for sure!
I definitely want to start my own business. I am 40 and am tired of working so hard for others. I know it will be scary and difficult, but I am up for the challenge!
Plan, research and plan some more, Anitra. You can do it!
This is very inspirational! I am coming up on my 1 year business anniversary and (and working full time still with 2 little!) and feel like I haven’t made it far. I to have little to invest and none to lose! It’s scary at times to follow your dreams! It’s great to hear the inspirational stories!
It may seem like a huge hurdle with no end in sight, but keep on persevering and you will see progress over time. You can do it!
Fascinating post. I’m 49, so not quite there yet, but have been in the process over the past year of trying to figure out what’s next now that my kids are both in college. I am very inspired by your post!
Thanks, Melissa, I hope my post has been helpful to you in planning your next step.
Thanks for inspiring us “olders”!
Thanks Michele…we still have some ‘kick’ left in us!
So inspirational! THank you for sharing this Candi! Congratulations on all your success! This is SO GREAT!!!
Thank you, Laura!
I agree 100% Love your blog and your broad topics!
Thanks so much, Terri. I wonder sometimes if I have too many topics that I discuss, but they are all so interesting to me, and I hope they inspire others.
I have always been an entrepreneur and after working in the corporate world for the last 10 years I am ready to get back to it. Thank you for the inspiration!
Go for it, Tricia! Maybe this is your time!
Great story! You really have done it all!!
Thanks Gail…I don’t really think about it, but when it is put down on paper there is a bit of a list 🙂
This is great! My in-laws started a food truck business when they were over 50 and it is booming! Your age is just a number, it’s the passion behind your idea that matters! Very inspiring to hear your story!
Thanks Eileen! A food truck business sounds like a lot of work, but so much fun!
This is such an inspirational post!!! Thank You as I am in the middle of choosing between where to work, and what to do. This is so very much exactly what I needed to read today.
That’s great, Jennifer, I hope my story has been helpful to you!
I am so happy for you and all your success!!
Thanks so much, Kristi!
Love this, Candi! I have the entrepreneurial spirit as well. I started a brick and mortar business when I was 40 and did well with it, but it was just about to turn a profit right before the recession hit, After a few years, I decided that I was spending a lot of time on the business and I’d be better off bringing it virtual, which I did. It’s a lot of personal sacrifice and economic risk, for sure. And the way we do business now is so different than it was in 2000!
Thanks for sharing your experiences, Tina, and you’re right – it’s a whole different world than it was back at the turn of the century!
Kudos to you and here’s wishing you the best on this endeavor!!
Thank you so much!
I think this post is relevant to a lot of women – not just the over 50 crowd. I admire your bravery in starting your own business – more than once! I am absolutely positive that you will find success in all that you do. (And I also love the necklace in these photos.)
Thanks Christa, you are right…my experiences can apply to any age. I’m glad you noticed the necklace, it’s from my Summer Causebox 🙂
Candi I’m so happy for you!!! My goal is to turn my blog into a business, replacing my current income. Great post and thank you for sharing.
Thank you Naomi! I wish you much success!
I love the message of following your dreams at all stages in life! Thanks for bringing us along on your journey!
Thanks Katie, I appreciate your comments!
Wow!! This is good good stuff. I have had many side businesses throughout my life (50+ years) and hope this one takes the PRIZE. I love what I am doing and am terrified about the changes and growing I will have to do to make it a success but I am willing to learn from my mistakes and do everything in my power to serve my clients well. Posts like this give me courage to go at it another day, week, month… and watch this business bloom. LOVE your BLOG!
Thanks so much Susan, and I know you are going to be wildly successful! xo
It’s never too late to follow your dreams! Love this!
Thank you Kari!
What an inspiring story! Great tips not just for women over 50, but for anyone setting out to start a buisness as well.
That’s right Kat, you’re never too young to start a business, either! 🙂
You’re never too old to pursue your dream or to start over! Life is a beautiful adventure! Thanks for sharing and inspiring!
Yes it is an adventure for sure! Thanks, as always, for stopping by, Lysa
I think you’re on to something Candi. As I move closer to retirement I too am building my blog into a business. Great post!
Thanks Lorna, I hope you find some of this information helpful 🙂
Love the post, great info, I have had a few smaller businesses in the past and enjoyed them. I am now at a point where “softer” is what I want to develop, such as my writing and becoming published, baby steps right now. My first step is being a new blogger, just four months in now. So much learning, ugh! My blog focus is fashion/beauty/lifestyle, but the blog will “morph” as it goes along, being published is really my big dream; time marches on so I have to get on it, pronto! Thanks again for this 🙂
Lori Jo – 50 With Flair
Thanks Lori, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, there is SO much to learn as a blogger, it’s a whole new world. I really like your style and point of view on your blog, and think you’re going to do really well!
Great post Candi & nice to meet you 😊 I’ve had a few businesses over the years one joint & two solo. My latest I started when I was 48 & that was scary, I sold it 4 years later & still not sure what to do next. Not sure I could do it all again though 😊 great advice.
Hi Samantha, thanks for stopping by. It’s certainly not a time in life that works for everyone when it comes to a business, and you’ve had more than your share of ownership in the past! Nice to meet you, too 🙂