Elder Entrepreneurs: Success Stories

By Michelle Seitzer / Posted on 18 August 2010

I can’t stop thinking of that brilliant AARP commercial… when I grow up, I want to _______________.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out:

In the current economic slump, elder entrepreneurs are enjoying great success.

And they’re doing pretty sweet jobs, too, in fact, most of the folks profiled in this USA Today piece are enjoying this second career more than their first. Perhaps it’s because they’re doing something that makes them happy, something that they have chosen to pursue, rather than something outlined for them in a job description handed down by the boss.

Patrick Althizer, age 65, loves exploring and photography, so he established a business called Photo Safari, which takes tourists to the best photo-taking spots in Yosemite National Park.

Alan Friedman, age 69, started Transitions in Design, an enterprise that replicates iron furniture from the 1950’s and offers pieces to customers at affordable prices.

Thomas and Connie Betts moved to Oregon to raise alpacas.

Bolstered by years of life and career experience, motivated by economics or maybe just enthusiasm, and taking advantage of social media marketing, these boomer/senior entrepreneurs are part of a new wave:

“The number of self-employed Americans rose to 8.9 million in December 2009, up from 8.7 million a year earlier, according to BLS data provided by outplacement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. Self-employment among those 55 to 64 hit nearly 2 million, a 5% rise from the prior year. Self-employment for those 65 and older hit 939,000 — a 29% increase.”

So, what do you want to be when you grow up? Sound off, and share your second career aspirations below!

-Michelle Seitzer


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