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Don’t just rock, run a business

By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Posted: 3 pm ET

As a woman who has been happily -- and lucratively -- self-employed for 16 years since she turned 45 and was unceremoniously fired, I have been reading the host of whiny complaints posted here about the difficulty finding employment when you're past 50 without much sympathy.

It isn't all that difficult to figure out how to start a little part-time retirement business. You don't have to begin with Wal-Mart-size ambitions or resources. There are plenty of things other people will pay you to do.

The federal government's Small Business Administration, which is available all over the country to help people doing this kind of retirement planning, suggests a few home-based businesses as possibilities for entrepreneurial seniors:

  • Fishing guide.
  • Photography (video or still).
  • Buying and selling merchandise online.

Exploiting your interests can certainly earn you a significant amount of money. My widowed neighbor charges thousands and has a heck of a good time relocating boats for people who move their crafts from a northern climate to a southern one annually. My brother-in-law is earning about $200 a week DJing for people who appreciate his taste in 1950s through 1970s music. A group of 50 middle-age women have put together a network of bargain websites called LivingontheCheap.com from which some of them are earning as much as $3,000 a month by selling advertising.

To get these kinds of businesses off the ground takes energy and drive -- but not very much upfront cash. Learning to use simple online promotional tools such as YouTube, Twitter and Craigslist helps to get the word out inexpensively.

Even if you don't earn much money, you'll keep your mind active and your body busy, and that's worth a lot.

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