For many of us, approaching retirement after years working in Corporate America makes us yearn for doing our own thing.
As boomers, we’re torn. Traditional retirement looms out there, but really isn’t for us. A backbreaking sprint of 30 plus years to suddenly stop and do nothing seems dumb. The thought of moving south, playing golf all day, or world travel doesn’t feel like the next thing to do. But, neither is maxing out our current 9 to 5 jobs until 65. We’re so “young” (in our minds) that continuing to work is appealing, but it would have to be something different…something on our own terms.
I certainly felt that way. At age 52, I was targeting age 57 to leave a 30 plus year career with a Fortune 500 company and “retire”. But what would be my next step?
For me, I knew I wanted to continue to work but not as an employee ever again. Owning my own business, with me as the boss, has been a dream all my life. However, it couldn’t be something that would drain my finances and cause stress. No way. Do something that looked like work but I would love to do…yes! Something to supplement my time and retirement income…yes! Maybe it would help me retire earlier…yes! What would that be? I decided to begin the work of making whatever it was a reality.
After 25 years of middle management experience I had learned a few things. First, if you can get people in jobs aligned with their talents, things work well. If it lines up with their passion…home run!
After surviving three downsizings, I had gotten in touch with mine. Leading people to accomplish things, particularly around a start-up was a sweet spot for me. Organizing things permeated my leisure activity throughout my life. Forming different social activities, various volunteer leadership experiences, vacations…the list was long. Heck, as a senior in high school, when we suddenly lost the JV baseball coach, the varsity coach had me move down and coach the rest of the season (I was expendable). That had to be it. Form a business to help organize things among a group of people. Pretty broad, but a start.
At the same time, I was noticing that the boomers who were retiring at the office were doing great. They were having fun. They looked and felt great. Money wasn’t a significant problem mentioned, which is a blessing, but many noted an interest in something specific to do. Some, I noticed, were dabbling in different hobbies, performing their “service” for family members and friends. Interviewing six of them over a period of weeks revealed the lack of a simple, reliable, and inexpensive way for them to market their services beyond those family and friends. At the same time, provide the flexibility to limit the work to their terms, and uniquely in all cases to a sole venture with only one person involved.
Could I combine my talent with this perceived need and start my own business?
That’s it! A start-up to help folks start their own individual business ventures based on their hobby, passion, or talent.