Inspiring Senior Entrepreneurs
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Of course, anyone who says that probably hasn’t spent too much time around old dogs. You’d be surprised what new tricks their canine brains are capable of. The same might have been said of Anna Mary Robertson Moses, later known by her famous nickname of Grandma Moses. She had spent her life working as a housekeeper and on farms. While she always had an appreciation for art, it wasn’t until the age of 78 that she began painting in earnest. Since then her work has been shown and sold in the U.S. and elsewhere. In fact, in 2006, one of her paintings sold for over a million dollars. You’re never too old to try something new.
Our ‘golden years’ are the perfect time to begin a business. Many seniors have a huge advantage over the younger crowd, and that’s time on their hands. Their children may have grown up and moved on, and they no longer have to punch a clock for 40 or more hours a week. As entrepreneurs, they can set their own hours and only take on jobs they feel capable of handling.
It’s also a great way for them to continue to be active, valuable members of their communities. After retiring, many seniors can fall into a sense of depression. They can feel they’re used up, as if they no longer have any meaning in their lives. A second career as an entrepreneur can be exactly the jumpstart they need to get back in the game.
Another thing seniors have in abundance is experience. While they may no longer have the strength and boundless energy of youth, they do have a lifetime of figuring out what works and what doesn’t. They’ve already invented the wheel, so to speak, and there’s no need to invent it all over again the way a younger person would. Even in today’s world of tech-savvy young geniuses, experience is a valuable currency.
Take Lisa Ramfjord Elstun, a fashion designer and seamstress. As she grew older, her arthritis made it nearly impossible for her to sew. She decided to create quality clothes for people suffering from similar ailments. In 2009, she co-founded the Denver Fashion Design Center to help new designers and to showcase her work. Currently she’s working to reinvent wrap dresses and 1980’s Velcro tabs for the modern era.
Getting old doesn’t have to mean slowing down and getting out of the way of the younger crowd. Instead, it can be an opportunity to take on and overcome new challenges. With more people in the U.S. turning 65 than ever before, seniors represent a rapidly growing market segment. There’s no reason they can’t be part of the next generation of entrepreneurs as well.