It’s possible to be a successful entrepreneur at any age.
However, starting a side business as you near retirement has unique advantages, including your years of experience, extensive professional network, and (upcoming) schedule flexibility.
The eight side-hustle ideas below are perfect for encore entrepreneurs -- or entrepreneurs over age 50 -- who want to flex their entrepreneurial muscles or diversify their income during retirement.
Side-hustle #1: Become a ride-share driver
Not everyone has a car, but everyone needs to go somewhere. Why not use your car to provide much-needed transportation to others?
According to recent research, 36% of Americans used a ride-hailing service in 2018, so there’s definitely a demand for ride-sharing in cities across the country.
As a ride-share driver, you could offer rides through ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft or start a niche ride-sharing company. For example, you could offer ride-sharing for people who need to be taken to medical appointments or for children whose parents aren’t available to take them to after-school activities.
Side-hustle #2: Become a professional organizer
Most people probably want to live more tidy and organized lives, but not everyone has the time or skill to do so. In fact, over 60% of Americans said decluttering makes their homes feel cleaner, though less than 40% of Americans in each generation declutter once a year.
An organizational pro like you may be just the person those people are looking for. You could offer organizational services to private individuals, such as those who are looking to live more minimalistic lifestyles or refresh their lives after an important milestone.
Like entrepreneur Melissa Palfrey, you could also offer organizational assistance to businesses. If you’ve got the ability to keep things organized, there’s a market that could use your skills.
Side-hustle #3: Become a tour guide
Guided tours are a saturated market-- if you offer the same garden-variety tours as everyone else, that is. Global tours and activities are estimated to be worth around $150 billion annually, so there’s definitely money to be had offering tours.
But just what kind of tours could earn you the most money?
52% of solo travelers were interested in escorted tours, so perhaps you could offer private or small group tours of your city. You could also cover parts of your city’s history that other tours have neglected, such as haunted sites or places featured in famous books and TV shows.
Side-hustle #4: Narrate audiobooks
If people have always praised your smooth voice and stellar storytelling skills, consider becoming an audiobook narrator.
Audiobooks are growing in popularity, with audiobook sales rising by 22.7% in 2017 alone. What makes audiobook narration particularly appealing for encore entrepreneurs is that you can do it at home, when it’s most convenient for you, with just a few pieces of equipment.
As a beginner narrator, you’ll probably attract the most clients by offering your services through a platform like ACX or Upwork, although you could transition to attracting clients through your own website once you get some experience.
Side-hustle #5: Produce an online course
Whether you believe it or not, you are an expert on at least one or two topics -- and you could translate that expertise into profit if you sell online courses. (Not familiar with online courses? Check out this guide to creating and selling online courses to learn more.)
Online courses can be created by normal, everyday people and cover any topic imaginable, from how to become a better poet to managerial training for engineers. While most courses are pre-recorded, you could also offer live webinars or live-streamed sessions for students, too.
If you want to create an online course but worry that your topic is too niche, you could test your idea by releasing some free YouTube videos first.
87% of YouTube users have said YouTube is important for helping them to learn how to do things they haven’t done before, so it’s definitely a good place to test some of your course content.
Side-hustle #6: Start a childcare center
Across the United States, childcare is growing increasingly out of reach. One report found the cost of center-based childcare was greater than the cost of in-state tuition at a public university in 28 states and the District of Columbia, with parents spending an average of $9,000 to $9,600 on daycare for one child in 2017.
If you have a flexible schedule, you could start your own childcare center or babysitting service that offers more affordable childcare.
If you have more availability during the evenings, you could also offer evening daycare for parents who work nights or who frequently travel for their work.
Side-hustle #7: Monetize your hobby
7% of side hustles are craft-related, so whether you enjoy knitting, woodworking, or painting in your free time, chances are you could easily monetize your hobby.
There are plenty of online marketplaces where you could sell your goods, and of course, selling from your website is always an option. To maximize your earnings, consider selling your crafts to businesses, such as businesses looking for original artwork for their offices or handmade gifts for their employees.
Side-hustle #8: Become an amateur photographer
Love taking photos? Use your years of hobby photography and develop a profitable side income.
Research has found that taking photos can distract people from focusing on the experience and may negatively impact their ability to recall that event. By taking photos for others, you can help them to both recall the event and have a memento of it.
While wedding photography is a popular niche, you could pursue niches as diverse as taking photos for local influencers around your city or taking food photography for local restaurants.
It’s never too late to become an entrepreneur
Successful entrepreneurs start their businesses at any age.
If you’re an encore entrepreneur who’s thinking of starting your first business, or even just a side hustle, these eight easy-to-start business ideas can help you begin your entrepreneurial journey in no time.
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.