More and more people are starting businesses or becoming self-employed in later life. The number of self-employed people aged 65 and over has more than doubled in the past five years.
For people over 50, self-employment or starting your own business can be a way of using your knowledge and skills to earn money or turn a hobby or passion into a way of life. It also allows you to work flexibly and decide on your workload. For example, you may choose to work part-time or only during certain times of the year if that’s what you want.
Some examples of businesses you could set up include cake making, coffee shop, bed and breakfast, driving school and tutoring. You could also use your experience and knowledge to become a freelance consultant, sharing your skills with others who need them.
Important things to consider
If you’re thinking about becoming self-employed or starting your own business, there are some important things to consider.
1. Creating a business plan
This should have a careful estimate of anticipated income and expenditure over the first years of your business, based on your market research. You will need this if you have to seek a loan for your start-up costs.
2. Financing your business
If you need to borrow money for your start-up costs, consider how much you require and where you will get it from. Banks may not be willing to lend money if you have a poor or no credit rating, or you have no collateral (e.g. a house that could be re-mortgaged if things went wrong). If you can’t get a loan from a high street bank, you could approach a Community Development Finance Institution, as they lend to disadvantaged groups who are not able to get loans from other banks.
3. Checking taxes and benefits
Make sure you seek advice about how becoming self-employed or starting your own business will affect your taxes and any benefits you receive. Contact HMRC or see their online information on self-employment.