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20 Self-Employment Ideas for Seniors to Take Charge of Their Destiny

For a variety of reasons, many older Americans won’t retire. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 32% of Americans ages 65 to 69 were employed during the second quarter of 2017. In the 70 to 74 age group,19% were employed. While financial necessity is one big reason many people won’t retire, others are choosing to stay employed for as long as they can. According to reporter Maurie Backman, in “3 Reasons to Work During Retirement,” generating extra income, saving on leisure costs and warding off depression top the reasons many seniors choose to remain in the workforce.

But working after retirement age doesn’t necessarily mean seniors are punching time clocks. According to data from the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship, in 2016, 24% of new entrepreneurs were ages 55 to 64 years old! If you plan to remain in the workforce, the good news is, there are plenty of opportunities for self-employment that don’t cost a bundle to get started.

Here are 20 companies you can start from home, most requiring minimal to no investment to start up.

1. Professional Organizer

Are you obsessed with keeping your cupboards, drawers, closets and garage organized? If so, you might be surprised to learn that most people are not. Here’s where your organizational skills can earn you a living. Between those who don’t know how to organize and others who don’t have the time to deal with it, there’s a huge market in need of such services.

2. Consulting

What’s your area of expertise? Whatever it is, there are likely plenty of people or businesses that could use your advice. To get your brain churning, here are a few examples of consultant services to consider: financial, business, social media, legal, career, technology, public relations, human resources, strategy, marketing, information technology, management, childbirth, interior decorating and the list goes on.

3. Pet Sitting

For animal lovers, this has become a particularly popular form of self-employment. With the rising cost of pet boarding and pet owners’ desire to reduce the stress their pets experience during owners’ absences, many hire sitters and are willing to pay good money for the service.

4. Tour Company

Whether you live in a big city, historical town or scenic area with state parks and national monuments, there’s likely a need or demand for tour guides, which can be a lucrative business. You can provide either walking or driving tours to visitors and residents while sharing your knowledge of the area and sights with them.


5. Social Media Management

If you’re savvy with social media, companies large and small are in need of your service. Social media management includes setting up social media accounts and writing ongoing interesting and shareable posts. You’ll also respond to social media messages and comments to build and maintain the company’s relationship with its followers.

6. Blogging

If you love writing and have the skill to write ongoing engaging posts, you’ll discover every type of business imaginable has or needs a blog. Just look for businesses related to your area of expertise. If you’re an expert researcher, that’s all the better, and the sky’s the limit. [Shameless pull: AmeriDisability accepts article submissions focused on topics relevant to the disability and/or senior-aged community.]

7. Content Writing

This is another high-demand writing job. Businesses of all kinds need well-written website content that describes their products and services as well as related content to increase targeted traffic. For most companies, search engine optimized (SEO) content is a must. So, if you have this skill, you already have the edge over many writers.

8. Wedding Planner

Does the idea of helping couples with one of the most important and romantic days of their lives make your heart skip a beat? Wedding planners help couples with every aspect of their wedding and reception, from invitations and the wedding party’s attire to the cake, reception hall and entertainment. 

9. Event Planner

If you have excellent organizational and time management skills and business acumen, this might be the perfect fit. Event planners coordinate every aspect of a meeting or convention, and sometimes social events as well. Planners arrange the location, catering, speakers and printed materials for events, and more.

10. Home Staging Consultant

According to the real estate industry, well-staged homes sell faster and for more money. Yet, when it comes down to it, most people’s homes are anything but show-ready. If you like home decorating and rearranging furniture, this might be right up your alley. You can offer consulting services or do the staging yourself.

11. Travel Agency

Despite the ease and cost-effectiveness of buying and scheduling travel online, there’s still a good demand for travel agents. Many people prefer using an agent because of the travel advice agents offer as well as for arranging complicated travel plans. So if you love to travel and helping people, this might be just the right business for you.

12. Website Design

Have you built a website for yourself or someone in the past? If so and you have a knack for design along with excellent computer skills, this might be just the home-based career you’ve been waiting for. With WordPress, in particular, website design is relatively simple yet offers designers unlimited options.

13. Project Management

If you’re an idea person with good management skills, this career is worth looking into. Can you take a project and run with it and see it through to completion? As a project manager, your role is to put together and lead teams through projects. You’ll also be in charge of creating project budgets and managing their costs, and ultimately, making most of the projects’ decisions.

project management

14. Bookkeeping

Small businesses often have only a few hours worth of accounting per week or month. So it isn’t feasible or necessary for them to hire an employee for the task. This is where you can step in and offer your services. Landing just a few business accounts could quickly provide you a full-time income working from home.

15. Personal Trainer

If you’re a fitness buff and enjoy motivating others, this might be just the career for you. Personal trainer certification programs run between $400 to $1,000. Upon completion, you can either work as a personal trainer for a fitness corporation or independently.

16. Teaching Online Courses

Here’s a wide-open opportunity because courses can be taught on just about anything. Do you have a passion for something? What are your areas of expertise, educational background or special skills and talents? Chances are there’s something you’re great at and qualified to teach. Here are some ideas to consider: a hobby or craft, computer skills, photography, web design, writing, professional development, how to play an instrument, dog training… the list is endless.

17. Recruiting Agency

Because of the challenges and time involved in finding qualified applicants to fill high-level positions, many companies now use recruiters to help fill the roles. In fact, many businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find qualified candidates on their own. So why not step in and help them?

18. Catering

Do you live for making delicious and eye-appealing food? If you’ve got excellent culinary skills, you can offer your catering services for wedding receptions, corporate events, graduation parties, bar mitzvahs, luncheons, anniversary parties and a host of other occasions.

19. Life Coach

If you enjoy helping people better themselves, here’s the perfect opportunity to make the most of your skill. Depending on where you live, there may be educational requirements for this career. So do your research. But if you’re good at setting goals and developing personal plans, solving problems, understanding people and what motivates them, and offering sound advice, this career is worth looking into.

20. Grocery Shopper

Some foodies love wandering around the grocery store. For others who loathe grocery shopping or simply don’t have the time for the task, home delivery services offer a convenient solution. You can become a personal shopper for companies like Shipt or Instacart and fulfill this chore for hungry customers.

For more ideas, check out the AARP ‘Great Second Careers’ page.

Kimberly Blaker is a freelance lifestyle and parenting writer. She also does B2B and B2C writing and is an expert in on page SEO. Find her at  

Feature image credit: AAA; Saleperson image credit: AARP

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