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19 Self-Employment Ideas for You to Take Charge of Your Destiny

By Kimberly Blaker

For a variety of reasons, many older Americans won’t retire.

According to a May 29, 2019 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30.2% of Americans aged 65 to 74 are projected to be in the workforce in 2026. 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 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.

Still, working after retirement age doesn’t necessarily mean seniors are punching time clocks. According to data from the Kauffman 2017 National Report on Early-Stage Entrepreneurship, 26% of new entrepreneurs aged 55 to 64 years old.

So if you plan to remain in the workforce, but would like to work for yourself, there are plenty of business opportunities that don’t cost a bundle to get started. Here are 19 companies you can start from home, most of which require minimal to no investment.

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.

Event Planner. If you have excellent organizational and time management skills as well as 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.

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 up your alley. You can either offer consulting services or do the staging yourself.

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 lack organizational skills and others who don’t have the time, there’s a massive market for such services.

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.

Tour Company. Do you live in a big city, historical town, or scenic area with state parks and national monuments? If so, 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. Just be sure set up good safety measures before you meet alone with strangers.

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

Blogging. If you love writing and have the skill to write ongoing, engaging posts, you’ll discover every type of business imaginable either has or needs a blog. Just look for companies related to your area of expertise. If you’re an expert researcher, that’s all the better, and the sky’s the limit.

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.

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.

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 travel and helping people, this might be just the right business for you.

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.

Project Management. If you’re an idea person with excellent management skills, this career is worth considering. 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.

Bookkeeping. Small businesses often have only a few hours’ 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.

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.

Teach 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 or 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.

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. With the current low unemployment rate, businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to find qualified candidates on their own. So why not step in and help them?

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

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 considering.