Whether it’s to bring in extra income or to impart your knowledge to the next generation, becoming a consultant can be a great way to transition into retirement. And you’re in good company. Those ages 50 and older are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs.* Here are some tips to help you ease into making the switch.
- Give yourself plenty of time to make the change. Take a year or more (some experts say three to four years is even better) to plan carefully and pursue a product or service with demonstrated demand and realize it could take years to grow revenue. You might consider launching your new enterprise before leaving your current job.
- Do your homework. Understand your market and potential customer base by studying websites, LinkedIn pages, client lists, social media and marketing collateral. For startup basics, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers a wealth of how-to information and resources to help you get your consulting business off the ground. In addition, the SBA has special programs to assist rural, minority, women, Native American, Veteran and LGBT small-business owners.
- Evaluate your strengths, skills and circumstances. Consulting after retirement is a great way to grow intellectually and stay vital. Here are some questions to think about: Do you have the energy and self-discipline to make it work? Do you have the finances and other resources to support you until you make a profit? Are there any technical or other learnings you need to boost your skillset?
- Consider working with a mentor. The Service Corps of Retired Executives, SCORE — is a national network of experts that volunteer their time educating and mentoring small-business owners. You can find live, recorded and on-demand courses and webinars on a variety of small-business topics.
- Hire professional services. As the CEO of your venture, your time will be spent running your consulting business. It may be worthwhile to look into hiring experts who can help you manage other aspects of your enterprise, including accounting, banking, insurance, legal and technology needs.
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* Source: Kiplinger