All posts by Jasper Blake

10 Reasons To Consider Starting a Business After 50

As I steady approach my 60th year, one thing I feel about where I am in life – “I’ve only just started”. I certainly have not thoughts about retiring whatsoever! (I probably couldn’t afford to live the kind of life I always thought retirement should be, anyway, truth be told!). And I am certainly not alone! (See Working Past 70: Americans Can’t Seem to Retire; MetLife Study: Living Longer Working Longer)

After the crash in 2007, many even high level workers over the age of 50 found themselves for the first time being laid off, and many of those only being offered jobs that were well below their skill and experience level. Others, disenchanted with, or burned out by, the corporate way of life, are looking for something that provides them with more work-life balance, and something that is more creative and purposeful.

If there is one thing that our podcast, Paycheck To Passion, taught us is that doing something you were passionate about, and making a good living doing, all on your own terms, was entirely possible, especially when you utilize the power of the internet to reach a target audience.

Here are 10 reason why starting a business might be better for you:

1) Purpose
The problem with a lot of corporate jobs is that they don’t provide any element of creativity or sense of purpose – you often just feel like a cog in a machine, and often an undervalued and insignificant one at that. When you start your own business you have the opportunity to do something that gives you a sense of purpose, and gives you more time to give back to and be part of your community.

2) No Ageism when you run a business

Age can be a detriment in the corporate world. And there is a ceiling at 65 where you instantly become obsolete. When you are running your business, age is either not a concern, or in a lot of cases can be a positive aspect that adds to your perceived “experience”. In business, it is all about delivering on what you promise – as long as you do that no-one will care how old you are.

3) You can work from almost anywhere
The internet has empowered both businesses and workers alike to escape the bounds of their geographical location. Even corporate workers are enabled to work remotely. But for businesses, even more so. Not only can you tap into a customer base that is potentially worldwide, it also enables you to run your business from pretty well anywhere. Many of us are inspired by the increasing number of business owners who successfully combine travel with running their business. Often, you need little more than a laptop and a mobile phone, whether you are providing services or physical products – nowadays, nearly all of it can be done online.

4) Escaping the tyranny of the “job”
For those of you who have ever been through the HR recruitment process, you’ll understand what we mean! The whole corporate method of hiring is a horrible, impersonal, seemingly arbitrary, exploitative and belittling process. You are expected to work long hours, you could be “laid off” at anytime for any reason; and for what – crap pay and crap benefits. In your business, you are the boss, you decide who you work with and what the conditions are. Keep your customers happy and they will keep coming back time and time again – and you can thrive and enjoy your working experience.

5) You decide who you want to work with
In most corporate jobs you totally at the mercy of every psychopathic coworker or boss – and there seem to be a lot of them! Probably because they are equally as unhappy working there!
In your own business, not only do you get to decide who you you work with, whether it be an assistant, or your own workers etc, but also who your customers are! Have a customer that is a pain in the rear? Fire them. You get to decide who you work with.

6) The flexible work schedule
The problem with so many corporate jobs is that you are expected to work 8am to 5pm, 5 days a week, and that regime just doesn’t give you the ability to handle the vagaries of normal everyday life. By the time you get home you are drained and exhausted! If you have kids, its almost impossible! One of the beauties of running your own business is that you can set the hours you want to work. If you want to work 4 hours a day and that works for you financially, you can do it. If you want to work 8 hours a day, but want your day to be flexible if you have appointments and errands to run during the day and are happy to do a couple of hours in the evening instead – then you can make it so. As we said above, as long as you deliver on what you have promised to your customers, no-one is going to care.

7) More time
This ties into the flexible work schedule point. Unless you are fortunate to have a telecommute job, how much time is wasted everyday in getting ready and commuting to the office. I have heard stories where some people leave at 4.30am and commute 3 or 4 hours – morning and evening – for their corporate job! If you are able to run your business from a home office, you could be saving yourself hours a day. Hours that you can better spend with your friends and family, or taking that walk you never had time for!
That’s not to say a business cannot take over your life – if you let it. But, ultimately, you are in charge of your time.

8) You determine your financial goals
Corporate salaries have not increased much over the past decade. With pressure from countries like India and China where wages are much lower, neither are they likely to get any better anytime soon. However, as a business owner you have control over your own destiny.
It is all in the planning. Do you want to earn enough that affords you the time and life-balance you desire, or do you want to make as much money as possible? Your financial goal is only limited by your own determine to make it happen!

9) You can create a legacy to leave to your children

Whether you plan to sell the business after a period of time, or whether you intend to keep it going so that a child or family member can take it over at some point, or even just manage the day-to-day operations for you, with a business you have the opportunity to build a legacy that will go on, even after you have transitioned into a more traditional form of retirement.

10) Increase your retirement savings
As the owner of your own business you have the ability, under current IRS rules, to put aside a good proportion of your earnings into one or more deferred taxation retirement accounts. This can be done by setting up an IRA/SEP account and (if you are over 50), putting up to a quarter of your income from the business. Another possibility is to defer taxes on your business income by creating a profit-sharing or even setting up your own 401(k). A good financial planner could show all the different ways you can use income from your business to increase your retirement savings in a tax efficient way.

Like to discuss your business idea to understand what would be involved? Schedule a Clarity Call with me by clicking the following link – Schedule

ESCAPE the Tyranny of the Job Market

We are the midst of a revolution.

Our society is going through a seismic shift.  The shift is as big (if not bigger) that the shift that happened during the industrial revolution.  Before the industrial revolution, people lived in smaller towns, they had their own tools, grew their own food, generally traded their special skills for things that they needed but couldn’t make themselves.  There were two classes. The nobility and pretty much everyone else.   The industrial revolution changed lives.  Tools and factories allowed people to find work that paid well.  There was an alternative to working on the farm.  Unions and social guarantees curbed the early abuses – and the middle class was born.

People could get a job that provided for them for their entire lives.  You couldn’t work from home because the assembly line wasn’t there.  You needed the tools the company provided you to get your work done.

Technology has changed everything.  It is now easier than ever to communicate instantly with anyone around the world.  You can buy a laptop for less than $300 and have everything you need to reach potential customers everywhere.  And, there are plenty of people from which to find an audience for almost anything you want to teach or sell.  The opportunities have never been greater.

But the flip side is that technology and globalization have made it easier for companies to shop for labor all over the world (which drives down wages for workers from first world countries) and also to monitor and control your every movement.  Companies can now extract maximum value out of each of your working hours.  Pay and conditions are getting worse for people with traditional manufacturing jobs — and I think the downward trend will continue.

The economy is quickly dividing us into two camps – owners (people who can sell their specialized skills) and the taken – people who feel they have no choice but to submit to harsher work environments and lower pay – because they feel they have no choice.

My friend Jeff is an economist.  He was 50 years old when he lost his job.  He struggled for years before finally finding some part time work at a book store.  He still looking for a full time position.  He has noticed how over the course of the five years he has been at the bookstore, his work has been increasingly controlled by the computers.  When I asked him why he didn’t start his own business (he is fluent in French and Arabic), he replied that he had no idea where to start.

Another friend, Annie, had almost finished her Masters degree in teaching and special education when she had her first child.  She made the choice to stay at home with her kids until the first born child was well into college, and the last one was in high school.  She home-schooled one of her children because of a learning disability, and through her experience with her son, learned to be a fierce advocate for smart kids who learn differently.  When her last child was in high school, she wanted to go back to work to help pay for her children’s college education.  The only jobs available to her were educational assistant jobs that paid just over $10 an hour.  She was a signature away from teacher certification, but her supervisor refused to sign because it would it mean that he would have to raise her salary.  And, although Annie got a lot of satisfaction from the work she did, she was not working in her passion of helping smart kids who learn differently succeed in college.   When I talked with Annie, it became clear to me that she had a lot to offer parents and kids who needed a fierce advocate.  She just needed the first steps outlined for her in order to be confident enough to turn that into a business.

Julie worked her way through college as a package delivery person for a large shipping company.  When she was first hired there were vague promises of a managerial job once she had graduated.  She graduated – tens of thousands of dollars in debt – but there was no job. Instead, there was an offer for her to “buy” a contract position with the company.  Although her work hours, uniform, and working practices were dictated by the company she worked for, she was considered an independent contractor.  She was responsible for using her own car for deliveries (paying to fix the car if anything went wrong), she had no paid sick leave or vacation time.  And her pay rate was not that much more than she had made as an “intern”.  Julie’s truck broke down – she didn’t have money to fix it and she had to give up the route she had “paid” for the privilege of servicing.  In her spare time, Julie made amazing jewelry.  She didn’t have time to work on her art because she was driving to meet delivery deadlines.  Losing her route was almost a blessing to her, because now she had the time to start the business she had always wanted to start.

This book is written for people like Annie, Jeff and Julie – who are victims of the economy, or who suddenly find themselves looking for meaningful work in a landscape that has completely changed.  Do their stories sound familiar?  Then, this book is for you.

Jasper and I believe that there is still time to land on the right side of this divide.  We started the Paycheck to Passion podcast to help tell the stories of those who have created businesses from their passions in order to inspire people who still haven’t taken that first step.  We’ve interviewed nearly a hundred entrepreneurs,  and although each story is unique, they all have  common threads running through them.  Those threads form the weave that makes  passion-based businesses work.  By reading this book, and applying what you learn here, you can save yourself months (or even years) of trial and error, by discovering the pitfalls in advance and implementing tried and tested strategies that work.

What to expect from this book.

The chapters in this book contain your E.S.C.A.P.E  plan – escaping from work that is unfulfilling, or an economy that gives you no opportunity to be creative or to succeed on your terms – a step by step system for creating a passion-based business that works for you.  Each chapter contains a story from one of our podcast guests, some practical action steps and tips from people who’ve been there, done that, and have not only got the tee-shirt, but are probably selling their own.

Like to discuss your business idea to understand what would be involved? Schedule a Clarity Call with me by clicking the following link – Schedule