The economy continues to limp through its roller coaster of ups and downs, but it offers no real hope to the millions of people who remain unemployed. In March of this year, the national unemployment rate stood at a whopping 9.7%. As of September 2010, that number has only dropped half a percent to 9.2%.
The group most affected by the lack of employment is that of those over 50 years of age. Although the unemployment rate for baby boomers at 7.2% (the highest since World War II) is below average, it is a fact that people in this group are out of work for longer. The average time between jobs is 22 weeks. For more than fifty unemployed workers, the average is 35 weeks.
Baby boomers are sitting up and taking stock of their current situation. Some are choosing to retire early. Others are going back to school to retrain for other careers. While both are good options, possibly the best thing you can do for yourself is to start a business.
As a boomer, you have decades of knowledge and experience that other people need. While it is true that it is more difficult for someone of our generation to get a job, there is no reason why you cannot approach the company from a different angle and sell your experience as a consultant.
In fact, selling your knowledge can be worth millions. You can certainly charge much more for it than the salary you would receive as an employee. Both individuals and businesses are struggling to get by in this poor economy. What you know can give them the edge they need to compete effectively, and they’re more than willing to pay people who can help them get results.
As a freelancer, some home business ideas include:
* Start a consulting business providing advice to companies in your industry. For example, if you’ve been in sales and marketing for the last three to four decades, you can help companies form and execute marketing strategies that drive sales.
* Develop a training course that teaches people specific skills or provides much-appreciated knowledge. For example, you could teach HR managers how to meet the needs of this new global workforce.
* Venture online with a blog that provides information about your industry. For example, former health professionals can teach people how to get the most out of their health care and save money on health care costs.
The list of home business ideas goes on and you are only limited by your creativity. Anyone in any industry can jump on the freelance bandwagon, including dietitians, human resource managers, lawyers, doctors, healthcare administrators, teachers, and many others.
Tips to get started
As is the case with most home business ideas, the trick is to get started.
* Start by assessing where you currently are. What can you do? What are you willing to do? What do you like to do? Don’t let not knowing how to do something discourage you from pursuing a home business idea. You can always get training to fill in the gaps in your knowledge.
* When you are just starting out, you want to focus on one thing at a time. Focus on starting your consulting firm and then work on writing and selling a business book, for example.
* Eventually, however, you will want to develop multiple streams of income. In our business, my husband and I make money by providing navigation services, an online shopping mall, and a variety of affiliate marketing opportunities.
* Spend a lot of time developing and executing marketing strategies. Your biggest challenge will be getting your name in front of interested buyers and this is where you’ll want to make sure you’re investing in tools and techniques that will get the job done.