Yes! Of course you should start an online business after retirement. It can be incredibly rewarding, keeps your mind active, and gives you a useful stream of added income. But here’s my advice:
Why wait until after retirement?
Why not start now? (Assuming you’re not already retired when you’re reading this).
That way, by the time you retire, you’ll already have your online business up and running and earning income, so you can spend more time on the golf course or walking in the countryside. That’s what retirement is all about, isn’t it? Relaxation.
In this article, I’ll provide tips and ideas for the best online business types for retirees. Let me help you avoid some of the time-wasting mistakes I made!
For me, the best businesses to do after retirement are those that allow you to work by the pool, or up a mountain, or, in my case, from my campervan overlooking the ocean.
You can be a digital nomad, travel the world with complete personal freedom, and even take months off anytime you want and your passive income will keep rolling in. That’s my kind of online business, and I’ll share with you how I did it.
Benefits of Running an Online Business After Retirement
Starting a business online to give you a retirement income for the rest of your life not only makes sense, but in these days of zero interest rates is almost essential for many of us to survive comfortably in our later years.
There are many other benefits of running an online business into your fifties and sixties, if you do it right. (I even know people running them in their seventies and eighties!)
- Keeps your mind young and active.
- Eases your transition into retirement.
- Prevents boredom in retirement.
- Gives you a sense of purpose.
- Brings in a useful passive income.
- Builds an asset you can sell, or leave as a legacy.
- Can be a lot of fun.
- Builds new connections and networks.
You can build up an online business with no capital outlay. All you need is your brain, your computer, and a small annual fee for your website hosting.
Having said all this, what I’m going to suggest is not a get rich quick scheme. It will take some hard work and a substantial learning curve. But, hey, nothing gives you satisfaction like something you’ve put in some effort to create. If I can do it, so can you.
Why Not Start Your Online Business Before Retirement?
Although it was tough at the time, giving up my day job due to ill health when I was still in my forties was one of the best things that could have happened to me.
Now, 12 years later, I have two online businesses, which will be enough to survive on throughout my retirement life, even if I stop working on them tomorrow.
Before I gave up my day job, as a hobby I had been dabbling with rummaging through garage sales and markets for vintage items and selling on a well-known auction site. In those days, online auctions were in their heyday and it was a real buzz seeing how much things would sell for. I got some really exciting profits out of bargains I’d found.
As time went on, and I was researching the antique finds, I noticed some really great blogs and websites that were providing excellent information and then using that content to drive sales.
So I decided to create a website about Art Deco. At first, I used it to send people to my online auction listings, and later to an online store of my own. It was a good little income and kept me going when I left my job.
Selling hard goods, especially one-off items that all had to be listed individually, was very time-consuming. I started selling some contemporary designer jewelry so that I could sell multiples of the same item.
Still, that took up a lot of time packing and mailing, which I could have been spending creating more content. I’ll explain more below about why content was the answer to all my prayers.
But first, here are some of the reasons why it’s a good idea to start your online business before retirement.
- You’ll have time to experiment and get mistakes out of the way before you give up your full-time income.
- You can work on it in your spare time and find out where your strengths and passions lie.
- You’ll have built up your online income before you stop work.
- You’ll be ahead of the game, already building your online reputation.
- You might even be able to retire early!
How You Can Use Content to Build Your Online Business
So what’s the deal with content? Why is it the answer to creating a much more passive income online?
First, let’s talk about some of the major types of online businesses and some of their drawbacks:
As I mentioned already, they can be a lot of work packing, shipping and dealing with customers. They can also keep you fixed to one location. In any case, if you just start an ecommerce store in isolation, it won’t get any free Google traffic unless you build up a following using a content website or social media.
In theory, dropshipping should be the solution to some of the issues I raised in number 1. This is where you market the products, but they’re sourced from a third party who packs and ships them once one of your visitors makes a purchase. This avoids you having to hold stock or fulfill orders.
I looked into it. I’d also been the unfortunate recipient of purchased products via dropshippers. I discovered that dropshipping has some serious drawbacks as a monetization method.
The most obvious is that you’ll be the one receiving the complaints from your customers even though you’re at the mercy of your dropshipper to provide the customer service.
It’s not easy to find good products or reliable dropshippers, many of whom are in China. In these days of the pandemic, goods are taking literally months to arrive, as I found when I ordered a painting by numbers kit.
The seller had told me the product was in stock in my country (which it wasn’t). By the time it arrived I’d already long before claimed my refund. Good thing too, as the quality was dreadful. The unfortunate seller may well have had difficulties in getting compensation himself for that refund, as many dropshippers won’t pay for returns or give refunds.
Many people create online businesses in retirement to offer services such as consulting in their field. To me, that’s still working! You’re still dealing with clients and having to make yourself available at certain times. You’re trading your time for money.
Providing services online can work well with video conferencing these days, if that’s what you love to do. Create relevant content for your niche and you’ll be able to add passive income to supplement what you make from the service.
You can see where I’m going with this. To create a passive income, you need content. Here are some of the advantages of creating your own keyword-focused blog or content website:
- build a business around your hobby, passion or expertise
- work as little or as much as you want
- work from anywhere in the world
- create a business with no capital outlay
- create a business with very low annual costs
The Big Question — How Do You Make Money From a Content Site?
There are many ways to monetize a content website. To begin with, if people come to your site and find quality information that you provide, they become pre-sold and willing to accept your recommendations. You can convert these people to customers and bring in income even while you’re sleeping.
Here are a few examples of how to monetize your blog:
- Advertising – this is the simplest way. It can be set up once and left to run for years. There are many companies offering advertising for your site, such as Google AdSense and, when you build traffic, Mediavine.
- Affiliate marketing – this is a more specific form of advertising where you choose products or services to recommend to your readers and receive a commission when someone buys through your links. This can work really well, especially if you know how to write a good product review.
- Digital products – avoid the issue of shipping by creating your own digital products such as eBooks, online courses, apps, video courses or audio downloads.
- Diversify – there’s nothing stopping you using several of the above ways to monetize. I highly recommend it. Having a combination of income streams is a perfect safety net in case a market dries up or an affiliate product becomes unavailable or its demand drops.
Obviously, you don’t want to bombard your readers with too many ads or offerings. But recommending a few highly relevant products or services that solve your readers’ problems or fulfill their desires can provide you a steady income for many years to come.
Online Business Ideas for Retirees
I hope you now see that a content-based website is the way to go for your profitable retirement business. And if you’re worried that you don’t know what you’d find to write about, there’s a solution for that, too!
Everyone has hobbies, passions, interests, skills or knowledge. Why not turn these into hobbies that make money? Even if you don’t know instantly what you’d love to write about, you can find the perfect niche for you.
Through building my websites over the years, I’ve met many retirees with highly successful sites on an incredible range of topics.
Some are based on their previous careers, like Nick Winter, who knows everything there is to know about cement.
Others have based their sites around hobbies such as crafts, collecting sea glass, cooking or nature. If you’re good with your camera, take a look at these six photography business ideas.
Many have built travel sites about places they love to visit, or even their home towns like Marylyn’s wonderful “Family Getaways Melbourne.”
Some couples have even started sites together, like Tom and Rhonda, who took the history and stories about their home on the island of Orkney and turned them into a profitable business.
How to Learn About Starting an Online Business as a Retiree
- How to get ideas – start by thinking about the things that you love doing, or what you love reading about or researching, or what you’re good at, or what you know. One person I know started a site about how to organize your house. It came naturally for her as she was a really tidy person.
- How to research whether your ideas will be profitable – this is too big a topic for the scope of this article, but it comes down to having a fantastic keyword tool and advice on how to research your niche, all of which is provided by Solo Build It!, which I used to build my sites.
- How to put your ideas into practice – wouldn’t it be great if everything you needed to learn to set up your online retirement business was available in one place? Well, I can tell you, it is!
Why not get started right now with this “Free Retirement Mini-Course“? Find out what’s involved in becoming a successful solopreneur and whether it’s right for you. A prosperous retirement may be waiting for you!