Are you over the age of 50 and considering self-employment?  Did you know that based on “a study by the Sheridan Centre for Elder Research found as of 2012, 30% of Canadian start ups were owned by those 50+ 1.” Sounds encouraging, right.  If you are thinking about changing your career towards an entrepreneurial path, whether you are thinking of opening a small shop in your town or you are ready to take your 30+ years of experience into consulting, there a number of things to consider as you embark on this journey.  It’s an exciting time in your life so let’s take a closer look at some steps to follow to ensure you are taking some key areas into consideration before you type up that resignation letter.

Explore what is possible for you: Choosing to become self-employed requires some research and discovery to ensure the area, industry, or discipline will be rewarding and lucrative enough to sustain your current lifestyle. Start by researching the profession or industry certifications or education that might help you build credibility with clients.  Perhaps you already have the experience or education.  In this case, investigate how you will build your business.  Do you have experience acquiring new clients?  Is there training on how to build a solid client base that you can take?  Next, study your competition.  What are they offering and charging?

Find your passion: Ask yourself this especially important question: Am I passionate about this business? After all, owning a business is more than a 9-5 job and wouldn’t you want to pick something that you absolutely love doing?  Is it something that you have been dreaming about doing for a long time?  Could you see yourself doing it until you retire or for the rest of your life? This is your opportunity to pick something that you absolutely love doing and will get paid to do it.

Create a business plan. This is an investment that will give you a roadmap to your business for its marketing, financial and operational areas.  Creating a business plan will help you forecast the success of your business before it happens, it will outline the steps to take to build your business, how to market and what you will need to do to run your business. Find a team that will help you create a plan like a lawyer, an accountant and even a business coach.  This is not a step to cut corners on.  Making the investment here will pay off in the long run.  It will help build your confidence around financial sustainability of your business in the years to come when you are without a regular income..

Be aware of the Financial changes: By leaving your full-time job, you are also leaving behind a steady income.  As you plan your first steps towards sole proprietorship, consider the amount in savings you will need to sustain yourself as you build sales.  Also consider the amount of capital you will need to start your business for things like equipment, tools, gas, travel, and other items.  As you build income, do not forget about retirement contributions and saving for your annual income tax returns.  Having a good accountant that understands small business taxation will help you not only understand how much to save for tax season but also expenses you can write off as a small business owner.  Take the time to find a great accountant as it will save you hundreds and maybe thousands as they will know about new and existing tax credits for companies of your size and type.

Leveraging your Networks and Finding Support: Moving into sole entrepreneurship is an exciting and empowering step but it will not be easy. Teresa Gabriele, Lead Career Strategy Coach with says, “Sole proprietorship is going to be different and you will need a support system of people around you.  Practice surrounding yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs.  Finding a network of people will help keep you motivated on a day to day basis.  Have a supportive network around you will be important, especially during the more difficult days as an entrepreneur.  Start with your current network and build from there.”  Wouldn’t it be great to have a network you can celebrate successes with that really understand your perspective?  Talk about keeping yourself motivated.  Entrepreneurship can be lonely so look for small business networking events, Chamber of Commerce meetings in your area or even volunteer your skills and expertise to local groups to help build your network.

We build confidence as we grow over the years in your careers. This drives our desire to become entrepreneurs and serve people in a more meaningful way.  Your ability to engage and develop relationships and networks will surely support growing your business. Take the opportunity to explore what entrepreneurship would mean to and for you. Stay motivated to find what you are passionate about because you are the only one that can offer the world what you have.