Entrepreneurs at or near retirement age often start their online journey out of necessity. In some cases they have involuntarily lost their jobs through layoff, company restructuring, or other reasons that are no fault of their own. When the unexpected happens, someone pushed into early retirement may find him or herself with savings that’s totally inadequate for today’s cost of living.
Computer Illiteracy and Inexperience Are Challenges, Not Excuses
There are certain challenges in building a business on the Internet that are unique to seniors with little to no computer experience. One problem is that many seniors don’t know or understand the intricacies of computer technology even after years of being exposed to it. They may become discouraged as they try to learn from people who are good with machines but impatient with people.
So-called “computer experts”, in my experience, make the worst teachers. I’ve been on office assignments where the company IT Guy (which in this case was a gal) was assigned to show me how to log onto the network at my desk.
What was that like? Demoralizing if anything! She sat there, punching buttons, staring at the screen, all while telling me in the most mumbling version of a monotone that you push one button, then the next, then you do this, next you do that…
But that was back in the late early ‘90’s when IT folks were respected for their years and revered for knowing how to code in Assembly. At the time I was young and didn’t have my own PC yet.
Which leads me to another something I’ve experienced with non-technical people – they frustrate themselves by trying to learn new technology by trying to do too much. They get anxious and attempt to do the more difficult major things too fast.
It takes time to learn even the basics of how software works with hardware. If you’re just coming onto the technology scene, you might feel better about learning how the Internet works as relates to your computer.
When you’re insecure with computers and timid about navigating the Internet, starting a business can be a scary transition. After all, you may have been working for an employer who had other people on staff to help you with most of the techie glitches, fixes, and details.
Now it’s time to transition into working for yourself as your own relatively tech savvy boss!
Intimidation Runs Rampant!
When you’re leaning the ins and outs of small business management – even if it’s a little side hustle based on a hobby – learning new technology at the same time is not a good idea. It can be very daunting at best but impossible if you’re not patient with yourself.
Luckily, starting an online business doesn’t require going back to school (and racking up student loan debt) for a computer science degree. And there’s no need for breaking the bank with startup costs to outfit a complete home office suite. If you have a computer and access to the Internet, you’re already well on your way to becoming a successful and confident online entrepreneur.
And you don’t have to start with searching for help online if that makes you uncomfortable. You may be able to audit basic computer classes at the local community college. Some churches and recreational centers in your area may offer free or inexpensive starter classes. I learned the basics of BASIC at my Aunt Nola’s church outreach program back in the late ‘70s. A decade later I learned PC Calc at a government job training facility.
These days, as government spending for job training becomes a thing of the past, the public library is the first place I’d look if I were just getting into computers. I feel very comfortable around books and bookish people. Besides, I have yet to meet a librarian who was as unhelpful as the company IT Gal I told you about a few paragraphs ago.
Yes, there are scores of websites connected to independent, business, academic, and non-profit organizations that exist to promote senior entrepreneurial activities. SCORE , the Service Corps of Retired Executives, is just one of those “scores” of online resources. Resources like these offer solutions to problems seniors may face.
If computers are new to you, as a senior citizen you may feel intimidated by all you have to learn to become an online business owner. Fight your fears and don’t even imagine that you may not have the mental prowess, business acumen or energy to make an online business work.
The beauty of having an online business is that, if you find the right mentor who can steer you into good budgetary business practices, you won’t take on financial burdens and run a risk of losing your savings.
Entrepreneurs in 21’s Century News Headlines
Most media stories tend to focus on younger entrepreneurs. Take the “guru” Mark Zuckerberg who became a young billionaire by introducing Facebook. Have you heard of this socializing network that’s used all over the? I’ll bet you even have a Facebook account of your own.
But, there are plenty of senior entrepreneurs who have been enormously successful with startup businesses. They don’t make the news much now that the 21’s Century has finally come along. We had our time to shine. It’s time for the young folks to get in on the act.
But do they have to steal the whole show?
At the very least, seniors can easily supplement a retirement income and live a better lifestyle than ever before. The World Wide Web now makes it possible to become successful with home-based businesses.
It’s a fact that age is not a factor in Internet startup businesses. If you have the passion and can make a commitment to learn and utilize all that computers and the Internet have to offer, you can profit during financially tough times. You can even thrive when things are going great!
Don’t be content to waste the best years of your life living a financially strapped and overly frugal (i.e., miserly) lifestyle. Get involved with a profitable side hustle and transition into a successful online business.
Here’s a thought: Shakespeare wrote, “Leisure is a fine garment for a day, but is horrible daily attire.” If you have more planned for your retirement than languishing on pork ‘n beans and rice three times a day, then get busy! See how the Internet can help make you into a computer literate senior entrepreneur.