The Self-Employed, Entrepreneurs, and Boomers

Recruiting these independent folks can make your retail/restaurant/office mix much more interesting.

 

Many communities have focused on recruiting the big box and the name brand. That’s fine, but what about the independent retailer/restauranteur?

Freshbook’s second annual, Self-Employment Report in 2018 cited that millions of people were leaving corporations and opting for self-employment. The report defines self-employed professionals as those whose primary income is from independent client-based work.

FreshBook’s officials said 27 million Americans will leave full-time jobs from the time of the report through 2020, bringing the total number of self-employed to 42 million. Our communities have many people who work from home. They are telecommuters, artists, craftspeople, writers, etc. The interesting thing to remember is, they can live anywhere they want to live if there is adequate infrastructure such as transportation, communications and internet.

These people want flexibility versus stability. They tend to be older, well-educated and are not thinking of retiring. This trend is not about temporary work but alternatives to traditional work. They are looking for quality of life.

Guidant Financial and Lending Club conducted their annual State of Small Business Survey and report that 57% of small business owners are over the age of 50. This increases every year. Forty-nine percent of small business owners go into business for themselves because they want to be their own boss or pursue their passion.

Many national surveys are finding that a majority of people prefer to live in rural areas, small towns, small cities and suburban areas. Millennials, as they grow older and have children, also show these preferences.

Again, we see quality of life as the driving force behind these location and work decisions. Quality of life includes climate, quality of retail & restaurants, entertainment, nature, schools, crime rate, quality and cost of healthcare and more.

In 2013, The New York Times published an article about high-powered, New York chefs leaving the stressful, urban life and starting new restaurants in rural New England towns. Boomers are moving to where they perceive a greater quality of life is available to them and many are starting new careers altogether.

A Kaufman Foundation study reports the 55- to 64-year-old age group made up 25.8% of new entrepreneurs in 2014, compared to 14.8% in 1996.

A U.S. News article cited an AARP finding that seniors generally fall into one of two categories, those who are launching a new business because they need the money, and those who are looking for something interesting and satisfying to do during retirement.

An AARP report released in 2014, “Staying Ahead of the Curve,” found that seven in 10 experienced workers plan to work during retirement, including 29 percent who plan to work part time for enjoyment, 23 percent who plan to work part time for the income and 13 percent who say they will start a new business or work for themselves. AARP mentioned that these people have a network, experience and wisdom to bring to their new businesses.

People of all ages are unhappy at traditional jobs. Gallup reported in 2017 that 85% of workers stated they were either not engaged or actively disengaged. Gallup cited the reason for this: the manager. This may indicate why many people want to be their own boss.

People looking for a change, whether they know it or not, often find the place they want to live by vacationing there. They might find it by visiting family. They take their experience and knowledge and either open up a new business to replace the same business they were in or start a new career entirely.

Perhaps communities should consider a recruiting strategy for these people. Artists, craftspeople, writers, chefs, clothing retailers, etc. can build your community retail mix by adding the unique and special. These people will want the quality of life that your community may offer and add to that quality of life for the rest of the community.