Book Review: Best Home Businesses for People 50+

Many people are interested in home businesses right now because of the work/family advantages in shedding your boss and commute, the security that can be built by creating your own source of income, and the satisfaction engendered by shaping an enterprise around your own talents and values. After deciding to pursue a home business, the next step is deciding which type to launch. This is where Paul and Sarah Edwards’ excellent resource book, Best Home Businesses for People 50+, is most useful. They wrote this book aimed at middle-aged readers but honestly, workers of all ages can benefit from the helpful information they offer.

­Authors Paul and Sarah Edwards are self-employment lifestyle experts. Some time after the 1990’s, they noticed a trend where more people aged 50+ expressed interest in starting and running a home-based business. They surveyed these people and identified several reasons that people are enthusiastic about home businesses: many people enjoy working and want to continue past an age that used to be considered retirement age, economic conditions mean that many people need a continuing source of income, and ageism makes it more difficult for people 50+ to land corporate employment.

This book lists 70 home businesses that meet the following criteria:

1. Longevity. People 50+ can continue working in the home business for at least 10-15 years.

2. Flexiblity. The hours worked each day or days worked each week can be structured to allow time for family, travel, and other priorities in life.

3. Accessibility. No additional advanced academic degrees are required.

4. Widespread. Geographically suited to a wide variety of locations in the United States and Canada.

5. Popularity. Considered to be appealing, enjoyable, and rewarding by lots of people.

For each business, the book outlines a General Description, Bookkeeping at a Glance (including Start Up Cost, Overhead, Potential Earnings, Computer Skills Required, Extent of Deadline Pressures, Degree of Flexibility in Hours, and Overall Stress), Likely Transferable Skills, What To Charge, Best Ways to Get Business, Marketing Insights, Snapshots of People in These Businesses, and Resources for Additional Information.

Businesses overviewed are:

Businesses Serving Business Clients

Bookkeeper, Consultant, Desktop Publisher, Editing and Other Editorial Services, Information Broker, Interim or Contract Executive, Mailing List Service, Medical Billing, Medical Coding, Medical Transcription, Secretarial and Office-Support Services, Technical Writer, Virtual Assistant

Businesses Serving Businesses and Consumers

Caretaking, Cleaning Service, Coach, Computer Consultant, Errand Service, Gift Basket Business, Makeup Artist, Mediator, Mobile Notary, Mobile Screen Installation and Repair, Personal Historian and Scrapbooking, Professional Investigator and Security Consultant, Professional Organizer, Restoration Services, Tax Preparer, Writing Coach and Writer

Businesses Helping Individuals and Families

Daily Money Manager, Direct Selling, Doula, Environmental Assessment and Inspection, Elder Care, Estate Sale Services, Facialist/Aesthetician, Family Child Care, Feng Shui Practitioner, Fitness Trainer/Coach, Professional Gardening and Landscaping, Handyman, Home Inspector, Image Consultant, Personal Chef, Pet Groomer, Pet Taxi Service, Resume Writer, Tutoring, Web Merchant and Auction Trader, Wedding Consultant and Planner, Antiquing, Aromatherapy, Astrologer, Basket Making and Chair Caning, Cake Baking and Decorating, Calligraphy, Candle Making, Ceramics, Chair Making, Dog Walking, Gardening and Growing Flowers/Food/Herbs, Pet Party Service, Pet Sitting, Pet Training, Photographer, Quilting, Sewing and Specialty Seamstress, Soap Making, Travel Services

I reviewed the section for “Coach” (the life coach type, not the sports type), a profession I know well. The section was well-done and the suggested resources were sufficiently comprehensive to help someone understand the terrific potential of a coaching business. The section could be even stronger if it included any possible drawbacks to the business. Since none are given for either this business or any other business profiled, my advice is to use this book as a starting point and do some investigative interviews with people currently in the business in order to get an even more comprehensive picture to aid in career decision-making.

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