Is it possible for seniors to start online businesses? Or how about anybody new to the online business world? Read on…
Well I was listened to a podcast several years ago where an online entrepreneur named Rob Walling brought up a very interesting idea. (He is the founder of Drip and other online businesses.)
He said that if you have at least 2 of the following 3 things then you can create an online business:
3) a SKILL SET.
You can call it the “MeatLoaf” principle if you want. 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.
When he says “Skill Set” I believe he is referring to skills pertaining to online technology like how to create a website, a WordPress blog, some graphics skills, or even more advanced knowledge.
If someone has a Skill Set and Time then they can create an online business by bootstrapping (spending little to no money to build up the company). They can use their own skills to set up the online business and luckily they have some free time to put in the work required.
If they Skill Set and Money, but no time, then they can use the extra money to either pay someone to do the work they don’t have time to do, and/or buy advertising to help create traffic.
When you are creating online content (e.g. writing blog posts, making videos, podcasting…) it can take time to build up an audience. Having some money to buy advertising can speed up the audience-building process.
If someone has Money and Time, but no Skill Set then they can pay someone to help them and also learn the skills (because remember they have time on their hands).
So to summarize what he is getting at, I believe Rob means that almost anybody can start an online company.
The first people that come to mind when I’m reading the “Person” descriptions above are Seniors and retired folks.
Based on this little MeatLoaf principle it seems like this demographic is in a unique position to start an internet company.
And they may even get my MeatLoaf joke.
Seniors and Starting an Online Business
A retired person would likely have decades of work experience, or even hobby experience, that people would love to learn about and even pay for.
I get blown away by the variety of cool hobbies out there.
I met a man who makes swords from chainsaw blades.
I know a guy who makes his own canoes and kayaks from wood strips.
Some people are into miniature doll furniture, and others may be into tuning the exhaust on vintage cars.
And who knows, the day job you couldn’t wait to escape may be the key a pleasurable post-retirement side hustle.
Example: Your decades of knowledge about running a small restaurant could be a life-changer to the woman in Sacramento who wants to start a cafe.
Example 2: Or your years of being a Plumber could provide valuable insight for the homeowner in Saskatoon.
So figure out what kind of “Person” you are, and determine what factor you are lacking (money, time or skill set). But instead of worrying too much about this, take heart in “2 out of 3 ain’t bad”, and get started.
Next time you talk to your friends, instead of talking about golf you can talk about seniors starting online businesses. (Your friend probably lies about his golf game anyway.)
If you want to check out the original podcast, here is a link to the Foundr Magazine podcast.
If you are a senior, retired or just someone curious about starting an online business, I hope this Meatloaf principle is motivating for you.
If you have any examples of people you know who have started online businesses – especially people you least expected it from – let me know. I love hearing inspiring stories (or cautionary tales).
Thank you, Tim