5 Retirement-Friendly Businesses to Start in Your Golden Years

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For some people, retirement consists of playing golf, knitting or heading to some bucket list travel destinations. But for those who feel a little lost outside the working world, they can start retirement-friendly businesses.

Here are five business ideas that supplement your retirement savings while adding extra fulfillment to your post-career life.

What to read next: 50 Easy Ways You Could Make Extra Money This Month.

1. Start A Consulting Business

You could offer consulting services if you had a long and successful career in a particular industry, said Andrew Fennell, former recruiter and now Director at StandOut CV — a resume-building service.

“Doing so gives you the flexibility to take on clients as and when you want to,” he said. “You could also use this same expertise to mentor someone or offer online workshops and even courses.”

Let’s say that before retiring, you worked as a software engineer at big tech companies like Meta and Google. After ditching the 9-to-5 grind, you could make extra cash by helping companies fine-tune their processes and build software that solves problems.

“I once met a retired engineer who turned his basement workshop into a consulting studio, guiding startups in product development,” said Kraig Kleeman, serial entrepreneur and Founder of Z-Branding. This is proof that your next act could be right under your nose.

According to salary.com, the average freelance consultant salary in the United States is $88,785 as of February 26, 2024. That’s some serious dough you could use to top up your retirement fund.

2. Freelance Writing

If you’re knowledgeable about specific topics like finance, technology, artificial intelligence, health care or cryptocurrency, freelance writing falls into the category of retirement-friendly businesses.

Here’s why: “Experienced writers are in demand throughout a lot of industries at the moment, and working freelance means you can set your own hours and only take on projects when it suits you,” Fennell said.

Plus, freelance writing can be quite lucrative. ZipRecruiter reports the average monthly pay for a freelance writer is only around $4,034. However, many make double or triple that amount by offering top-notch services and securing high-paying clients.

To get started, put together a portfolio of writing samples tailored to the niche you’re interested in. Then, start pitching to companies and websites to offer your services. You also  can work with a writing agency so that client outreach is largely handled for you.

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3. Sell Products Online

E-commerce and social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram are on the rise. That means the sky’s the limit when it comes to how much money you can make by selling products online.

“I’ve seen retirees turn hobbies like woodworking into thriving online stores, selling everything from handmade chess sets to custom cabinetry,” Kleeman shared. But, of course, it takes dedication and consistency to make it big.

If you’re looking for a creative outlet in your retirement years but also want to earn extra money, consider investing in hobbies like painting, pottery, jewelry making and woodworking. You can then use these skills to craft handmade products to sell on online marketplaces like Etsy or through your own store on Shopify.

And it’s not just physical products that are selling like hotcakes. Digital products like e-books or printable art are also in high demand. Use tools like Google Trends to figure out what’s trending and stay ahead of the curve.

4. Start A Blog

Blogging is one of the most retirement-friendly businesses because it requires minimal upfront investment. However, you could generate thousands of dollars each month. Well-established bloggers like Ryan Robinson make upward of $360,000 per year.

To get started, pick a niche where people tend to spend a good chunk of change on products. For example, the software industry can be extremely lucrative because many companies pay recurring commissions if you refer your readers to their products.

To determine if a niche will be profitable, do some research to see if companies in that niche pay to advertise their products on other blogs.

Once you’ve picked a niche, set up your blog using hosting platforms like WordPress. To generate cash, you need loyal readers who value your recommendations. Some of the best ways to drive traffic to your blog include implementing SEO strategies or using social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest to promote your blog.

After building a solid audience, it’s time to monetize your blog through the following ways:

  • Affiliate marketing: Affiliate marketing is when you earn a commission by promoting another company’s product or service on your blog. If you join the Amazon Affiliate Program, for example, you can typically earn a commission rate of between 4% and 10% for a sale.
  • Ad revenue: As your traffic grows, advertisers are willing to pay more to reach your audience. Ad networks like Mediavine pay approximately $15 for every 1,000 times their ad is shown within the content of the page. So, if your blog attracts 50,000 visitors monthly, you could easily earn $750 or more. 
  • Sponsorships: These are collaborations with companies or brands to feature their products and services on your blog. They can include sponsored reviews, tutorials or giveaways.
  • Selling your own products: If you want to build a brand and establish yourself as an authority in your niche, create your own products tailored to your audience’s needs.

5. Offer Home-Based Services

As you transition into your golden years, your energy levels may not be what they once were. That is why things like pet-sitting and house-sitting are retirement-friendly businesses.

Pet-sitting allows you to get low-impact exercise while spending time with pets. Plus, it pays pretty well. According to ZipRecruiter, the average weekly pay for a Pet Sitter in the United States is $641 a week as of March 13, 2024.

Rover is a common place to start. You can sign up as a sitter, doggy daycare provider or dog walker. Though the platform takes a 20% cut of your earnings, you get to keep 100% of your tips.

If you don’t get along with furry babies, house-sitting may be more your cup of tea. House-sitting is when you take care of someone’s property while they’re away in exchange for free accommodations, payment or both. Some of the most popular places to start offering your house-sitting services include TrustedHousesitters or Nomador.

Retirement is a New Beginning

Retirement is not the end of the road. It’s a bend that can lead to new adventures and exciting opportunities, like retirement-friendly businesses. If you’re approaching retirement, start exploring business ideas that could keep you busy and inspired after leaving the 9-to-5 grind. And if you’re already there, it’s never too late to try something new to boost your income and elevate your retirement lifestyle.

Jamela Adam is a personal finance writer covering topics such as savings, investing, mortgages, student loans, and more. Her work has appeared in Forbes Advisor, Chime, U.S. News & World Report, RateGenius and GOBankingRates, among other publications.