If you’re one of the lucky ones, you have more money than you need to support your lifestyle in retirement. But for most of us, finding a way to earn extra money in retirement could really help. It might mean the difference between struggling to pay the bills and having enough to live comfortably.
Instead of trying to find a job after retirement, consider using your skills and talents to start a new home-based business that can bring in far more per hour than most jobs.
Put aside the fear that starting a business after 55 can be risky and costly. If you pick a low-cost sideline business, the risk of failure is extremely low. In addition, each of the sideline business listed below can be started for under $2,000. Here are 8 low-risk, low cost part-time businesses to consider:
1. Love to shop?
Why not earn extra money in retirement and do what you enjoy using your shopping skills for others. Customers could be folks like working professionals, those too busy to shop and those who are unable to do their own shopping, such as homebound seniors or the disabled.
Corporations also hire personal shoppers to buy gifts for prospects, customers and employees, or items for special corporate events. Decorators and collectors often use personal shoppers to search for collectibles, antiques and unique decor at garage and estate sales, consignment shops and flea markets.
By far the biggest steady source of repeat income for most personal shoppers is helping seniors and others who are homebound to purchase everyday essentials like groceries, clothing or other personal products. For those folks, a personal shopper can be a lifeline to the outside world.
In most cases, no experience is required, other than common sense and the ability to stay organized. And of course, you should love to shop! Personal shoppers who focus on high-end customers such as corporations can make six-figure incomes. Most personal shoppers average around $25 to $30 an hour.
To learn more about shopping for seniors, visit www.seniorservicebusiness.com, and check out “How to Start a Profitable Senior Concierge Business” For more about becoming a grocery shopper,visit www.groceryshoppingbusiness.com
2. Pet Photography.
If you enjoy photography and love animals, a pet photography business could be your ticket to a good income doing what you love. You can set up a home studio or go mobile, even schedule events at pet shops.
Pet owners love their pets, whether they are dogs, cats, horses, birds, even reptiles, and are willing to pay top dollar for professional photos of their pets. Pet photographers can get creative with costumes and backdrops to make each photo unique and valuable. Many pet photographers also offer video recording services that can include background music and titles. Pet photos can also be applied to greeting cards, calendars, mugs or t-shirts for bonus income.
Most photographers already have the basic equipment to offer this service, so start-up costs can be quite reasonable. Although some photographers charge by the hour, a package price can usually bring in higher fees.
You’ll find dozens of “how-to” books on pet photography at Amazon.com, including “How To Start a Pet Photography Business.”
3. Sew What?
From canvas covers for boats to clothing alterations, there’s money to be made with your sewing machine. With a home-based sewing and alterations service, you can work as much or as little as you want. Some specialize, like two in our seaside town who do marine canvas projects that might protect “brightwork” from the sun’s rays to boat privacy shades. They both currently charge over $50 an hour, and have all the work they can handle.
Customers for a home-based sewing and alteration business include clothing and uniform retailers, bridal and costume shops, consignment and clothing shops, marine retailers and individuals. As men and women age, they tend to put on a few extra pounds. When that happens, those favorite pants or dresses need to be altered, often more than once. That can be a good source of steady income for your sewing skills.
Many creative stitchers fabricate their own products, from purses to vests, selling them at local craft fairs and online at venues like Etsy. One enterprising stitcher specializes in felt covers for laptops, iPads and tablets, and brings in over $8,000 a month!
Starting a home-based sewing and alteration business is not expensive,and is a great way to earn extra money in retirement. Even if you plan to do heavy-duty sewing, such as canvas or upholstery, a new or used Singer or Juki industrial sewing machine can be purchased for as little as $500. To learn the basics of how to start your own sewing business, visit Amazon.com, where you’ll find dozens of books on the topic.
4. Pet Sitting.
Americans are spending more and more each year on their pets, and most want the best for their four-legged family members. Pet sitters are part of a pet owner’s “extended family,” ready to pitch in when the owners must be away for a day, a week or longer. Pet sitting has grown from an unknown career to a mainstream occupation today.
In the past, pet owners had to send their pets to a kennel or find a willing friend or relative. Today, with the help of a pet sitter, pets can stay in the familiar and secure surroundings of their own home. No stressful encounters with strange dogs or cats, no risk of exposure to illnesses, and lots of TLC from their visiting pet sitter. A bonus for pet owners – sitters can give a home a “lived-in” look during vacations by bringing mail, turning lights on and off and watering plants.
A pet sitting business is also an ideal “shoestring startup” as costs are low. The hours are great for retirees, as you can usually visit the cats and dogs in their own homes on a relaxed schedule you set. Fees are reasonable in most area, so don’t expect to get rich. But if you love pets and want to be in charge of your schedule and your income, pet sitting is hard to beat.
To learn more about this great part-time or full-time, download a free copy of our guidebook, Profitable Pet Sitting. Just click the “free books” tab at the top of the home page.
5. Soap Maker.
Making and marketing essential oils and soaps at home is a very “green” way to earn extra income. Essential oils are extracted from plants such as lavender and mint and used for a variety of personal care products. You’ll find essential oils in soaps, shampoo, lotions and more.
Just like cooking, no two batches of handmade soap are alike. If you’re creative, the sky’s the limit, as you can use colors, scents and shapes to create a bar that is uniquely your own design.
Startup costs are reasonable for soap making. To make your own essential oils, you’ll need a distiller, which can cost about $1,000. A distiller will allow you to make affordable batches of oil, and pay for itself very quickly. You can get started in soap making for around $500.
Soaps and other personal care products like lotions, salves and lip balm are amazingly profitable, with average markups of 500% to 1,000%. Part of the reason is that many products, like lotions, are 80% water. Shoppers will pay premium prices for personal care products that are all-natural without all the chemicals found in store-bought products.
One of the most popular plants for personal care products is lavender, as it has a calming effect, is antibacterial and has a aroma that enhances most products. You can buy plants in bulk from local growers for essential oil, or you can easily raise your own. To learn more about this “Swiss army knife” of herbs and how to make dozens of personal care products at home with lavender, visit: www.profitableplantsdigest.com
6. Calling Mr. Fixit.
There is a huge demand in every town and city for those who have the skills and knowledge to repair homes. Every home needs occasional repairs and modifications, from leaky faucets to a fresh coat of paint on the bedroom walls. Many retirees have built up an impressive arsenal of repair skills over the years, and can put them to good use helping others keep their homes in good shape.
If you’re handy around the home, why not make some good money helping others. Most handymen charge from $25 to $50 an hour, depending on where they live, plus the cost of materials. But watch out – you may be busier than you had planned, as there is a serious shortage of “generalists” as opposed to specialists like plumbers and carpenters. If you’re capable and charge reasonable rates, you can keep as busy as you want.
Most of your customers come from word-of-mouth referrals from happy customers, but you can also use craigslist.org or angieslist.com when you’re first starting out. Since you probably have accumulated a sizable collection of tools and a pickup truck or SUV, the cost of starting your handyman business should be low. One of the best startup guides is “Handyman’s Handbook,” available at Amazon.com
7. Professional Grandma.
By the time you turn fifty-five, you’ve learned a thing or two about caring for others. That life experience, along with patience and kindness, can keep you busy as a part-time caregiver for kids and seniors. Why are grandmas so sought after? Unlike younger folks, they are more likely to focus on helping the kids they care for instead of texting or tweeting.
The services you offer range from babysitting and after school care to pet care. You may be hired to provide special needs care, be a nanny or care for a senior, do cooking or tutoring, or even as a personal assistant. If you are caring, compassionate and organized, you will have plenty of work helping others on your own terms. You won’t get rich, but the rewards go beyond money.
If you’re just getting started, consider signing up with sittercity.com and care.com for referrals in your area. Both offer a variety of care gigs in most areas so you can stay busy until your build your own network of clients.
8. Non-medical Home Care.
Our aging population is fueling a boom in senior service businesses like non-medical home care. The over-65 population is projected to double in less than 15 years, so that will provide job security for caregivers for decades.
As people grow older, they need more help with the things they used to do themselves. A caregiver can provide light housekeeping, meal preparation, errand running, trips to appointments and medication reminders. Most important of all, a caregiver can provide companionship, as older folks can become isolated and lonely if they are homebound.
In addition to the elderly, caregivers often help people recovering from surgery or an illness, people with disabilities, even new moms. If you are compassionate, caring and reliable, you’ll do well in this field.
Independent caregivers charge between $24 and $40 an hour, depending on where they are located. Those who work through an agency receive less. That’s a good incentive for starting your own home care business. Learn how at: www.seniorservicebusiness.com
As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to earn extra income in retirement. The secret is finding one that fits your skills and knowledge and brings satisfaction at the end of the day. After all, if you’re over 55, why waste your time doing something you don’t enjoy?