Small Business Advice - Baby Boomers Businesses
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It's the dawning of the age of self-fullfilment for the baby boomer generation.Learn why baby boomers are flocking to entrepreneurship.


How to Balance Work and Life Ivy Hartman: Research shows that over five and a half million workers over 50 are self employed, creating a boomer business bonanza. With us today on is boomer business expert Jeff Williams. Jeff is CEO and founder of Now Jeff, you have been coaching baby boomers starting their own business for over 20 years. You have a great experience and you have authored eight plus books and tell us, what is the primary reason you see with your clients leaving the corporate world and going off and starting their own business. Jeff Williams: Self-fulfillment. They really want to connect to a skill, a hobby, or some type of outside activity that gives them a sense of joy when they do it. Ivy Hartman: I think many of us, any small business owner and then any person working on the corporate world too are struggling to find out work-life balance, and I think when you think about going out on that line and starting your own business and the time that is going to consume, how do you find that work-life balance? Jeff Williams: Well, it is a real challenge. Ivy Hartman: Yeah, because work becomes your life, I guess. Jeff Williams: Oh, yes. Well the older boomers created the concept of workaholic. Ivy Hartman: Oh, did they? Jeff Williams: Yeah, my father who is from a depression generation, he was not a workaholic. He may work hard but my dad almost never brought work home, he never worked on weekends. And we created the concept, you know, the people born in the older segment of the boomers we created the idea of workaholic. What we find when people come to us and say, 58, 59, 60 whatever and I think I want to be entrepreneurial. The first thing, the next thing out of their mouth is, but I have a very clear vision of what I want my leisure life to be. So we have really learned to start with okay, what is it that you want to do in the leisure part of it in terms of family, travel, family relationships and whatever. So we kind of really start with that, and we kind of drill it back we say, okay, or you do want to work 12 months a year, you want to work 8 months a year, do you want to work 20 hours a week, 15 hours a week. So the first thing really is helping the client to find what are the tangible parameters of leisure life? Ivy Hartman: Well, what are the keys to creating a fun and rewarding business then? Jeff Williams: Well I think number is being realistic about matching your financial goal against that desire for leisure time. For example, if you only want to work four months a year, but you want to make a 100 thousand dollars, in most cases that is unrealistic. So you got to be realistic about the magnitude of what the outcome will be with your business. I think that is the number one thing, and number two is to surround yourself with people you really like. Because one of the wonderful advantages you have when you are self-employed is you get to pick your customers, you get to pick your suppliers, you get to pick people. I never had the opportunity in the corporate world to pick my boss. Ivy Hartman: You know you’re right. Jeff Williams: And yet, I promised myself when I started my business 20 years ago that I will only do business with people I like, and I am happy to report that only twice in 20 years have I ended up with people that I did not like. You know the customer from hell so to speak. Ivy Hartman: Right. Jeff Williams: That is I think the key thing in having fun and a rewarding is you have to be realistic about the time investment versus the financial return. Ivy Hartman: Okay. Jeff Williams: And then secondly you got to surround yourself with an environment you like. For example, I have a regular luncheon meeting with three other entrepreneurs. These are just swell people. They are terrific people. I mean they are not only good entrepreneurs but they give back to the community. They like sports which I also like, so you’ve got to kind of carve out that world because you know in the corporate world I was required to socialize with some people I did not like. Ivy Hartman: Right. Jeff Williams: I do not do that anymore. I do not do that. I do not travel when I do not want to. On business, I do not fraternized with people I do not like anymore. That is how you do it. Ivy Hartman: And it kind of goes back to that old analogy in a sense that if you do what you love, then you will never really work a day in your life. Jeff Williams: Yes,absolutely. Ivy Hartman: And that goes hand in hand with choosing who you are going to surround yourself with and do good business with them. Jeff Williams: Yes, absolutely. Ivy Hartman: Well good, so as a self-employed business person over 50, my balance at work and leisure is really, totally up to me in a sense depending on what my realistic goals are as far as what I want to make. Is that right? Jeff Williams: Yes, and if I guess the most rewarding part of being a leader, stage entrepreneur you know, later in life entrepreneurs that you truly have control over your schedule. You have control over who you socialize with, and you also have control over the financial aspect. When the average corporate employee that is only getting a three percent year increase in salary that is barely keeping up. That is not the way it is. Every January I sit down, with my accountant and I say what additional personal income do I want this year. And then I said in the motion of plan to get it during the year. Now I do not always make it, I do not always make the goal, but the point that I can do that, I could never have a situation in the corporate world where I can walk into my boos and say, “Listen we want to renovate our kitchen, can I have a 25,000 dollar salary increase?” That did not work that way, but I can do that as a self-employed person I can say, “Okay if I take on this workshop series, I will make the money.” Ivy Hartman: Perfect. You know I think starting a small business, many small business owners where they are 50 or over or not are looking for that good balance in their life but it does work those kinds of take over that workaholic aspect. But can be more rewarding if you are doing it smart and being realistic versus in the corporate world workaholic working on weekends. Jeff Williams: Absolutely. Ivy Hartman: Thank you, Jeff. Jeff is now one of our featured advisors on You can look for more advice from Jeff Williams as our boomer entrepreneur segment under our featured advisors.