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Think small: businesses suitable for seniors

Whether you are transitioning from full-time employment or want to supplement your retirement income, these ideas are worth considering.

  • Finance
  • Read Time: 5 mins

Important information before you start

If you are going to start a small business, you’ll need to do some homework first – especially when it comes to essential legal and taxation matters.

The Australian Government website,, has a useful start-up guide here.

In the first instance, it encourages you to critically evaluate yourself and the challenges of owning a business, research and analyse your idea, and to distinguish between a hobby and a real business.

It also takes you through the processes of registering a business, preparing your finances, and marketing.

Even if you’ve been an employee all your life, or you’ve been out of the workforce entirely for a few years, it’s never too late to think about going into business.

While there is no solid gold business opportunity that’s guaranteed to make you a fortune, there are entrepreneurial avenues to explore that could supplement your income while keeping you engaged and fulfilled.

The key is to find something that’s doable, scalable, and suits your lifestyle. If you like to travel and fancy yourself as a “road warrior”, then look for work that can be done anywhere with a laptop and an internet connection.

We've listed below a few ideas to start you thinking. Remember that there is risk associated with any business venture, especially one begun at a later stage in life when there is less time to recover from missteps.

The failure rate for small businesses is high, so before you commit to any idea, seek professional advice and develop a solid business plan.


Consulting services

Leverage your professional experience by offering consulting services in your field of expertise, be it management, marketing, finance, or any other area. Consulting can be a lucrative way to share your knowledge while maintaining control over your schedule and easing into a more relaxed lifestyle.  

Online tutoring

With the rise of digital platforms, sharing your knowledge has never been easier. Whether it’s academic tutoring for school students, teaching a musical instrument, or life coaching, there’s a demand for skilled instructors. This business allows for significant flexibility in terms of hours, and your personal location, and can be scaled up or down as your needs change. However, there is a lot of competition out there and you should be aware of the usual caveats to working online. 

E-commerce store

Starting an online store selling products that align with your passions or interests can be incredibly rewarding. With platforms such as Shopify or Etsy, setting up shop is straightforward. You can begin with a niche product – but not too niche as to have no market – and gradually expand. 

Garden design

For those with a green thumb and a creative mind, garden and landscape design can be both a passion project and a profitable business. Start by offering your services locally and expand through word-of-mouth and social media marketing. 

Content creation

If you have a knack for writing, this avenue offers immense flexibility. You can start a blog, write for publications, or offer content writing services to businesses. As your reputation grows, you might be able to expand into content strategy and consulting. This is, however, an extremely competitive area, where you might be vying for work not only with other writers but also with Artificial Intelligence. 

Artisan food 

For those with culinary skills, producing and selling artisan foods can be a fulfilling venture. Whether it’s baking, preserve-making, or creating gourmet products, this business idea allows for creativity and connection with local food communities. Scalability can be achieved through online sales, wholesale orders, or participating in farmers’ markets.


Embarking on a small business venture in semi-retirement can be both profitable and enriching.

It’s essential to choose an idea that not only has business potential but also aligns with your interests and lifestyle.

The key to success is starting small, planning carefully, and being willing to adapt as opportunities arise.

If the business grows beyond your ability to operate it on your own, there may even be the opportunity to bring family members onboard and create a dynasty.

At the same time, it might also be wise just to keep it at a manageable level. The last thing you may want in your senior year is the stress that goes with running a business empire.


Brett Debritz

Brett Debritz

Communications Specialist, National Seniors Australia

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