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Baby Boomers Starting Online Businesses in Droves

As more and more boomers retire from their jobs, many of them are turning to the internet to begin their entrepreneurial ventures.

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Baby boomers have made an impact on every age they've moved through, and they're now redefining the newest stage of their lives--retirement. It's a group almost 80 million strong that's quickly becoming a major entrepreneurial force.

That's because as more and more baby boomers retire from their jobs, they're either immediately starting their own businesses-or coming out of retirement to launch their own ventures. In fact, according to the Labor Department, today's boomers (ages 42 to 60) and older entrepreneurs (60+) account for 54 percent of self-employed workers--up from 48.5 percent in 2000.

According to Tom Harpointner, co-founder and CEO of AIS Media Inc., a technology firm that provides internet solutions to businesses, "We've seen a real spike in interest among baby boomers to own their own business. For many of them, being in business for themselves has been a lifelong dream."

And just what kind of ventures are boomers starting? One very popular choice is online businesses. And that's a very natural choice for this group of retirees: Baby boomers are the first generation of seniors who are truly comfortable with online life. Studies show that nearly 72 percent of boomers age 51 to 59 go online, while 54 percent of 60- to 69-year-olds surf the net. Online businesses fit in nicely with the boomer lifestyle, too, because they allow a more flexible schedule than, say, running a pizza parlor or flower shop.

For some, the online businesses they're starting take advantage of skills they've learned in their past lives as employees. Consulting allows boomers to use the knowledge they've gained in their corporate lives and share it with other business owners. As Harpointner says, "[This way,] they don't feel that the whole lifetime of knowledge they've gained is going to waste."

And as pop culture tells us, 50 is the new 30 and 70 is the new 50. So why not begin a whole new chapter of your life at 55?

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Kristin Edelhauser

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As's staff writer, Kristin Edelhauser writer features, blogs and other pieces for the site. She previously worked as a writer and researcher for the NBC San Diego affiliate.