You might be surprised to hear that 23 per cent of all new businesses are started up by people over the age of 55 and the majority are women. So if you’ve secretly dreamed of starting up a second career later in life, you are not alone and the chances of you succeeding are actually quite high.

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Of course, there are lots of reason why a woman over 50 might decide to change her career. When children have left home, and the mortgage is more-or-less paid off, many people, both men and women, decide that it is high time they did something for themselves.

Jane Winters, 51, was a teacher in a secondary school for a number of years. She says that it was when she learnt that she wouldn’t be able to retire in her late 50s as she had always hoped but would have to keep teaching until her mid 60s, that she made the decision to resign. “I just couldn’t face the thought of standing in front of teenagers when I was 60 or so,” she said. “I knew I had to do something different.” This may just mean taking up a new hobby, but for many it means handing in their notice at work and looking around for something completely different to do.

She decided to launch an online magazine for women of her age. “I knew my target audience well, of course, being the same age,” she says. “And it’s an audience with a reasonable amount of power. Women over 50 are in charge of most of their household’s income. Advertisers know that and they were keen to advertise in my magazine.”

Other women have launched new careers because their husbands lost their jobs due to the economic downturn. But why do they start new businesses instead of finding salaried employment? The truth is that women in this age group tend to find it difficult to get taken on by firms, who prefer younger people who are cheaper. Starting up your own business as an older person might be full of risks but if you research your market well, you can make great use of your years of experience and expertise and put them to good use.

Second time around entrepreneurs are succeeding in all manner of fields but it is the growth in online businesses that is really making a difference, opening up opportunities for thousands of people. From online travel agencies, language schools, virtual secretaries, the list of careers you run via the internet are endless. All you have to do is decide what to do!

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