You may also want to take into account the overall health of the local economy before you launch your business. The proximity to Washington and the possibility of lucrative federal government contracts or catering to the massive amount of federal government employees have certainly captured the imagination of entrepreneurs in Arlington, Va., and Columbia, Md. And at a time when most U.S. cities are hemorrhaging jobs, the Round Rock, Texas, metro area, which includes nearby Austin, reported the creation of approximately 3,400 jobs over the past year—the largest increase in employment in the country.
But a truly good idea can take root in any economy. After trying out retirement for a few years, former nonprofit director Beatty Brasch, 69, of Lincoln, Neb., put her fundraising skills to use and formed the Center for People in Need, a nonprofit that gives goods and services to the working poor. "I am certainly not going to go home and knit and cook," says Brasch, who now works 60 hours per week, employs 12 paid workers, and manages over 50 volunteers. Although she doesn't need the paycheck, Brasch identified a service that her community needed and found a way to provide it. "I see the world as an unequal playing field," she says. "I'm trying to adjust the playing field to make it a more just society, and one of the ways to do that is to make sure that kids have school clothes and toys for the holidays."
[Check out the 10 Best Cities for Job-Seeking Retirees.]
Starting a business, of course, can be risky. Only about 44 percent of new businesses survive at least four years, according to the Small Business Administration. "I have invested my entire life savings in this business," says Ginny Teel, 60, who bought a franchise, 10 til 2, a part-time job placement service for professionals in Fort Collins, Colo. Teel works to connect small businesses with professionals, mainly retirees and parents, who wish to work part time. She hopes the franchise, which she bought in 2006, will turn a profit by the five-year mark. "I thought this was the best option for my retirement because, especially now, our retirement funds are gone or at least in half, and we may have to work and we may want to work a little bit," she says. "Having that flexibility and control over your life is really important to me."
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