Top 9 Retirement Business Ideas

Discover the top 9 retirement business ideas you can start today with no money. Perfect for retirees seeking new ventures and financial freedom. Get inspired now!

Top 9 Retirement Business Ideas
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So much is changing about the world we live in, including retirement. 

Retirement used to be seen as a finish line that you could only cross after decades of working like a horse, but that’s just not the case anymore. What if it could be the starting point for a new adventure instead? 

Imagine waking up each day with a sense of purpose, excitement, and the thrill of building something new. And not only that but actually getting paid to do it! 

Continue reading for retirement business ideas you can start during retirement or before you retire. 

Note: Are you looking for a rewarding side hustle to add supplemental income to your retirement? Consider publishing books on Amazon. With its nice royalty structure and access to a global audience, you can generate some supplemental income each month, all with minimal initial investment. Many of our retirees enjoy consistent royalties on virtually autopilot. Join our free webinar to discover if this opportunity aligns with your retirement goals!

How Can Starting a Small Business Help Your Retirement?

Many small business owners are reaching retirement age, and with all the layoffs happening across industries in the corporate world, it’s no surprise the number of small business owners may increase even more over the next few years. 

A lot of us were always told that working for the same steady job year after year was the “safe” bet, but that’s not exactly the case anymore. As challenging as it can be, starting a small business doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process! 

As a small business owner, you get to enjoy: 

  • Being your own boss: No more answering to anyone but yourself.
  • Working when you want, how you want, and from where you want: Total flexibility.
  • Earnings that reflect your effort: Controlling your income versus hoping for a 2% raise every year.
  • Rediscovering a sense of purpose: Finding joy in what you do.
  • Living out retirement by your own standards: Making the golden years truly golden.

Things to Consider When Starting a Small Business in Retirement

Here’s a little secret: The best entrepreneurs do things even before they feel ready because they know feelings come and go. In fact, you might never feel ready at all. 

Life is going to pass by anyway, so you might as well give it your best, even if you make some mistakes along the way (every business owner does). 

Still, that doesn’t mean you should throw all caution to the wind. 

Here are some things to consider when you’re starting your business: 

Think about your passions and interests

Think back to what lit you up before the 9-to-5 grind or routine took over. 

Did you have a hobby that fell by the wayside? Maybe it’s time to dust off those old interests. 

Example: Robyn is a grandma who had to overcome some serious self-doubt about following her passions, but now she’s publishing books, and she’s never been happier: 

Explore business opportunities based on market demand

Every town has a story of a cozy little bakery or some other small business that popped up in the neighborhood and became an overnight sensation. That's the power of meeting market demand! 

Wanna know one of the fastest ways to scale a business? 

Investigate what's trending and already selling, then give people what they’re missing. It’s really that simple. 

Example: After helping several neighbors fix their lawnmowers, furniture, and appliances, Jim started a handy service in his community and found his calendar booked out for months.

Find something that is flexible and fits your lifestyle

Imagine working from your favorite park or during your afternoon tea and having the ability to go to scheduled appointments without needing anyone’s permission. Becoming your own boss unlocks a certain level of flexibility that a lot of people don’t get to experience. 

Choose a business that molds around your lifestyle, not the other way around. 

Mental, emotional, physical—your business should meet all three needs! 

Example: Helen, an avid gardener, turned her passion into a consulting business, coaching others on creating their dream gardens, all while keeping her mornings free for yoga and walks with her dog.

Consider start-up costs and ongoing expenses

Even though we're focusing on no-cost startups, it's smart to plan for expenses that could come up in the future. 

What resources do you already have? What can you borrow from a friend or neighbor? How else can you keep costs minimal? 

Example: When Mark decided to start a podcast sharing his fishing tales, he repurposed his grandson’s old microphone and computer and launched a successful show without spending a cent.

Top Retirement Business Ideas to Start Today

Alright, we’ve covered why starting a business might be exactly right for this next phase of your life, but let’s talk about what that might look like!

#1: Self-Publishing On Amazon

Remember Robyn and her self-publishing venture? 

Self-publishing on Amazon is a brilliant way to share your stories or expertise, even if you’re not the best at tech or need a little extra help with the writing process (that’s what AI-powered writing tools and ghostwriters are for). 

Pros Of Self-Publishing

Self-publishing is the perfect intersection of passion, flexibility, and low start-up costs.

  • Minimal upfront costs: Write your book on your computer and publish it directly to Amazon. Learn more here.
  • Flexibility: Work at your own pace, whether that's a chapter a day or a page a week.
  • Recurring income: Your book can keep selling long after you've moved on to your next project.
  • And the trick to creating a bestseller? Find gaps in the market your books can fill!

How Much Money Can You Make Self-Publishing?

While some authors and publishers strike gold, others enjoy a steady stream of extra income. Robyn’s books started slow, but with persistence and a bit of marketing, she now enjoys a nice supplemental income.

How to Get Started: Join the AIA Course

Welcome to what is likely the most beginner-friendly publishing course on the market with a 4.7-star TrustPilot rating! 

Features of the AIA Course

  • Instant access to the AIA Facebook community of nearly 40k fellow publishers and accountability partners 
  • Self-paced modules for every step of the publishing and marketing process taught by experts 
  • Lifetime access to all future course updates 

Student Testimonials

Robyn was one AIA student, Koorosh is another! See how he went from retired professor to professional publisher making a significant income stream from a single book: 

Free Webinar

Drop by our free publishing training to get the exact publishing blueprint that Robyn and Koorosh used to start making money publishing!

#2: Start a Freelance Business

If you have a marketable skill like writing, graphic design, or consulting, you can easily turn it into a freelance business and work from anywhere in the world.

Example: Carol used her organization skills to start offering virtual assistant services, helping busy professionals manage their schedules from the comfort of her home.

#3: Start an Online Shop

Etsy, Shopify, and other platforms make it easy to sell products online. 

Example: Ben started selling his handcrafted birdhouses online, even though he wasn’t sure it would go anywhere. His hobby turned into a thriving business that keeps him busy and happy.

#4: Create Online Courses

Platforms like Udemy and Teachable let you share your knowledge with a global audience and earn recurring income, even when you’re not actively working.

Example: Remember Jim, our handy service hero? He decided to start teaching online courses on basic home repairs and earning extra money during the slow seasons, which lets him vacation in Florida every winter. 

#5: Start a Reselling Business

Love finding hidden treasures at garage sales or thrift stores, or could your garage use a little late spring/early summer cleaning? Turn that hobby into a reselling business. 

Example: Alice began by selling her own unwanted items and now scours estate sales on the weekends for vintage finds that fetch a pretty penny online.

#6: Start a Tutoring Business

If you have expertise in a particular subject, tutoring can be incredibly rewarding. 

Example: Emily, a retired math teacher, offers online tutoring sessions, helping students from all around the world. It’s fulfilling work and keeps her mind sharp, too!

#7: Make Products to Sell

Are you crafty? Turn your creations into cash. 

Example: Henry, who loved woodworking, started making custom furniture pieces and selling them locally and online. He eventually converted his garage into a workshop, and his products are consistently in high demand.

#8: Offer Pet Services

If you love animals, consider starting a pet services business that offers lodging, training, and/or feeding other people’s pets. 

Example: Mary, a retired nurse, found joy in offering pet sitting and dog walking services. She gets to spend time with furry friends and stay active while also earning extra money to spoil her grandkids. 

#9: Start a Travel Planning Service

Know how to plan the perfect trip? Use your skills to help other families create lasting memories.  

Example: John, who traveled extensively in his career, now offers travel planning services to families and retirees, turning his passion into a profitable business. (Theme parks are another really solid niche in this field)

Your Next Great Adventure Starts Now

Things are changing for the better! 

The Old Days: Working Hard for Decades

  1. Long Hours: Decades of working 9-to-5, often feeling exhausted.
  2. Fixed Income: Living on a limited pension or savings.
  3. Routine Life: Following the same daily routine, with little change.
  4. Solitude: Limited social interaction, mostly staying at home.
  5. Limited Learning: Few opportunities to learn new skills or pursue interests.
  6. Idleness: Plenty of free time but often feeling bored or unproductive.
  7. Dependence: Relying on others for financial support or activities.

The New Days: Getting Paid to Do What You Love

  1. Passion Projects: Wake up excited to work on something you truly enjoy.
  2. Flexible Income: Earn based on your efforts and creativity.
  3. Dynamic Lifestyle: Work when and where you want, fitting your business around your life.
  4. Community Engagement: Meet new people and stay socially active through your business adventures.
  5. Continuous Learning: Keep picking up new skills and taking on new challenges.
  6. Innovation and Activity: Turn hobbies into thriving businesses that keep you inspired and productive.
  7. Independence: Financially support yourself and maintain a sense of purpose and independence.

What’s stopping you from creating the retirement you’ve always wanted?

The information within this blog is for informational purposes only and contains fictitious scenarios used as examples to further illustrate the ideas within. 
Amazon and all related marks are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates. is not affiliated with or endorsed by, Inc. or its affiliates.
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