Low Risk Entrepreneurship As a Retirement Plan


I woke up the other morning to the sound of chainsaws and loud thunderous sounds vibrating up through my floor. I remembered that my neighbor across the street had a large tree limb that had fallen in a recent storm and thought that that neighbor was cleaning up the tree. I also remembered that the neighbor immediately behind me, had a large 110 ft tall tree that was primarily dead. We had recently talked to that neighbor about tearing down the tree and learned that she was already in the process of collecting bids.

So I grabbed the dog and walked outside just in time to see a huge limb falling 100 feet to the ground.   It was the 110 foot tree behind us.  I watched for a few minutes as four guys started dismantling this behemoth of a tree.   Among the four guys there was an older gentleman perhaps in his 60s.  He came over and introduced himself. I guessed that he was the business owner. After talking briefly, I learned that he had worked with AT&T for the length of a normal career 25 to 30 years.

Upon retirement, he decided he wanted to run his own business. And, so he started a tree cutting business. I found this a little remarkable given that the average person working an average career term of 30 years would be around mid 50s. Scaling trees seems to be a young man’s game; but, what do I know. I believe he’s been in business for 10 to 15 years. And he says he stays very busy. He wasn’t the guy in the tree but he was very active in managing the crew of guys.

I thought this was an interesting story relating to our low-risk entrepreneurship principles. I don’t know the full story behind this business owner: Did he need to work; did he just want to continue working; did he not have any retirement;or did he really just want to start a business?

In any case, assuming he didn’t financially need to work what better time to start a business. Theoretically he could have saved up some money through a Roth IRA or a 401k, perhaps earned a pension or a health care plan from the company.  In addition to the aforementioned items he  acquired a set of skills over 25 or 30 years that he could deploy. Lastly, basically having littlie financial need, the business owner now had plenty of time given he was retired.

Again theoretically speaking, he had money, time, and desire – I would have to say this would be one of the best times to start a “low-risk” business.

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Author: Jacob Dearolph
Jacob has had an passionate interest in entrepreneurship, business, and real estate since high-school as he sat through his first economics classes. As a young kid he used to lead other kids in the neighborhood in the creation of enhanced concrete (nothing more than Georgia red clay mixed with concrete) to sell to neighbors and contractors in the neighborhood. Thus, his entrepreneurial interests were born. Jacob obtained an Industrial Engineering degree at Georgia Tech. After spending a few years in supply chain & manufacturing, Jacob started working with entrepreneurial real estate developers in Atlanta. Currently, he is working in several different avenues in real estate while working with The Entrepreneur School.

3 Responses to 'Low Risk Entrepreneurship As a Retirement Plan'

Robyn Vogel
July 27, 2010, 5:35 pm

I was fortunate to have been a part of the ES classes offered last summer. While I haven’t given up on pursuing starting my own business, it is simmering on the back burner, I did partner with a network marketing company. After going to several seminars and learning more about building your own business in the traditional sense I found the two to be very similar. All the skills that are necessary to start a business are the same skills needed to grow a network marketing business. Obviously, doing one’s due diligence as to which nwm co, to partner with is important. It’s a low risk alternative to starting a traditional business with the added ability to teach and train others to do what you do so you can leverage your time down the road. By helping others succeed you ultimately help yourself. The down side is changing people’s perception and skepticism about what nwm really is about. I know I wanted nothing to do with it until I tried the products and they enabled me to leave my derm. I realized people were making a living and that this was a viable alternative. A great product, dedicated field and corporate leadership and I decided to go for it.
I have learned a great deal from your classes and seminars and it has helped cement my belief in the nwm industry. I am excited at the possibility of starting my own business but remain committed to nwm. I was wondering what your thoughts are regarding this growing industry and business model.
While nwm doesn’t involve every module you teach due to it being a turn key business all of the skills you teach are imperative to succeeding.

May 17, 2011, 6:49 am

Nice article. Thanks

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