Many people associate retirement with not working, but actually, your golden years offer plenty of opportunity to hold down a job. The benefit, however, is that instead of reporting to an employer, you can opt to work for yourself, establish your own schedule, and set your own rules. And while you can start any business you'd like in retirement, consulting in your former field might be the easiest solution if you're looking to work in some capacity. That's because you can draw on your existing knowledge without having to spin your wheels learning something completely new. If you're interested in going this route, here are a few tips for establishing a successful consulting business as a senior.

1. Brush up on your skills before diving in

If you've been out of the workforce for a bit of time, you may not be totally current on industry rules and happenings. Before kicking off your consulting business, make sure you're up to speed on the things you need to know to do your work accurately and effectively. That could mean updating an expired professional certification, attending seminars, or simply reading the news.

Older man sitting on couch holding laptop


2. Decide how much work you're looking to take on

Your motivation to start a consulting business in retirement could stem from a need for additional income or a desire to alleviate some boredom and do something meaningful with your time. No matter your reasoning for getting into consulting, start by figuring out how much time you're looking to spend working. Keep in mind that certain tasks might take you longer at this stage of the game, since you're potentially coming off an extended break from working and may not be as efficient as you once were. Figuring out how many hours per week you're seeking to work will help you decide which clients or projects to take on without getting in over your head.

You might also vary your work schedule based on the season. For example, if you tend to hibernate in winter, it might pay to load up on work then, but take on fewer assignments when the weather warms and you're more inclined to get out.

3. Network aggressively

Finding clients to use your services can be easier said than done. That's where networking can come in handy. If you're eager to drum up business, reach out to former colleagues of yours (including those who are and aren't still working) and get the word out that you're starting a venture and are looking to build a customer base. At the same time, make a point of being present in your community. Attend local meetups where you can network with like-minded professionals and potentially source referrals. And don't forget the power of print advertising. If you play your cards right, you might get some local businesses to allow you to put up flyers for free.

Starting a consulting business in retirement can be a fulfilling and lucrative way to spend your days. And if you go about it strategically, you're even more likely to be successful at it.