Study Reveals that Baby Boomers are the Fastest Growing Group of SBO

Instead of retiring, a survey conducted by Thumbtack finds that Baby boomers are starting small businesses as second and third careers.

As The Scope Weekly reported earlier, older job candidates are an often overlooked by potential employers. As a result many baby boomers are looking for alternative careers outside of the corporate world.

Thumbtack, a startup headquartered in San Francisco that brings together professionals and clients through its platform surveyed close to 15,000 skilled professionals from across the U.S. The online marketplace discovered that the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs and small business owners (SBO) is baby boomers. In a period of four months, the startup spoke discovered that far from planning to retire to Florida and golf, they are becoming small business owners to find meaningful second and third careers later in life. Baby boomers are described as between born between 1946 – 1964 and are usually retirees or close to retirement.

Reason Boomers are starting a new career,

“I do this because I love it,” said Deb Goldstein, a Thumbtack pro-life coach from Boston who left corporate America and went back to college at 58. “When people hit mid-life, they really need more mission and purpose, care and motivation in their lives. That’s when I started my business. It is just so enormously rewarding.”


Career Transition – Increasingly, workers in their fifties and sixties are becoming small business owners to find meaningful second and third careers later in life. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) of baby boomers using Thumbtack reported they were on their second or third career compared to only 54 percent of Thumbtack users under 55.

Experience is an Asset – Baby boomers overwhelmingly believe their years of experience is a significant asset in landing clients, with 86 percent reporting they choose to highlight their years of experience in their pitch to customers.

Supplement Interests and Income – A majority of baby boomers chose to work primarily because they enjoy providing services (36 percent) and to supplement income for extra expenses (16 percent) compared to 48 percent who work mainly to pay necessities. The working for enjoyment segment is significantly higher than pros under 55 where only 27 percent report working primarily for enjoyment. Also, nearly two-in-five advantages in this age bracket tell us that the ability to increase (not just maintain) their take-home earnings was a primary factor in taking the plunge into self-employment.

Pride in Business Ownership – Ninety-two percent of baby boomers reported they were proud to be small business owners.

World Port Seafood

Top Cities for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs



Riverside, Calif.

Washington, D.C.



Tampa, Fla.

West Palm Beach, Fla.



Top Occupations for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurs (by volume)


General Contractor

House Cleaner



Thumbtack was founded in 2009 and was co-founded by CEO Marco Zappacosta, Sander Daniels, Jeremy Tunnell, Jonathan Swanson

Survey Methodology

Starting in 2017 and ending in  2018, Thumbtack tasked its economist Lucas Puente, Ph.D. to survey 14,902 skilled professionals from across the U.S. The professionals ranged across hundreds of professions. The survey asked these entrepreneurs about the policies of their states and cities toward small business, as well as what it’s like to start and run a small business in their community. For the survey methodology, please visit

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