8 ways to work for yourself in retirement

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For many of us, retirement can feel hugely liberating. It can give us valuable opportunities to do more of what we want to do, and less of what we have to do. Continuing to work, except now as our own boss, can be especially rewarding.

The watchdog Which? has reported that about 32% of people working beyond state pension age are self-employed – and here are just eight of the fun jobs you could choose from for your autumn years.

Running a B&B

Tending to a quiet bed and breakfast in some beautiful, leafy corner of the country can make for what sounds like a very cosy life. You should be wary not to allow this image to muddle your perception of the genuine demands and challenges of running a B&B; however, hotel management software like that available from Little Hotelier can make things easier. Such software is also on offer from eviivo, which has tips for B&B owners.


If you’ve spent time at a local amateur theatre group and “got the buzz” for acting, good news: you don’t need to spend years at drama school to become an actor. Many successful actors don’t have drama degrees! In fact, through your theatre group, you might have already glimpsed, or even taken advantage of, opportunities for paid work in this field. Many jobs aren’t advertised, so network, network, network for good opportunities.

Making and performing music

We all have our favourite genres of music. Maybe you’re a metalhead, a connoisseur of classical music, attracted to progressive rock or a fan of 1980s-style synthpop. If you love a particular type of music to the extent where you have even started making compositions of your own, a new life as a paid musician could await. A degree in music is often not considered essential for entering this field, though it could hold you in good stead if you’re enticed by the classical repertoire.

Making fine art

Fine art, like music, can be here, there and everywhere. Museums, bars, shops and other public spaces can accommodate plentiful displays of gorgeous art – meaning that, if becoming a paid fine artist takes your fancy, there could be many more opportunities to get your work out there than you currently realise. Gallery owners, curators and private collectors in particular are always on the lookout for new art – and you don’t need an established reputation in the art world to impress them.

Taking photographs

These days, it seems, everyone is a photographer – thanks largely to great quality cameras coming as standard on smartphones. However, relatively few people have the skills to regularly take photographs that can command fees. Many professional photographers are self-employed, and tend to specialise in a particular type of photography, such as advertising, corporate, editorial or social – that could include wedding – photography.


If you have a passion for regularly writing about a particular subject that interests many others, blogging could be a great way of doing what you love while bringing some extra money in. You could, for example, set up a free blog with Google’s Blogger platform before monetizing it with Google AdWords, which places adverts on your blog. As your number of visitors grows, your financial takings are likely to grow with it. It could, however, take you a fair bit of time to promote your blog to the extent it reaches this point – so, be patient.

Running a café

If you’ve recently enjoyed a holiday in France or Italy, you have probably found yourself easily taken in by the relaxing café culture. Did you know that such a culture has long been flourishing here in the UK, too? Running a café can be demanding; however, many Brits like the intimate feel of an independent eatery. So, if you do start one, you could be pleasantly surprised by how much custom you attract.

Making furniture

If you have a dedicated workshop at home, and often spend time there busying yourself with woodwork, consider that you could create lots of items of furniture that many people want to pay for. Many of us can find mass-produced furniture rather soulless, but becoming a self-employed furniture craftsman gives you a great opportunity to make furniture with a more unique and imaginative touch. Alternatively, you could stick to designing furniture and leave the job of physically making it to other people.

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