At the age of 60, Russ Eanes found himself at a crossroads. A former minister in the
Mennonite church, he had spent a decade as an executive at a religious book publisher, specializing in downsizing—a role that left him dissatisﬁed and seeking a more fulﬁlling path. Eanes made a courageous decision: he wasn’t ready to retire; instead, he
embarked on a journey to redeﬁne his life.
Driven by a desire to align his work with his passions—hiking, cycling, and spirituality—Eanes transitioned into independent work. In 2018, he self-published a book about his pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, laying the foundation for a business
that assists other writers in publishing their books. Despite facing challenges, including a brief return to full-time work during the pandemic, Eanes’s publishing enterprise is now soaring.
Eanes’s story serves as an inspirational testament to the transformative power of
entrepreneurship in shaping a purposeful retirement. Many individuals ﬁnd themselves retiring earlier than expected due to various reasons such as age discrimination, health issues, or caregiving responsibilities. The journey of entrepreneurship emerges as a viable route to stay actively engaged and bridge the income gap in later years.
Adding a few more years of work to your retirement plan can signiﬁcantly enhance retirement security. Entrepreneurship, especially as a sole proprietor, offers not just a
source of income but also the ﬂexibility to delay Social Security claims, thereby boosting retirement beneﬁts. The process of crafting a solo business, though varied, can often be started with minimal investment, making it accessible to many.
Finding the right idea for your business is a key challenge, requiring introspection and sometimes a shift in focus or interests. Financial challenges, including ﬁnancing living expenses during the initial phase, are a common concern. However, the rewards of
pursuing a fulﬁlling and self-driven career can far outweigh the risks.
Jill Schlesinger, author of “The Great Money Reset,” encourages careful planning,
emphasizing the need for a ﬁnancial cushion to cover living expenses during the initial stages. Resources such as salary, bonuses, savings, and emergency funds should be considered. Additionally, the responsibility for beneﬁts, previously subsidized by
employers, falls on the shoulders of entrepreneurs, including Social Security contributions, health insurance, and retirement savings.
As a source of inspiration, websites and apps can guide aspiring entrepreneurs.
Platforms like SCORE, which connects mentors and mentees, and LinkedIn, offering networking opportunities, can be valuable resources. Apps such as QuickBooks and FreshBooks can assist in bookkeeping, simplifying ﬁnancial management for solo
The entrepreneurial journey, however, comes with challenges. Replacing
employer-provided health insurance, managing taxes, and navigating retirement savings require strategic planning. The article provides insights into options like Medicare, Affordable Care Act insurance exchange, and various retirement accounts.
In closing, the story of Russ Eanes underscores the resilience required on the
entrepreneurial path. His journey from the bottom falling out during the pandemic to reclaiming his writing and consulting work exempliﬁes adaptability. Eanes, now on
Medicare and planning to claim Social Security, emphasizes the harmony between work and retirement beneﬁts.
As we explore the possibilities entrepreneurship brings, let’s engage in a conversation. Have you considered a solo gig as a bridge to a stronger retirement? What challenges do you foresee, and what insights can you share with those contemplating a similar journey? Join the discussion in our forum and inspire each other to redeﬁne the way we approach retirement.