The greys are coming: The rise of the "lifestyle-preneur"

BACKED by a lifetime of toil and earning, the dream of the seachange and treechange is being re-imagined through the eyes of a so-called "lifestyle-preneur".

These over-60s are done with the rat race, they are abandoning the cities or major centres where they made their money and are turning their minds to somewhere more tranquil.

But this will not be a change marked by endless hours staring at the ocean or the forest canopy, this will also be a time of renewal as these professionals try to have it all -- finding that balance between rewarding work and a relaxed lifestyle.

Forget the grey nomads, this could be a grey exodus.

KPMG demographer Bernard Salt put together the data, commissioned by NBN in his report "Small Business, Big Thinking: The entrepreneurialism of the Aussie workforce" which is released today.

The lifestyle destinations have been on the radar for a generation -- Buderim on the Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay in New South Wales and Mt Tamborine on the Gold Coast are all favourites.

Now as the NBN is rolled out, the barriers of doing business with clients in a distant city or even country are beginning to erode.

Mr Salt said while many may leave the workforce with hopeful dreams of tending the rose garden, others are not prepared to spend their later decades having a rest.

"One thing we can be sure about baby boomers: they will not go quietly into the night."

"They are redefining what it is to be 60-something.

"Previous generations of 60-somethings who perhaps had been labouring very hard -- doing hard blue-collar type work -- by the time you get to 60, you've had it, your body is worn out and you want a rest.

"Baby boomers are the first generation of retirees in their 60s who are university education, who have professional skills and who might have bigger expectations of that 60-something decade.

"They might say, 'I'm on'y 60, I've got another 25 years or so. I might slow down in my 70s. I'm going to do what I've always wanted to do and start up a photography business'."

The stunning views from Mt Tamborine
The stunning views from Mt Tamborine


Accountants, lawyers or other white-collar professionals might become consultants, holding on to a few key clients as a "one man band", he said.

These are the corporatepreneurs or for blue-collar tradespeople: tradiepreneurs.

"What could be better than retiring to Buderim or Mt Tamborine, being in control and actually running a business you've always wanted to run?"

These areas are already in what Mr Salt calls the "lifestyle-preneur belt", where micro or small businesses are congregating.

The NBN is yet to be rolled out in Buderim or at Mt Tamborine, although Byron Bay residents can now access "fixed wireless" via a rooftop antenna.

Mr Salt said the roll-out of the NBN would be critical to these micro and smaller businesses.

The beautiful waterfalls of Buderim.
The beautiful waterfalls of Buderim. Lou O'Brien

The fact that Buderim and Tamborine are waiting for it still means they should prepare for a rush of newcomers.

"If there are lifestyle-preneurs there at the moment, managing with whatever services are available, then when we have full super-connectivity, it can only be enhanced," he said.

"My fundamental position with the Australian people is that we pursue lifestyle relentlessly.

"We created suburbia because we liked that lifestyle.

"We created the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast because we like that lifestyle.

"Maybe the ultimate, the absolute ultimate lifestyle is to be your own boss, to run your own business, to not have to report to anyone, to do something you've always hankered to do.

"This to me is quite an opportunity that Australia generally and certainly 60-something baby boomers should grab with both hands.

"You could theoretically run your yoga or pilates class by video-link from your studio in Mullumbimby to the rest of Australia, why not the rest of the world?"



Who are the emerging Australian entrepreneurs?

• The Corporatepreneur

Lives in the most exclusive suburbs of Australia's largest capital cities, including Vaucluse in Sydney and Toorak in Melbourne, where they comprise of more than 30% of the resident workforce.

The largest Corporatepreneurs sectors in these suburbs include professional services (eg Lawyers and Accountants) and health care (eg medicos).

They are driven by advanced tech tools, such as VR to increase efficiency and work in co-working spaces or from home to keep costs down.

• The Tradiepreneur

A mix of sole traders and small-business employers working in trades such as construction, plumbing and carpentry as well as in shop-keeping, accounting, financial planning, motor mechanics, medical, dental, legal and personal services such as hairdressing.

The Tradiepeneur envelops the city and includes the middle and outer suburbs and uses using technology to save themselves and their team time by managing day-to-day tasks and financials on the cloud via mobile app.

• The Lifestylepreneur

Employers and sole traders living in lifestyle locations such as the Northern Rivers of New South Wales and the hinterland of the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

Entrepreneurs in these areas may include retired or 'lifestyling' corporates, as well as personal service specialists such as Artists, Masseuses and Pilates Instructors.

They live and work on their own terms using cloud computing, Fintech, Skype and social media to create more freedom and flexibility for their business regardless of their schedule or location.