In April, Dave Summers lost his job as director of digital media productions at the American Management Association, a casualty of layoffs brought on by the pandemic.
Mr. Summers, 60, swiftly launched his own business as a digital media producer, coach and animator who creates podcasts, webcasts and video blogs.
And in September, he and his wife, who teaches nursery school, moved from Danbury, Conn., to Maryville, Tenn., which they discovered while visiting their son in Nashville. “My new work is all virtual, so I can live anywhere,” he said. “Not only is it a cheaper place to live, we love hiking and the outdoors, and our new town is in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.”
Droves of small businesses have been shuttered by the economic fallout of the coronavirus, but for Mr. Summers, starting a new one was the best option.
“I’m not sitting on a massive nest egg, so I need to work to keep afloat,” he said. “It’s also about being healthy and happy. I can’t just retire because underneath it all I’m creative, and I have to be busy doing stuff and helping people tell their stories.”
While the coronavirus pandemic is causing many older workers who have lost jobs, or who have been offered early retirement severance packages, to decide to leave the work force, others like Mr. Summers are shifting to entrepreneurship.
In fact, older Americans had already been starting new businesses at a fast rate. In 2019, research from the Kauffman Foundation, a nonpartisan group supporting entrepreneurship, found that more than 25 percent of new entrepreneurs were