The gig economy has become more prominent than ever. It was already seeing major growth before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that more people are working remotely, it has become a necessity.
Employers are looking for ways to cut back and save money. Individuals are looking for ways to bring in side income, or even change careers completely if they lost their jobs.
As a senior, there are many reasons to consider becoming a freelancer, whether you want to “start over” with a new career, you want to fill your retirement with something productive, or you just want to challenge yourself.
Freelancing allows you to use your skills at any age to offer a service that someone needs. It’s a great way to remain mentally active and improve your digital knowledge. It can also be a beneficial way to stay connected and combat the effects of social isolation — a major health concern for seniors that has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression.
So, how can you get started in freelancing as a senior?
Understand the Benefits
If you’ve never dipped your toe in the world of freelancing before, it’s never too late. But, it’s a good idea to know what you’re getting into and how it can benefit you. You might be looking for a little extra income in your retirement, but you don’t want to deal with the hustle and bustle of a 9-5 job. Freelancing can be a great option. Some of the biggest “pros” to a gig economy lifestyle include:
- You can choose which clients you want
- You can set your own days/hours
- You gain a broader sense of independence
- You control your workload
While some of the potential drawbacks are that you don’t have built-in benefits and you have to pay for your own insurance, it could be a small price to pay if you enjoy staying in the comfort of your own home and having control over your career.
Make Sure You Have the Support You Need
Stepping into the world of freelancing at any age comes with some risks. While it offers flexibility and the option to be your own boss, it can also be nerve-racking if you’re just starting out. You’ll have to build up a portfolio, find consistent clients, and make sure you’re getting compensated properly for the work you’re actually doing.
Needless to say, it’s important to have a variety of support for your endeavors. If you still have kids living at home, or even grandchildren, one of the best things you can do is to focus on time management and creating a routine throughout the day. Keep yourself motivated by:
- Setting up a separate workspace
- Taking breaks throughout the day
- Keeping an organized space
- Using proven productivity methods
If other people are in the house, make sure they know when you’re working and that you need time and space to do so.
Additionally, if your health is a concern, it should also be a priority when you’re working from home. If you have an underlying condition, hiring a CNA to help you with personal care or medical duties can make your day-to-day life easier. CNAs can come into your home to administer medication, monitor equipment, or simply to maintain a healthy environment for you. If you don’t need assistance but you want to be the one to help others, you might even consider becoming a CNA as your full-time freelance gig.
Any kind of medical care and/or attention can be expensive. Whether you’re on medication or need someone to come into your house to care for you, a Medicare insurance plan may be able to help with some of the costs, especially if you’re just finding your footing as a freelancer and you’re on a tight budget.
Whether a professional comes into your home or you simply need to make sure your family and friends are on board with your career change, having a support system and making sure you have people in your life who can lend a hand will make your new career as a freelancer much easier.
What Are the Best Jobs for Freelancing Seniors?
If you’re new to the world of freelancing, you might be wondering how to get started when it comes to even finding a job. The good news? It doesn’t really matter what your specific skill set is. Finding a job in the gig economy is similar, no matter what type of work you’re interested in.
First, it’s important to know which jobs are popular and which industries are hiring. That will give you a better chance of landing a gig quickly. Some of the top jobs for the self-employed include:
- Social media consulting
- Freelance writing
- Virtual assistant
- Digital tutoring/mentoring
In light of the recent pandemic and focus on the healthcare industry, you might also consider a freelance job in the medical field, including working in digital health if you have the skills and background.
Once you have decided which job(s) you’re interested in, you can start reaching out to potential employers. Applying for freelance gigs can be different from applying to a traditional job. While you might send a potential client a resume, they’ll likely take a closer look at your portfolio or your body of work, instead. Remember, they are only hiring you for a specific job/gig, not as a full-time employee. If they like your work, they may hire you again. But, they need to have a clear picture of what you can do from the start.
So instead of focusing so much on a resume, focus on building a quality website or digital portfolio that shows off your skills.
While it’s important to apply for the jobs you’re interested in, networking (even online) is a great way to get your foot in the door and connect with the right people to land a job. Don’t be afraid to explain the benefits of hiring a freelancer to potential employers. It is usually more cost-effective for a company to hire a contractor than a full-time, in-house employee. Plus, that employer doesn’t have to worry about benefits or insurance.
When it comes down to landing a job, think about the things you really enjoy doing and connect with who you know. Freelancing is an option for people of all ages, you just have to know where to look to get started. Let these tips guide your way as you start on this new chapter, and you could find serious success as a senior freelancer.