Help Wanted: Use The Gig Economy To Your Advantage

More than 400,000 seniors are doing gig work, according to a recent study by JP Morgan Chase. What makes this kind of work so appealing? Flexibility!
Top view of senior woman with laptop lying outdoors on terrace, resting

How quickly the world changes these days.

Just a few years back the desire to get paid driving people to and fro would’ve required an application with a local taxi service. Welcome Uber and Lyft to the party. Now it’s a billion-dollar industry and anyone with an acceptable car and driving record can get started.

Using your skills and expertise to make money online by freelancing didn’t exist at the turn of Y2K. Welcome Upwork and Fiverr to the party. Now it’s a billion-dollar industry and anyone with a computer, Internet connection and relevant skillset can get started.

The opportunities for seniors are only expanding. Is now the time to jump in and get your piece of that gig pie?

What Challenges Come with Gigs?

Without a steady pay check, fixed location or workplace benefits, some seniors find gig work to be a challenge. For people used to corporate employment, this means learning new skills of budgeting, tracking income and expenses, and planning for natural ebbs and flows of work.

Better Working, Better Living

Many seniors are turning to gigs, seasonal work, and part time employment for two reasons.

First, traditional employment is harder to find. Older workers often face age discrimination. Senior stereotypes can keep people from looking for work, or from feeling truly comfortable in various work settings.

Second, people are living longer. Economic changes, recession and inflation may have eaten into savings and retirement funds. As people look forward, the financial picture may need shoring up. This is where gig work can be a useful boon for seniors.

Finding Your Best Match

While it’s tempting to dive right in, start from the inside out. Consider your unique expertise, skills, work preferences and interests.

What’s Your Sweet Spot?

What do you have to offer? What would you like to offer to benefit other people, find meaning and give you a sense of purpose? What would be easy, fun and rewarding? By starting from the inside-out, it’s more likely you’ll find the gig work that you truly enjoy doing.

What Appeals To You?

Here’s a starting place for looking at gig work. Some of these may be a natural fit. Others, may not appeal to you personally. Take a look and see what kind of ideas, goals and aspirations pop into mind.

Teaching Others

If you’re skilled in a musical instrument or speak a foreign language, you could teach others. Check out Take-Lessons to get a feel for the options.

Renting Out Wheels

Do you have an RV or auto that you rarely use? Perhaps you could rent it out and never miss having it in the driveway. Explore options at RV Share or Turo.

Leveraging Your Expertise

In your career, you may have worked as a consultant, doctor, or lawyer. If so, you could use your skills to find gig work via Catalant, Doctor On Demand or Upcounsel.

For creative freelancers, look at gigs on Fiverr, an online resource matching customers with freelancers. Gigs include creative categories such as digital marketing, video and animation, graphics & design, music and audio, writing and translation.

Renting Out Space

Empty nest? Do you have rooms, an in-law unit or house to rent out? If your kids have moved out, or your house is too big, this could be a simple way to make money with your home.

Consider Airbnb as a solution to transform storage rooms, garages, and visitor rooms into income. One of the great things about Airbnb is flexibility. You can block out the calendar for family, friends—and still have open times for paying guests.

As an alternative, check out The Freebird Club, a new-home sharing platform for over people over 50’s. Use the club to invite travelers to your home, while you’re living there. Many people find this is a great way to reduce social isolation, make new friends and boost rental income.

Loving Animals

If you love animals, gigs are plentiful. Consider dog walking, pet sitting and offering pet sitting in your home. DogVacay links 5-star pet sitters in your home or theirs. Ideal for watching pets when the owner is traveling or just needs help.

Driving and Ride Sharing

Many seniors enjoy the ‘gig’ work of driving. It offers flexibility, interaction and supplemental income. Look for opportunities at Lyft and Uber. Check out your local area and talk to other people who are boosting their income from driving.

If you do opt for ride-sharing and driving, talk to people who are already doing this work. Find out the most profitable times to drive – perhaps related to work schedules, flight plans or convention timetables. With a little in-person research, you’ll find out how to make the most out of your driving time.

Assistance Club Summary

Get started using the gig economy to your advantage. Just do it.

Find your sweet spot. Share your expertise, life experience and skills. With so many options for gig work, look for the best fit for you. Who knew making extra cash would be so fun and rewarding?