Are you a Baby Boomers who’s looking for a way to earn a little more (or even a lot more) cash? You might want to supplement your income, save for a vacation, or continue to build your savings. Perhaps you don’t want to return to a job where you’re working for a company, and you want the freedom to set your own schedule and still enjoy the retirement lifestyle you’d plan for. If this sounds like you, the gig economy might offer you some great opportunities. What is the gig economy? Let’s find out.
What Is the Gig Economy?
The gig economy is a new way of working where companies hire freelancers, independent contractors, and subcontractors to perform work for them. The word has its roots in the world of performance where musicians, dancers, and comedians are paid for their individual “gigs” or appearances. This term was adopted by companies who saw the benefit of outsourcing work without having the expense and hassle of a full-time employee.
The main benefit of the gig economy for the company is apparent in the cost savings. For the person who wants to perform the work, the benefits are scheduling flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere there is an Internet connection. Approximately 57 million people, or 26% of the U.S. population, report that they do this type of work either part-time or full-time. If you are ready to join the gig economy, here are eight ideas that you might like to try.
1. Deliver Anything
Delivery services, such as Grubhub, Ubereats, and Doordash saw tremendous increases in popularity over the past year. With these services, you deliver food, groceries, and other things people need right to their door. Amazon flex is another service that allows you to do same-day delivery for people who order from Amazon Prime. With these jobs, you usually earn a set amount for each delivery, and you earn tips. In some areas, the tips can be substantial. This is not the old days of pizza delivery. Things have changed.
2. Become a Driver
If you know your way around town and like to meet people, becoming an Uber or Lyft driver could be a lucrative gig job. Companies like Uber and Lyft have a global presence, and when you are signed up, you can work wherever you happen to be. Your car must meet certain standards, and you must have a clean driving record. If you know your community well, you might be able to start your own services taking people to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, or taking teens to and from school activities.
3. Rent Out Space
If you have an additional property like a guest house, extra room, or vacation property, you can rent it out short-term or long-term. Sites like VRBO, Homeaway, and Airbnb allow you to advertise your property for rent. Many vacationers choose this option because it is cheaper than a standard hotel and provides a unique experience. Sites like Booking.com and TripAdvisor also include private vacation properties. There might be a listing fee or subscription fee, but after that what you make is profit.
4. Oddjobs, Chores, and Handiwork
If you have become an avid tinkerer in your retirement, then you could put those skills to work with sites like Taskrabbit. On this site, you can find people in your local area who need something done. It can be anything like picking something up at the store, walking the dog, housework, event planning, or fixing the broken screen door. If you don’t mind assembling an IKEA bookshelf or two, this might be an excellent gig job for you.
5. Use Your Professional Skills
The skills from your pre-retirement job can help earn your money in the gig economy. Sites like Upwork, Flexjobs, Fiverr, and Freelancers.com allow you to connect with companies that need work, such as marketing, accounting, administrative work, coding, and web design. This is only a short list of the types of jobs that are available, and you can find almost any job description listed. You can do single jobs or longer contracts. You negotiate pay and working conditions. This is a great way to use your former profession to supplement your retirement income.
6. Become a Recruiter
Although many companies use sites like LinkedIn and Monster to find job applicants, they still need someone to go through the large numbers of applicants they receive to find the right candidates to bring in for an interview. Many companies are willing to outsource these tasks rather than have a full-time human resources staff. You do not need to have experience in human resources to do this job. Your decades of experience as a professional in the field can be more valuable for helping find the right candidate. You might want to check with recruiters and headhunter agencies to see if they need any extra help.
If you have a second language or even a third language, your skills are in high demand. Many sectors need people who have multiple language skills, including the government, tourism, and global businesses. The median pay for a translator is around $20 per hour. Sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer.com have a translation category. Other sites like OneHourTranslation.com and Gengo need translators to do various jobs.
8. Editor or Proofreader
Are you one of those people who always finds the mistake that no one else caught? If you are, then you might have found your calling as an editor or proofreader. Companies need you to help them put their best foot forward and are willing to pay you to help them. You might be asked to edit anything from business letters to restaurant menus. Sites like Freelanceediting.com and Smartblogger.com often have job listings for those grammatical perfectionists in the crowd.
If you decide that the gig economy is right for you, make sure to take a look at how it might affect your social security. You might have to put a cap on your work for a particular month. The best part about the gig economy is that you have the freedom to do that. You can work when and where you want, and you can support the lifestyle of your choice. The gig economy gives us more choices in our retirement years.