Freelancing in Retirement - 10 Great Reasons to Start
Having reached retirement after a long and productive career, it may be difficult to think about working again. However if you, like millions of other Boomers, have to work for economic reasons or simply desire to stay active, there are great advantages in launching a new freelancing professional career. Recent research by Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that 65% of Boomers expect to work past traditional retirement age or do not plan to retire at all. Over half of these have to work due to shortfalls in retirement savings. It is also worth noting that 34% of those planning to continue work after retirement plan to work for enjoyment.
1. Make money
If you are facing retirement or have already retired, then you have been exposed to myriad of articles and stories about the need to have financial security. Unfortunately the Great Recession and other economic challenges significantly dented Boomers’ ability to retire and maintain a comfortable lifestyle. 36% of Boomers count on Social Security as their primary source of income, while a majority rely on a mix of Social Security and retirement savings. Freelancing just a few hours per week can provide a welcome addition to these sources. Depending on your skill level and ability to find freelance work, you may be able to earn enough to afford going on a vacation that you always wanted or go out more often.
2. Do what you love
3 out of 4 freelancers would agree that doing something you love is often more important than making money. Doing work that you are passionate about or like results in higher productivity, more creativity and you feel rewarded at the end of the day. As a freelancer working in retirement you have a luxury of pursuing work that provides a personal connection, inspiring you to devise more ideas and find better solutions for your clients.
3. Be your own boss
As an independent freelancer you have the flexibility to choose how much to work and make your own hours. This flexibility allows you to create the work-life balance you desire and deserve. Furthermore, you can scale up and down the amount of work you do depending on your needs at the moment. If you have a family event or take an extended vacation, you can pause and resume once you are back. Freelancing is a journey of self-discovery, but a rewarding once you find the right balance.
4. Explore new avenues
The freedom of freelance work also provides the freedom to learn new skills or try out new projects that you could not do while working full-time. As a freelancer you have an open field of different projects to choose from. You can apply your skills in new settings. You can also use freelancing as a way to compliment your education if you are studying to acquire new skills. Freedom to choose opens up exciting new avenues that can be fulfilling and financially rewarding.
5. Be free to say "No"
On the other hand, if for whatever reason the passion is not there in a potential engagement, you have the power not to take the job. Ability to say “no” and be able to find other projects that suit your interests and fit with your work-life balance is one of the key advantages of working as a freelancer. Of course if you are not feeling passionate about a project, you can always recommend someone from your network who is well suited for the job and has a desire to take it on. This will pay dividends in a long term as both the person whom you recommended and prospective client appreciate your help.
6. Work anywhere
Many of the freelancing jobs today do not require to be physically present in the office. You do not have to be stuck in traffic or spend money on you daily commute – you can be at work in seconds in your own home. Less time spent on the road means more time for your clients and all of the things that matter most in your personal life. As an independent professional in 2016 you have the power and technology to do your work from anywhere. You can also do prospecting, put forward proposals or engage in negotiations from wherever you are. Cloud-based services and constantly evolving technology will only be making working remotely more attractive and easy. Of course, you need to be aware of “work at home” scams and trust only reputable online platforms for projects of this type.
7. Get tax deductions
Freelancers are in effect independent businesses and running your own business entitles you to some special tax advantages. Any expenses incurred in support of your business may be eligible to be written off. There are additional tax benefits associated with retirement savings that you may also be able to realize. However, please consult your tax advisor to better understand what is allowed and what you can do.
8. Meet new people
As a freelancer professional you will have a unique opportunity to meet people you may never had a chance to interact with in your prior typical work environment. You will be exposed to a wide variety of businesses and meet many like-minded individuals. After all, the key to a successful freelancing business is networking – whether via LinkedIn and social networking, joining professional organizations, or attending special events. You will get to work with diverse teams at your clients and be able to share your experience as well as learn new skills. You will also maintain and grow your professional network, staying current on the latest developments with your peers.
9. Low start up cost
Today’s technology allows you to start your freelancing business with a minimum or no investment at all. As many Boomers look to launch an entrepreneurial career in retirement, freelancing is an easy and low cost way to start a business. All you need is a computer, access to the internet and desire to find a fulfilling project. Over time as your client base grows you may decide to invest in additional training, certifications or other tools to help you to stay competitive. But the first step is easy.
10. Be appreciated
As a freelancer professional you’re being engaged by clients that have a real need for your skills. They are open to your suggestions and you can truly shine by bringing all those years of experience to the project. There are no bad ideas on a freelance project and your only criticism will come from someone who is vested in your ideas…your clients! No matter how small the project, you will have a chance to shine if you do what you love and have freedom to share your ideas. Your client will only appreciate your focus on their challenges.