Use information to your advantage

For many Boomers approaching or having reached retirement having a part-time work that provides some regular flow of income is a dream-come-true. Such work would help to supplement retirement income and provide an opportunity to enjoy retirement a bit more. Almost three of every four workers nearing retirement age prefer to work in retirement, according to a new study conducted by Merrill Lynch in conjunction with AgeWave, a group specializing in issues regarding the aging population.

Vast majority of Boomers want a second career based on flexibility and life balance to the extent possible. According to the study, retirement jobs are usually part-time (83%) and are also three times more likely to include self-employment. Second careers may provide an opportunity that perhaps pays less but is something that a retiree really wants to try.

However, a decision to work in retirement, perhaps as self-employed or freelancer, is often followed by hours of frustrating research for the right work. Many spend hours searching the internet for that right job just to be left empty handed. While we all might be living in the “gig economy”, it is not easy to find the opportunities that meet financial goals, fit ones’ skills and provide the right life/work balance. Since not everyone can be a writer, they will search for jobs that would put their professional skills to work.

Often the first place to look is online freelance sites. Indeed, technology has changed the nature of work and a lot of things these days can be done by remote workers, creating a seemingly vast pool of options for Boomers looking to do part time remote work. But the same technology also opened up the labor markets to millions of workers located in lower cost countries and these workers are often able to perform basic tasks for a minimal pay. Boomers searching for freelance opportunities on many online freelance job sites are likely to be faced with competition from these workers offering their services for a very small fee.

Search on more traditional job sites is likely to yield many part time jobs in retail or hospitality industries. While suitable for some, these are certainly not jobs that many dream about. Spending hours at the supermarket or department store is not likely bring substantial income and will likely be quite physically taxing.

Of course there are also sites that advertise easy money for little work from home. We advise you to be cautious here and not fall into a trap where you have to pay to access “exclusive opportunities” or “learn the tricks”.

Faced with these challenges some may conclude that they are not fit for the today’s economy and job market. However, it is too early to sound retreat! Boomers looking for a rewarding and balanced retirement that has a work component have to leverage their unique characteristics and learn new ways to put their skills to work. Online freelancing and traditional job sites can be used to launch your own encore career by helping you define your services and determine the market demand.

Define your services

While online freelancing sites can discouraging when you see the prices for jobs, they are a great source of inspiration to define your services in a concise and specific matter to which you can attach a price. For the most part all jobs are quoted as specific things to be done for a price rather than skills of the freelancer. You can review available categories and offers and see if any sound similar to what you can offer. Of course your offerings will be different since you are US based and bring a lot more experience to the job.

You can also use these sites to test whether what you are offering as a service is in demand or has a lot of competition. If the answer is yes, you can adjust your offering by finding a way to differentiate yourself either through special skills, location, terms or anything else.

Figure out market damand

Many traditional job sites have postings from companies large and small looking for part time employees. Leaving aside all retail and hospitality jobs aside, you can find some prospective clients that are looking for your particular skills. These companies may not be in your geographic area and may or may not offer a remote work options; however, they may also be perfect first targets for you to propose your services as a freelancer, effectively changing the relationship from employee/employer to client/vendor. For many companies hiring a freelancer can be more advantageous from cost perspective, so they will be only glad to hear you propose this option.

As these jobs are offering an insight into the existing market demand, they can also serve to show you where there is hidden demand. Your local small businesses may also be in need of similar services but simply chose not to advertise on job boards. You can use your network and contacts to identify potential targets in your area to offer up your services.

With a little effort and patience you will be able to define your services and get better at workign with clients. You can also consider joining special platforms such as Almarelo that are open only to US based freelancers and small businesses, providing you with a more appropriate marketplace for your services.

In summary, information available on the internet today can help you start your freelance work that will provide some regular flow of income. You just need to know how to use it to your advantage.

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