Many baby boomers presume that you need to have a talent for proofreading, authoring articles, or writing copy for websites to become an in-demand online freelancer. But the reality is that there are plenty of online freelancing opportunities out there beyond these fields.
For instance, over the last few years, the demand for online researchers has soared.
To find work in this field, you don’t need to be a master of DNA decoding or some other complex topic. All you need is an internet connection and a curious mind.
Online research involves helping business owners, authors, consultants, marketing managers, and a host of other people find reliable information, and then organizing it in such a way that these clients can make better decisions, improve their product or service, or solve a problem. Boomers are ideal for this work, for reasons I’ll go into below.
Many boomers also wonder why this role is so in demand, when nowadays everyone has access to powerful search engines.
True, search engines are good general search tools. But most clients are looking for insights on very specific criteria that search engines alone are not well equipped to handle.
This is where the opportunity lies.
Why Boomers Are in Demand as Online Researchers
The majority of baby boomers have expansive domains of knowledge. This is because boomers typically have decades of career experience. A long career in one or more industries provides a solid foundation on which to find success as an online freelance researcher.
I remember working with an executive who was previously a marketing manager in a consumer products company known for making toothpaste.
Now, most people would assume that toothpaste marketing and manufacturing knowledge is so specialized that there’s little call for it in the field of online research…and they’d be right.
However, her career had given her a whole host of knowledge that is in great demand online.
This includes extensive information on consumer products, by virtue of her membership in a related professional association. Knowledge on how to train and orient new employees coming into a large company from a college or trade background. Awareness of best practices for supervising employees during corporate restructuring. And knowledge of how to brief and train team members when new government regulations come into effect.
The point is that every career comprises multiple domains of knowledge.
Moreover, boomers have other domains of knowledge to draw on as well. These may come from the passions they have nurtured over the course of their lives, like a favorite sport such as baseball, tennis, or pickleball. Or perhaps they were acquired in the process of mastering a hobby, like photography, gardening, or antiquing.
Volunteering can also be a potent source of knowledge and expertise in such areas as fundraising, organizing events, or helping coordinate disaster response and relief.
When most boomers start counting their domains of knowledge, they quickly realize that they have far more than they initially assumed, typically reaching a dozen or more without much effort.
Any one of those domains can be the ticket to a new life as an in-demand online researcher.