When I speak to baby boomers about the world of freelancing they are often surprised by the amount of jobs available for their specific skill set. In fact, most of them don’t think they have much to offer in the area of online work because they don’t have training in all the “technical stuff.”
It used to be true that a background in technology was a prerequisite for working online, but not anymore. And there are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, because so many companies no longer use full-time staff to handle tasks like proofreading, editing, and writing, the number of available assignments is soaring for freelancers. And secondly, the demand for these skills has increased dramatically as almost every business today has a website—from your local corner restaurant to your veterinarian.
What’s more, once people realize that they actually do have the skills to freelance…they discover that there is nowhere in the world they can’t go.
One former schoolteacher I spoke to said she spent 33 years getting up early each Monday morning, rain or shine, to make her commute to work. For this reason she now structures her freelancing work so that she no longer has to work on Mondays.
For her, Mondays are now the days she most looks forward to, as she gets to relax on her porch in Mexico. She can enjoy the local coffee, grown and roasted in the nearby hills. And she can watch the swaying palm trees, the gentle waves on the Pacific, and appreciates the comfortable breeze.
As a proofreader for a small curriculum development company in the U.S. she can work to her own schedule. Each week she gets three or four new assignments that are due by the end of the week, so she can decide herself when she wants to do them.
In a typical week, she weaves her schedule around a massage, an afternoon walk to a small, local market, her weekly trip to the white, sandy beach, and a couple of lunches with a few of her good friends.
Because the work that she does on the curriculum is so much like what she did during her career as a schoolteacher, she could almost do it in her sleep. Each week she easily completes her assignments and turns them in one day ahead of schedule, giving her $275 for her few hours of work.
I also spoke to a “retired” nurse, who made the move to Ecuador. During her career she spent long hours on her feet, dealing with crisis after crisis, and putting up with the never-ending streams of new management directives that seemed to make little sense.
Now, she’s still helping people to heal but she’s doing it in a very different way…she’s writing medical articles on medical topics.
Though she never dreamed of being published or being paid to write, she discovered that with a little bit of self-education she was able to master the writing of articles on medical topics she was familiar with. Her decades of experience, and years of treating every kind of injury, gave her a wonderful knowledge base to draw on for her writing.
She found that by using tools like organizational templates and readily available online grammar tools, she got very good at writing articles. Now she can write one in about two hours. Her most recent article is about the five injuries you’re most likely to suffer when you’re camping and how to take care of them.
She weaves her writing in between trips to her public library. She is now so efficient in her writing process that she is able to volunteer two days a week at a school for eight and nine year olds. No brutal schedules, she can wear her casual clothes every day, and she’s self-directed in a way that makes sense to her.
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