The gig economy? What is that? It is simply a technical word for the economy that absorbs a number of part-time and flexi-time workers into employment on a contractual basis, via the Internet.

People offer specific skills, or ask for specific tasks to be completed, through web based platforms. It is predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers will be independent contractors in this economy.

Why would I mention this when talking to people over 60? Because the gig economy creates an environment where temporary positions abound and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.

Using smartphone apps and platforms, opportunities are being created for those who want to work flexibly, with control over their income, utilizing an existing infrastructure.

This gives 60-plus entrepreneurs opportunities to taper their workload to their needs, and they can enter the market with minimal expenditure on marketing, starting with clients being referred from the platform on day one.

How to Make Money Online

There are plenty of opportunities to make money online by transcribing, teaching English as a second language, editing, etc. These are all examples of project work one can do in the gig economy.

You should always be cautious, however, as it is so easy these days to create a professional-looking website. As a result, it is easy to con people to part with their money.

When you enter the online working space, tread carefully, especially where large sums of money are offered for little or no input, i.e., the get-rich-quick schemes. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

A Mind Shift Is Needed

To work in this new economy, Boomers will typically need to shift the way they approach work. Many of us have worked in the same corporation or same industry all our lives.

We were paid a salary at the end of the month, provided we turned up and did the work given to us. In this economy, you will only be paid for your output, in other words, you will now be in the driving seat.

The Sharing Economy

The gig economy consists of two branches: the sharing economy and the barter economy. The sharing economy involves using the Internet to facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers for a fee.

You have all heard of the controversial Uber, which is a classic example of shared economy. A booking system on the Internet links customer and service provider via an app, allowing for a flexible, easy to use system.

It also allows for a flexible working environment and some level of security for the service provider, and standards are guaranteed for the customer.

A great advantage to this kind of business is the savings on resources. You don’t have to pay benefits, and you save on office space and training. In the case of Uber, they don’t own the cars.

An example of where Boomers have taken the shared economy concept and are running it their way is the Free Bird Club. This is an accommodation service that runs much the same way as Airbnb, but it’s offered by seniors for seniors.

The Barter Economy

The barter economy, on the other hand, does not involve money changing hands. Rather, services and products are bartered to the equivalent value. It appears there are few truly money-free barter economies in existence, as there is usually a fall-back option of cash.

So what does the gig economy offer the 60-plus worker:

  • Work from home opportunities.
  • Virtual workplaces so that you can travel and take your work with you.
  • Minimal resources other than a computer and internet connection.
  • Flexible working hours, tailored to the amount of income you need.
  • Pay for output or work done.

For someone who wants to supplement their investment income or State Security benefits, this can be an ideal situation.

A mind-shift is necessary to understand that the work is not going to come knocking on your door. You will constantly need to be out there offering your services and looking for opportunities. The biggest advantage? No-one is going to ask your age if you produce the goods.

Have you explored work from home possibilities? Have you already started working as an independent consultant? Have you discovered a flexible working environment to supplement your income in retirement? Please share your experience and tips below!

Hilary HendersonHilary Henderson is a Retirement Coach. She brings to her coaching her experience as an Occupational Therapist as well as an entrepreneur. Her mission is to help people find relevance, purpose and meaning in their retirement years. Facebook is one way to reach out to her.

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