Though millennials may be the age group most strongly associated with the gig and sharing economies, it's their grandparents who are reaping many of the benefits as part of the modern workforce -- given that today, people over 65 are four times more likely to be self-employed than those under 34. These 16 opportunities -- many with flexible schedules and minimal qualification requirements -- can be perfect for seniors looking to keep busy and boost their income.
Unlike taxi drivers, drivers employed by ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber, both operating in hundreds of cities across the nation, can work their own schedules and use their own vehicles to pick up riders where and when they choose on their app, which handles billing and weekly payments for them. Beware of Uber, however, as the company has a history of employee harassment and predatory auto loans.
Virtual assistants are generally self-employed remote workers who can provide administrative, technical, and sometimes creative assistance from their home office. Since virtual assistant jobs don't necessarily require a college degree, anyone with administrative experience and a willingness to adapt to online work may be able to become a virtual assistant through online job boards like VirtualAssistants.com or by reaching out to business contacts to find potential clients.
Make an easy income renting out your home through Airbnb, a site that enables travelers to rent out a portion or the entirety of a host's home as vacation lodging. The site handles the billing process and takes only a 3% cut from the proceeds, so hosts can create a reliable income stream from their guests' lodging and cleaning fees with very little time invested.
Helping neighbors repair and tinker around the house is hardly a new profession, but the modern sharing economy has made it easier than ever to find handyman work through sites like TaskRabbit, which connect jobseekers with customers seeking people to perform various odd jobs like home repair, packing, and babysitting.
Another old-fashioned, neighborly job that's migrated to the online sphere is pet-sitting. Seniors with lots of spare time are a natural fit for walking and feeding their neighbors' pets for a reasonable fee, and it's easier than ever to get started through the service Rover, connects pet owners with pet sitters that can care for canines for short of extended periods of time.
"Workamping" means working while traveling simultaneously, and it's become increasingly popular among millennials and seniors who want to see the country while netting a small income plus potential room and board. Opportunities abound at county parks, non-profits, fulfillment centers, campgrounds, marinas, and RV resorts, most offering modest compensation packages that won't replace career income but can help sustain an ambitious travel plan.
Translators are always in great demand by public and private institutions like courts and customer service centers in a multiethnic society such as ours. Retirement may finally be the time to put a second language to good use while broadening one's horizons in a position that's typically freelance nowadays. Find clients through work sites like Freelancer and Upwork, but not before obtaining certification.
There are no educational requirements or qualifications to become a blogger, but making a profit doing it will necessitate some expertise and time commitment. Seniors can write personal or advisory blogs on subjects they know for other publications that pay contributors, or design their own sites using web-design applications like Squarespace, then work toward making a profit through advertising, providing services, or selling products.
In the digital age, it's easier than ever to turn one's hobby into a small business, thanks to sites like Etsy, an online marketplace for handmade crafts and foods. Dedicated sellers can make as much as $200,000 annually through sales of scarves, ceramics, and miscellaneous trinkets, but most seniors will only make a more modest income selling and shipping their homemade creations, whatever they may be.
Given that substitute teaching has become a more-crowded field, retired educators can still earn an income by teaching, by seeking part-time work as a one-to-one tutor specializing in specific subjects or test preparation. These days tutoring is often done online. The easiest way for a senior to start is to apply at a large tutoring service such as Tutor.com, or to promote themselves with online advertising and by speaking with school teachers and guidance counselors who can refer students.
If bargain-hunting is like an art form for you, reselling discounted goods for higher prices online may your best bet for making an easy income. It takes research and strategy to make a profit doing this, but seniors can start by looking for cheap name-brand or other popular products at discount sources like thrift stores and Walmart, then reselling them at the time of highest demand.
Busy professionals and inactive seniors often need someone to run their errands for them, which is why there are now several apps like Instacart and Care.com to connect with them with personal shoppers. Seniors who can drive and run errands or don't mind performing housework can make an hourly wage of $12.75 or more as a personal shopper.
This job can be a dream gig for empty nesters. Travel abroad and learn new cultures by teaching English to non-native speakers in exchange for room and board plus additional compensation. Payment and requirements vary, with nations in East Asia providing the most perks. A Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification, obtainable via online or in-person courses, is usually required.
If you'd rather not drive strangers around but wouldn't mind having them drive just your car around, posting it on Turo can help you net hundreds or even thousands a month renting out a vehicle that might otherwise just gather dust. The service screens all travelers and covers your car with $1 million in liability insurance and roadside assistance.
Many consulting companies turn to retired freelancers to provide additional help on a project-by-project basis, especially when looking to fill gaps in their workforce post-downsizing. Sites like PeoplePerHour make it easier to find varied consulting work in web design, marketing, and more by connecting employers and freelancers and handling payment.
Temporary office work isn't the most exciting form of employment, but it is a widespread way to earn extra money on a flexible schedule. Seniors with the relevant experience can cash in on the high demand for support in finance, law, accounting, and administrative services by signing up with large temp services like Manpower, which shop around one's resume and work availability to find listings that match.