When we think about the self-employed person or an entrepreneur, we always tend to conjure up the young hipsters and travelling gypsies drinking coffee in trendy and off-beat places. That’s a necessary online freelance stereotype present that freelance working is only for millennial creatives but recent times, the myth and the taboo is slowly breaking. We gathered some data, and when we dissected it, we were fascinated that freelancers over 50s are slowly dominating the online freelance gig economy in many places.
Are you shocked?
A recent business study showed that:
● There is a general rise of four folds in the self-employment as the number increased from 3.85 million to 6.95 million in one year.
● In countries like the UK, 77% of the freelance online economy growth is accounted for people who are over the 50s.
● 58% of the worldwide self-employed workforce is accounted for people over 50s, and 23% are over 60s.
● There are now almost 2.3 million freelancers over 50 and nearly a million freelancers over 60.
● Women are running the front in this race. The number of female freelancers growing by 55% compared to 36% for men in this one-year time frame
The question is, why?
Well, there are myriad reasons that have boosted the trends. Some are excellent, and some are ugly.
It’s all about Independence!
There was a time when people went crazy for a job of 9-5. Such positions promoted stability and comfort. But as time passed on with the raise of the corporate world, the 9-5 jobs slowly started losing that shine in people’s heart. With the continuous disbalance of work and life, people slowly noticed that they had lost that zeal for both work and life while slogging in their comfort zones. With the ongoing competition and common company goals to meet, people realised that they are losing themselves. At the age of 50s, it’s becoming a turning point—a point of life for self-reflection of what one has achieved and happiness. And many realised that box is unfilled.
A reason why people, mostly at the age of 50s, at the last leg of their life, take the final turn to live their life on their terms. Women mostly turn to freelance to gain more money and work independently. They start to explore more about their passion and apply according to their skillsets. With years of experience and the sudden zeal not live in the comfort zone gives them the best entrepreneurial attitude to build a business or work freelance freely.
Age discrimination, much like any other form of discrimination, has no place in a professional setting. Yet 60% of workers aged 45 and up have said they've seen or even experiences ageism first hand. From offensive offhand comments to being passed up for a promotion, older workers may find themselves and their skills reprioritised as employers begin to favour upcoming millennial generations. Many of them have stated that they face age discrimination even at the age of 35. So, we can imagine the ugly scenario of people over 50s.
A study shows that twice as many people over 50 are unemployed, compared to 18-24-year-olds. And the over 50s are twice as likely to struggle to find a new job if they're made redundant at work. In the US, there’s a 50:50 chance of losing your job involuntarily after 50. So they risk being caught in an unemployment trap.
At work, they are also struggling. A 2019 study shows that three-quarters of workers in their 50s feel like they have hit the ceiling in their career progression.
Boon and bane for women!
We already know the discrimination women face, mostly after they are married or have kids. A lot of corporates do not hire working mother fearing that they can’t compete with work life. Such kind of stereotypes adds up to the age discrimination and whips ups a storm. Many corporates also don’t like women taking time out of the work-life to take care of their family for an extended period. This pushes women in strife, and thus, they choose to start a career on their terms.
But why after 50?
Well, with a lack of recognition in the market and continuous fight for the identity of her self the whole life, freelancing comes to their rescue. This is a way to have the reigns of time, life, and work in your own hands and give a chance for them to explore all those lost passions and dreams.
So, how online freelance work helps people over 50s?
When freelancing, you have total control over the hours you work, often where you work, and who. So that’s a big plus. Evidence shows 67% have a higher life satisfaction score, for these reasons and more. Research also shows that the over 50 freelancers earn more and work fewer hours than younger freelancers, with the over 65s earning an average of £40,000 per annum working just 21 hours a week, which is £7,000 more than the average and 7 hours less. So they get paid £7K more for working a day less. Nice. And 71% said they are now either about the same or better off financially than when they were in full-time employment.
So, how to start freelancing?
Freelancing, as it may sound lucrative, it also has some obstacles. After working for a particular work culture pattern for decades, working as an online freelancer is a huge shift. It may also feel like it’s a cultural shock. So, more than how to start, you need to prepare a lot more before you leap of faith.
You may find it difficult to find and settle the right strategy for your freelance career. Before we start doing that, peek inside yourself and ask, what’s the best that you can offer? Do you love to write, paint, or have a knack with website building? What’s that one thing that you always wanted to live, breathe and eat but couldn’t do it?
Take your time! This is a soul-searching in a way!
Once you settle with the answer, take out your pen and paper. Note down what all niche you can offer.
For example, you love writing. So, you will pen down the publishing houses, magazines, advertising and marketing agencies.
So, you love writing, but you don’t know what are the ongoing trends going on? That may cause a hindrance while you look ours for projects!
In the world of freelance, it is essential always to stay updated with skills and trends. Don’t be scared? Check out a bit in social media platforms. Nowadays, with the online world booming, every day near about 100s webinars are being hosted by experts to participate, learn and get a certificate.
Freelancing is a tough job, even for millennials! So, it’s okay to doubt yourself first because everyone does. But have that determination to live the dream that you always wanted to live. To live free, it needs a lot of determination because people around us are always ready to trap us in the bubble of comforts. And dreams and freedom stay just outside that bubble!
Age is just a number for freelancing. No worries about retirement or pension! It’s your time and works on your terms and conditions! Take that final leap of faith now!