How to Work Online When You Think You’re Too Old
The ‘how’ of working online is actually the easiest part of everything.
The hard part of working online is what is going on in your mind.
Let’s first define ‘too old’
What age would that be? 45? 55? 65? 75? I bet we would all answer that differently – depending on our current age.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you are never too old to work online. That’s the joy of it.
- It doesn’t take a 20-year old body to work online. You may have issues with sitting too long or arthritic hands on the keyboard, but that’s all very manageable in today’s world of special chairs and ergonomic keyboards. Your body is never too old for this type of work.
- You may even believe that your brain is not as sharp as it should be to work online. Actually, in my opinion, the very opposite is true. You may not know the words to the latest Top 40 hit songs but your brain knows the tips and tricks needed to get the best results for your clients while avoiding major obstacles that have proven disastrous. And, it’s all from the years of experience in that brain of yours.
So there you have it — ‘too old’ should not be an issue for you.
Let’s look at what you’ll do online
The next most important part of working online is the “what.”
What will you do?
This is a biggie because you may be doing this work for the rest of your life. You don’t have to, but once you learn to do it well, you might want to just keep doing it. So, it’s important you choose something you truly enjoy.
It doesn’t matter that you have had 50 years working as an accountant. If the thought of balancing another spreadsheet sends you screaming, please don’t look for accounting work online.
You need to figure out who you want to be next
What do you love to do? Is there a need for that passion that can be done for a price online? What if you can spend the rest of your life earning money doing what you love – all from the place you love to be?
Now, we have to be reasonable, of course. If you love to draw but the extent of your drawing capabilities is stick figures, it is unlikely that you will find someone willing to pay you to draw those stick figures. However, maybe you learn (online and for free) just a little more and learn to draw just a little better and then you can be paid for that skill.
Perhaps you can take that skill (as novice as it may be) and help those with limited hand abilities learn how to draw the basics. Maybe you teach basic art lessons to the homebound online. Their family sets everything up for them and they learn from you while watching the screen. They don’t need a professional, they just need someone a few steps ahead of them to show them how it’s done. I don’t know, it’s just a thought, but all things can be done.
Decide how you want to spend your days
Do you easily get bored with too much free time? Maybe you want to work all day and just relax at night.
On the other hand, maybe you want to work just a few hours each day and spend the rest of the hours on the golf course or with friends and family. That’s doable too.
The important thing is to know yourself. Do you want to work from your home office? Or would you rather work around other people? There are work spaces now that you can rent just to work from and be around other people working the same way. Or, as I see all the time, you can work from coffee shops and restaurants. The noise can really help me focus. It’s funny that way.
You need to know what you want. The type of work you do will depend on the type of day you want to have.
Once you have the right mindset, know what you love, and understand how you work best, you can actually look at the ‘how’ – which, as I said earlier, I believe is the easiest part of all.
Learn the ‘how’ of working online
I’ve broken down a few of the steps I believe are most important:
You need to research what people are paying others to do right now.
You can look at Upwork.com just to see the jobs that are listed. The competition on this site can be fierce but the research you can do on there is priceless. You can see if people are asking for your type of work. If they are, you can then see what they are asking that the candidate know (in terms of programs and knowledge). If there are programs you have never heard of, look them up. You can bet that those programs are needed by other clients as well.
Once you find the program online – learn it.
There are free tutorials on YouTube.com and sometimes even on that program’s very own website. (I once learned a program I hadn’t purchased yet by sitting in a course for a week put on by that program. All online and all for free.)
Make sure all of your social media profiles show that new program knowledge.
Before you start writing to potential clients, you want to make sure that what they see online represents what you can do for them – not necessarily what you have done in the past. This is important.
Online clients care more about the results you can give them than in the past years of experience. It’s a very different mindset when talking to potential clients.
Working online actually takes very little equipment to get started.
You will need a reliable computer with lots of memory and the ability to back it up regularly. That’s really all you need. There are many other items you can purchase later but just to get started, it’s very basic.
All that’s left is to reach out to potential clients and express your interest in their position or their company. There are many places to look, but this article from Forbes.com will give you a list of many to try out.
Note: Some of the sites are for employee work (both full-time and part-time) while others are freelancing or contract work. (This is why it’s important to know how you want your day to run. A day for an online, full-time employee looks very different than a day for an online freelancer. But, of course, the pay and benefits look much different as well.) You just need to know there’s a difference.
I was 48 when I started working full-time, online from home. Friends of mine were starting to talk about upcoming retirement and the second half of life. We were all discussing what the future would look like. I’m here to tell you that no matter your age, working online is not only possible, but it’s exciting and freeing and makes the future full of possibilities.
In fact, it can make you feel like a kid again!
Feeling like a kid and working when and from where you want – there’s no such thing as ‘too old’ for that!
This post was written by Stephanie Brodt, owner of Virtual Executive Services. She left the corporate world after 20+ years of working as an Executive Assistant to Presidents and CEOs. She now teaches others how to leave their 9 to 5 and work online from wherever they choose. You can find out more about Stephanie at stephaniebrodt.com. She can also be found on LinkedIn and Facebook.