Have you been dreaming of a more flexible job than you have currently? Did the pandemic and society’s reaction to it cause you to rethink your career? Have you lost your job as a result, or has it made you question staying in your current job for another decade or more? Whatever brought about your current situation or whatever is making you rethink your career, you may be yearning for something that gives you more flexibility in your life. Often when we have been in the same career for many years, we begin to desire change, and we don’t want to be locked into a Monday to Friday, 9-to-5 job, perhaps with a lengthy commute that controls our schedule.
So what are some work options for women over 50 who are seeking a change, especially when flexibility is an important criterion? Virtually anything you’ve done as an employee can be done as a self-employed independent contractor and allow you to set your own schedule. Many fields offer the potential for part-time work, as well. And truthfully, any field that you have experience in or any passion that you have can be a potential career opportunity. Perhaps it’s even just a personal passion that will drive your career change. Regardless of the reason, here are some flexible job options to consider.
With the decline in brick and mortar retailing and the desire for more flexibility, more and more products are being sold through direct selling, primarily by women. This is also known as social selling. Benefits include a low start-up cost, tremendous flexibility in scheduling, the ability to start up while you are still employed elsewhere, and typically strong marketing support from the brand or someone who coaches or mentors you in the business. There are direct selling companies in virtually any product category, including health and beauty, food and wine, and fashion. Whatever you are passionate or knowledgeable about, there’s certainly a direct selling company you can align yourself with.
This is a broad term covering everything you could get paid for doing that another household simply doesn’t have the time or talent to do. It can include being an emergency nanny, driving kids to activities, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking or weekly meal prep, home organizing or renovations, lawn care… you name it! Busy parents, in particular in 2-worker homes, never seem to have the time to do everything. And if one of them is working from home, they are all too aware of the things that need to be done around their house that they don’t have time to do. Better yet, they are willing to pay someone else to do it.
If you have been in the corporate world and love what you do but just want or need a more flexible schedule, consider going out on your own as an independent contractor doing the same type of work. Bookkeeping and administrative services like payroll are two areas in great demand by other small businesses. You can take on as many or as few clients as you want to have the flexibility you desire. If your expertise is in Human Resources, you could become a career coach, a resume writer, or a diversity consultant, among other things.
Women over 50 have a lifetime of experience in many areas. Why not take that experience and expertise and turn it into a flexible career? You could be a personal coach in many areas of life, such as fitness coach, mental health coach, organizational coach, parenting coach, or life coach. Many women with lengthy careers in these fields go out on their own for the flexibility that being their own boss provides. Even if you don’t have career experience in one of these fields, you can take a passion and talent and turn it into a coaching business. Of course, certain specialties require training and licensing, but they require talent and passion above all else.
Many women are drawn to the real estate profession because of its flexibility. Women seem to make excellent realtors because they have an eye for seeing things in a home through the eyes of a buyer. They understand how a home needs to function and can spot flaws in a home’s design or identify outstanding features. Like all of these other opportunities, it’s hard work. Unlike some of these opportunities, it does require licensing for entry. Love real estate, but not sure about taking such a leap? Perhaps taking a part-time job in a real estate office while you explore it will give you the exposure you need to determine if it’s right for you.
Coffee shops seem to pop up on every corner these days, with both local owners and national franchises driving the opportunities. The prospect of working in a location that smells delicious day in and day out is tempting. Also, if you enjoy working with customers and learning how to make flowers out of foam, this could be the career of your dreams. However, if you aren’t an early-riser and have no interest in learning how to make all of the beautiful caffeinated concoctions, this might not be the job for you. The earning potential might not be great, but the prospect of enjoying work every day is always a good one.
If you specialize in a particular subject, this could be the perfect career option for you. Plus, working with the younger generation tends to keep you feeling youthful as well. The benefits of tutoring include the opportunity to nurture young minds while working on your own schedule. You also have the option of working from home, visiting the student’s home, or even meeting in a coffee shop somewhere. The freedom to set your own hours, determine your fee, and dictate your working environment are definite assets.
If you don’t excel in a particular subject but have experience with an instrument, you could also consider giving private lessons to the budding musicians in your community. Communicating with your school district’s music teachers or leaving your card at the local instrument stores can create a wealth of opportunity and potential clients.
The business of providing transportation has boomed in the recent past, creating an employment option for people of all ages and walks of life. Some people like to work as an uber driver as a second job for some extra spending money, while some do it as their primary source of income. The money-producing opportunities vary with the city in which you live, and the amount of driving you can plan to do on a daily basis. The type of car you drive is also a determining factor because more upscale cars charge a higher fee. This would be a great job option if you are looking for flexibility (you mark yourself available when you want to drive), have a reliable car, and enjoy meeting new people. If you aren’t keen on sharing your private space, however, you might consider a different option.
One bonus for many people over the course of the pandemic was the opportunity to work from home. It allowed them to multi-task household chores, save money from not having to commute, and spend more time with their family and pets. As we make a move back to the office, the opportunity to help out with people’s houses and pets has the potential to be big business. Missing a year of vacation opportunities has many people chomping at the bit to hit the road, and they’ll need someone to either check in on their house or stay there while they’re gone.
For people with day jobs heading back to the office, dog walkers and pet sitters will be in high demand. That’s because the transition from being home all day to being gone for most of the working hours is going to be stressful for our furry friends. If you elect to try this job you’ll get to dictate when and where you work, and you could make clients that last well past the summer months and post-quarantine days.
What if you don’t see yourself in any of these entrepreneurial-type roles? You may feel that you don’t have what it takes to go out on your own and build a business. You may see yourself as more of an employee-type personality versus an entrepreneurial boss lady. At the same time, you may love the work you do as an employee but seek more flexibility in your life. This might be the ideal time to pursue shifting to a more flexible work schedule doing the same job, and even with your current employer!
With the number of people working from home and the number of companies seeing this as a long-term shift, it might be the ideal time to approach your current employer about a schedule change. You could ask to work from home (WFH) a few days a week, or you could transition to fewer hours. For example, changing from a 5-day a week schedule to working only 4 days a week, even if it frees up just one day, can have an amazing impact on what you can get done in your free time and maybe give you all the flexibility that you need!
Whichever direction you decide to take, you will be joining millions of women who are entering into exciting times as their own boss or in a new career, with the flexibility to live their lives on their own terms.