Go Gramps, Go
The gig economy isn’t just for Millennials
Without knowing any better, it would be easy to think that gigging is best suited for the young. Apparently unpredictable, it is surely too loose for anyone over 35 to really understand.
It seems to require a knowledge of apps, coffee shops, and the quick-witted social media commentary that keeps you relevant. Hoodies, and hipster haircuts. Skinny jeans and avocado toast for breakfast.
Well, being in my mid-50s I am here to help dispel the myth. The gig economy is not just for the young: some of us old farts do quite well with it also. Age can be a plus, if you wrangle it right.
While true, that building apps and a nimble social media presence can be of great help to you, I am proof that it is not necessary. There are thousands of people like me too, who are capitalizing on something other than keeping stride with the next best thing. The gig economy is vast and encompasses a lot.
In my case and like so many others my age, I now have a lot of experience. I luckily jumped into web work and SEO early, when it was not as common as it is today. As a result, I earned my stripes in the field: there are not too many situations in a web-based environment that I have not actually encountered by now.
I can color each new project with specific lessons from the past: something that my younger counterparts typically cannot. I troubleshoot issues differently too, having had direct contact with different scenarios.
I can often see the impact of small things in larger ways, because having been into similar things before, you can kind of see where they might be headed, more quickly. This is valuable, always.
I appreciate working with younger developers now because they are so quick and can build such cool stuff. The strongest teams I work with, usually combine both, blending seasoned experience with the energy of the youth to outshine all competition.
If you are older like me, you might want to consider your marketplace strengths:
- You may offer a decade or more of hands-on project work and detailed problem solving to any effort;
- You may have connections and industry ties that fortify the project;
- You may bring guidance and money-saving ideas to emerging new businesses;
- You may be able to work more efficiently with less error, guesswork or testing periods.
Depending on the niche you are serving and how you are doing it, there may be a variety of ways that your age and experience pays off as a benefit and does not serve as a crutch or a hinderance.
A lot of people my age and older, feel obligated to give something back. After reaching a level of success in business, we feel that it is important to give something back to the community that served us all so well. A noble thought, for sure, and thankfully, pretty common out there.
Giving back in the gig economy is a snap, because you can donate time, energy and passion to anything that you believe in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be for free, either – though compensation is not typically the driving force in these situations.
Here are just a few examples of ways you might find to give back:
- Help a nonprofit in your niche;
- Take on someone to mentor;
- Create how-to videos, sharing your experience;
- Create a scholarship in your name.
As your hair turns gray and your eyes grow dim, it does not have to be a negative effect on your business or gigging life. In fact, it can instead become the perfect time to thrive!