Ah, retirement ... long, lazy days of doing nothing except exactly what you want! Yet, for some retired folks, it's not enough to play golf, enjoy hobbies, travel, and spend time with friends and family. They enjoy the challenge -- and the paycheck -- that comes with a regular job.
Going back to work is a lifestyle choice for some, while for others, it's an economic necessity. Fortunately, the Internet makes it possible for retirees to enjoy the best of both worlds: a flexible schedule, the ability to work at home without a long commute or excessive stress, and an opportunity to supplement retirement income or savings.
Read on to learn about five Internet careers for retirees that can help you stay connected, offer a personal challenge and bring in some extra dough.
eBay or Etsy Business Owner
While some people start out on eBay selling treasures found in their attic or while cleaning out closets, they soon catch the bug to build their own online store. What you sell depends on your special interests and areas of expertise. Success stories about eBay entrepreneurs involving retirees are plentiful and promising, whether you choose to specialize in country antiques or garage sale collectibles, buying excess inventory from local warehouses, or selling refurbished machinery to other countries. Getting started is as easy as visiting eBay's Seller Information Center to learn about the sales approach that works for you.
If you love crafts and making things, etsy.com offers an excellent way to find buyers for your creative wares, as long as they are handmade or vintage. If painting, jewelry, textiles, or pottery is your passion, you'll find tools and workshops on the site to help you make the most of this online marketplace.
Whether you've spent your career in journalism or always dreamed of being a writer, the Internet offers many opportunities to become a published writer and get paid for it. Seek out content-driven sites that need regular articles or find companies who need help updating their blogs. Magazines and websites that update content daily are always looking for interesting, well-written content that's well researched, timely and relevant to their readership. Companies of all sizes are also realizing the value of having an online "voice" and are using freelance writers to write articles, blog posts and generate social media buzz. If you have no professional writing experience, consider starting a personal blog first, or maybe writing for some outlets gratis to build your reputation.
There a few ways to fulfill your writing ambitions. You may be able to turn a passion for travel into a vocation as a travel writer; magazines, newspapers, and websites are eager for articles and insights about interesting locations and experiences. Thoughtful reviews of books and movies are also in demand.
You could also start your own blog about a subject you're passionate about, whether it's photography, gardening, nutrition or politics. You could share your experiences about your career on the road or working with teenagers. At blogger.com and other sites, you may even attract advertisers who will pay to put relevant advertising on your blog pages.
Customer Service Representative
If you have an up-to-date computer, a high-speed Internet connection, a dedicated landline, a quiet place to work and a pleasant personality, you may have what it takes to work as an online customer service representative. Depending on your employer, you'll be answering calls and taking orders, or tracking existing orders. You may be asked to troubleshoot, solve technical problems, and even respond to online chat sessions or e-mails.
While many of these customer service jobs were outsourced in the past decade, the good news is many positions are coming back to the United States as companies realize there is an affordable, knowledgeable employee base here. Some companies hire directly, while others use virtual call center operators who hire and manage a team of at-home workers [source: Hannon, AARP].
If you have extensive knowledge of a certain field -- and a master's degree or higher -- you could find a rewarding position as an online professor. You wouldn't lack for students, either: More than one in four students took at least one online course in the fall of 2008 [source: Miller].
Colleges and universities aren't the only places that need online teachers; there are several online learning companies who offer classes on a variety of topics, from photography and creative writing to medical and software certification. Many Web sites dedicated to jobs in education also contain links to online teaching positions.
Landing a job as an online professor requires proficiency in technology, as well as your chosen subject matter. Be prepared to show examples of a personal or professional Web site, a regular blog or posts on related blogs, or online articles. Many universities offer workshops to help their faculty become more familiar with software and online teaching tools. Once you land the position, you'll be expected to create a syllabus and content for regular classes, monitor online message boards, respond to e-mails and evaluate the work that your students post online. Teaching online can be a rewarding and fulfilling vocation, just as in the classroom -- plus the additional flexibility.
Accountant or Bookkeeper
Turn your knowledge of financial matters into an excellent online career as an accountant or bookkeeper for businesses, clubs, and organizations. Using software such as QuickBooks, you can help your clients manage their businesses by paying bills, preparing invoices or payroll checks, filing quarterly tax forms, balancing the books, completing end-of-year tax returns, and more. Best of all, you can work at home in comfy clothes and skip the gossip with co-workers.
Find jobs by networking with former colleagues, friends and neighbors, small business or civic organizations, or posting an ad in a local newspaper in print or online. Companies of all sizes are looking to outsource accounting tasks; you may even choose to specialize in an area where you have specific expertise or interest, whether it's forensic, tax or construction accounting.
HowStuffWorks Now looks at a new twist in the sharing economy: renting your home for office space.
- Hannon, Kerry. "Great Work-at-Home Jobs for Retirees."AARP. January 21, 2011. (Accessed May 10, 2011.)http://www.aarp.org/work/working-after-retirement/info-01-2011/great-work-at-home-jobs-for-retirees.2.html
- Miller, Chloe Yelena. "Landing Online Teaching Jobs."Inside Higher Ed. April 29, 2011. (Accessed May 9, 2011)http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2011/04/29/essay_on_how_to_land_a_job_teaching_online
- "Online Moneymakers."Small Business Opportunities. May 2011. Harris Publications, Inc. Pages 18-30.
- Scott, Mark. "Outsourcing: Thriving at Home and Abroad." Business Week. May 4, 2009. (Accessed May 9, 2011) http://www.businessweek.com/print/globalbiz/content/may2009/gb2009054_61452.htm
- Smith, Dee Dee. "Employment after Retirement."Suite101.com. July 6, 2007. (Accessed May 9, 2010)http://www.suite101.com/content/employment-after-retirement-a25576?template=article_print.cfm