Freelancing is a popular career choice for the professional over 50

Freelancing is an increasingly popular career choice, particularly among individuals over 50. In the U.S., of the estimated 57 million freelancers, nearly 30% are over 55. By 2024, 100,000-200,000 freelancers will be working out of Australia. [1]

On-demand talent = freelancers

Businesses are beginning to see the value of utilising a core group of permanent staff, bolstered by on-demand talent such as freelancers, bringing specialised expertise when necessary. In many cases, freelancers can be more productive, cost-effective, and quicker to onboard than full-time employees.

Why Opt for Freelancing?

Freelancing affords a level of control and flexibility often lacking in conventional employment. The appeal of self-employment, the pursuit of creative passions, or the quest for more gratifying work drive many towards freelancing.

As a 67-year-old running my own business, I enjoy the ability to work part-time and travel. I delegate some of my work to freelancers where appropriate or needed. However, I have over 20 years of experience running my own business. It’s a bit easier for me now.

Older workers may face age discrimination, leading many, especially women, to consider self-employment, especially if they have been passed over for promotions or struggle to secure interviews. They may find that their skills are highly valued as freelancers compared to their current employment. Get advice first, though, don’t just jump.

Identify a niche to work on

Identifying a niche and staying relevant is crucial for maintaining competitiveness and income levels, whether as a freelancer or employee. Freelancers can work in various fields, including IT, Finance, Project Management, Customer Service, Health Care, Writing, Education, Marketing, HR, Graphic Design, and Real Estate. Each of these categories presents sub-niche opportunities.

With their valuable knowledge, skills, and career capital, senior freelancers remain competitive but must learn and adapt to stay relevant continuously. Being a freelancer means running a one-person business, necessitating various business skills, particularly in marketing their services.

Other crucial skills include:

  • Mastering digital platforms.
  • Understanding your niche and hiring practices
  • Implementing AI tools.
  • Upskilling through reading and suitable classes.
  • Keeping abreast of trends.
  • Networking
  • Collaborating, ideally with younger generations.
  • Promoting your skills online.

Seek out a coach

A coach or mentor may be beneficial to help you get started, but joining a freelancer platform such as provides access to advice, collaborators, and practical online courses.

The rise in freelancing, particularly among those over 50, brings together the flexibility of working hours, the opportunity to utilise years of accumulated expertise, and the power to define one's career path.

As businesses move towards leaner models, employing core teams supported by specialised freelancers, the over 50s see this shift as an opportunity to take control of their careers. This has the potential to redefine how we think about work and retirement.

What will it take?

A commitment to continuous learning, an ability to master new technologies and business skills, and a willingness to adapt to a changing marketplace is essential to success. The evolving nature of work suggests that freelancing will become an increasingly prevalent part of our employment landscape, offering people of all ages an alternative way to work and live.


[1] The Global Survey on Freelancing, A Collaboration of the Agile Talent Collaborative And the Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, 2021

See also my Wisepreneurs Podcast interview with Jon Younger