After 35 years of teaching English to schoolkids, 64-year-old retiree Michele Collins decided she wasn’t quite ready to give it all up – but definitely needed a change of pace.
“I was just glad to get away from kids! I can’t stand them anymore after 35 years of teaching,” Collins told Yahoo Finance.
“But I still enjoyed teaching and learning, and I’m used to being on the computer because I’ve got an IT background,” she said.
Collins began taking online courses on popular platform Udemy three years after she retired, and eventually found a course on the site about how to be a successful freelancer on freelance platform, Fiverr.
“I knew Fiverr existed, but I didn’t know it was so vast and there were so many things you could do,” she said.
The platform is an online marketplace for freelancers, where punters can post their services for a fee and businesses or other customers can purchase those services.
“I went over to the site and thought about the types of gigs I could do with my skill set - and there’s a lot of things you can do to make money.”
With her English and IT background, Collins decided to set up a few proof-reading, editing and transcription gigs, which eventually took off.
“It took a little while to get started and get people to buy things, but somebody picked up my gig, made an order and left a good review, and it just went from there,” she said.
To set her price, Collins looked at what others doing similar gigs were charging.
Her prices for proofreading and editing start from $7.33 per 3,000 words, and $7.33 for 10 minutes of transcribing.
Now, five years later, Collins has completed more than 6,400 orders for businesses and consumers around the world, earning up to $3,000 each month.
It’s come at a good time, too, with two-thirds of retirees concerned about their income in retirement as a result of the pandemic, and almost half of them not confident about their financial security over the next five years.
Many retirees have even been forced to cut back on necessities like clothes and food expenses as a result of the pandemic.
“It’s been very good to me,” Collins said.
“Now I go out when I like, work a few hours, do something else, maybe research a few money-making schemes, walk the dog - it’s a really good way to make some money.”
Her advice for others?
“You really just have to find your niche and develop it and work at it consistently, and try to weather the disappointment from the slowness at times,” she said.
And most importantly, do the research.
“You have to have some sort of technical skills to be doing this, because you’re operating on a website,” she said. “So try and teach yourself that first.”
“Then just go to Google - type in freelancing into Google and you’ll get a whole lot of information about what it is and what things you could do, what sites you could try.
“Everyone’s got a skill that somebody wants.”
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