Working as a paid senior caregiver is a meaningful and rewarding experience for many. However, in the long run, putting out energy to care for the elderly can take a toll on your mental health. That’s certainly true for family caregivers, and it is just as true for those who provide caregiving services for pay.
Even though home-health aides provide essential services for seniors, the pay has never been great. (According to Senior Care, a site that connects caregivers with those who need care, the pay scale for aides ranges from $8 an hour in Louisiana to $22 an hour in Alaska.) If you’re a senior caregiver, then every payday, you face the problem of low wages. The home-healthcare industry typically undervalues your contributions.
This article can help you balance the work you are doing now with your aspirations for the future. Below we’ll discuss side-gigs to provide short-term income. More than a hobby, these can also lead to long-term careers.
Side-Gigs with Flexibility and Good Pay
Flexible hours and a steady flow of income are two things to look for when you’re thinking about side-gigs. Here are three options that perfectly fit the bill.
- Virtual Assistant
- Freelance Writing
- Virtual babysitting
All three have the benefit of being able to fit into your current schedule. You can try them out, or mix and match, to see which one’s right for you. The other good thing is that you can earn more money without going back to school.
As a VA, you will provide online services to a business person. Your job responsibilities will cover scheduling meetings, making travel arrangements, screening calls, filing, and other administrative tasks. You’ll need a computer, but you will work remotely. Good VAs have the skills of time management, communication, attention to detail, and quick decision-making. A big plus in this line of work is having good people skills. Since caregivers spend their days multi-tasking, they’re already good at juggling competing demands. Often, people who hire VAs only require a few hours of work a week, and this can be scheduled at your convenience.
If you want to leverage your experience as a senior caregiver, becoming a freelance health writer is a viable option. Being a niche writer increases the chances of demanding higher pay. Your clients can include major healthcare companies, nursing homes, health magazines, websites that specialize in health care, or marketing agencies. As a writer, you’ll be tasked with writing how-to guides, research articles, news pieces, and more. To get a glimpse of job opportunities for freelancers, take a look at Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers’ newsletter.
For those wanting to stick to caregiving, becoming a babysitter will provide a much-needed change. Babysitting used to mean showing up in person. But that’s not the only kind of babysitting you can do. Parents hire virtual babysitters to keep kids entertained. As reported by the Business Insider, virtual babysitting is on the rise, with pay rates as high as $48/hour. When applying for a job, your experience as a senior caregiver will give you a competitive edge. Maybe you can turn this into a lucrative side-gig.
The best place to find gigs for any of these positions are online freelancing platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Thumbtack. Upwork and Fiverr are the best places to find side-gigs as personal assistants or as freelance writers. Thumbtack is a great place to post your services for local babysitting jobs. However, you can also apply for sitting gigs online.
If you don’t have a clue what virtual babysitting involves, then check out SitterCity. They’ll give you a rundown on what it takes to find work as a virtual babysitter. In addition, here are some examples of how virtual babysitters advertise their services. Additionally, it’s always beneficial to spread the word in your network. Ask for references. Recommendations can help you get your foot in the door. If you check out ZipRecruiter, you’ll see that many virtual babysitting jobs last for just a few hours. This means you can fit these jobs around your day job.
Turning Side-Gigs into a Business
For inspiration and to see what’s possible, take a look at these powerful stories on ConvertKit. (ConvertKit is the program I use to manage my email list.) These are people who turned their side-gigs into a career.
Meet Glo Atanmo. She figured out how to turn her travel side-gig into a full-time career–and all while defying her parents’ expectations that she become a doctor!
Or, read about how parenting blogger, Nina Garcia, a mom with twins and a day job, found a way to turn her blog into a full-time income stream.
In both of the above cases, a side-hustle turned into a way to earn money. However, even more important, these side-gigs eventually led to careers that matched the passions of their creators.
Paying the Bills
For most of us, doing what we love sounds unrealistic. We have to pay the bills. We need to feed ourselves. But, maybe we’re selling ourselves short.
I love how Oprah Winfrey talks about how we can move from doing what doesn’t feel right to doing what does feel right. That path could begin with a side-gig.
Sell Your Services as a Business
When you’re starting a side-gig, you’re essentially setting up a little business. Most of us don’t have a clue what that involves. However, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Here’s how to get started.
Establish an LLC. A limited liability company will protect you from all business-related risks and debts. Setting one up costs less than you might think. LegalZoom charges $79 plus filing fees to get your company registered.
Hire an Accountant. Come tax season, work with an accountant to pay your dues. As an LLC, you’ll be eligible for various tax breaks which your accountant will help calculate.
Work With a Contract. You don’t want to get stiffed for work you’ve done. Before starting any gig, enter into a contract that spells out the project’s duration, compensation, renewal options, and more. If your client refuses to pay for work you’ve agreed to do, you may have to take them to small claims court. To succeed, you’ll need to show a contract. Here’s a simple work-for-hire agreement that’s free to download.
Use Invoicing Software: Using invoicing software will ensure that people pay you on time. To create a professional-looking design, use an invoice template. You can easily be customize it to include your business logo and brand colors. If you don’t have a logo, then check out LogoDesign.net. You may also want to set up a Paypal account so that you can easily get paid. Paypal has an invoice template that’s good for freelancers.
Promote Your Services
While ripe with opportunities, the freelance market is competitive. On the other hand, people looking to hire gig workers will be good for repeat business, and they will recommend you to their friends. Here are a few cost-effective ways to promote your services and land clients:
Create a Website. In addition to giving your business credibility, a website is a platform where you can pitch services, educate customers about your business, and make sales.
Make a Google Business Profile. Creating a Google profile will automatically make your business pop up on search listings and Google maps. This is a great way to reach a local audience and build a customer base.
Take Advantage of Social Media. Rather than just using social media to stay in touch with friends, take the time to post daily content on all prominent social media channels regarding your business. Developing a strong social presence will increase your business’s visibility and make it easier to secure gigs.
Benefits of a Side-Gig
If you feel caregiving is your passion, the extra income can be used toward nursing or medical school and earning a degree in healthcare. But, if it turns out that senior care feels like a dead end, then it’s time to think about what else you might do with your life. Side-gigs have a number of benefits:
- You may discover an outlet for your passions and hobbies.
- Side-gigs can lead to better job opportunities.
- The people who employ you can teach you new skills.
As a senior caregiver looking for side-gigs, you have a lot of options. Choose side-gigs that fit your skills and time constraints. A side-gig can give you ready cash in the short term, or it can lead to a life that’s more meaningful and financially rewarding.