If you keep hearing about the “gig economy” but are not completely sure what it means, no worries. In a nutshell, this term refers to short-term work experiences. Rather than traditional careers where you stay with the same company for decades, the gig economy involves taking on freelance jobs that last for a project or two, contract work and more. Gigs will vary in length and involvement and may be one-shot jobs with a company or on-going work that does not require you to become part of the regular staff.
For many people, the gig economy allows them to make extra money on the side, and/or enjoy a flexible job situation that they can work around their family and other responsibilities.
If this type of work sounds appealing and you are hoping to become a part of it, the following tips can help you to not only survive, but thrive in the gig economy:
Consider Your Skills
Just like you probably wouldn’t apply for traditional 9-to-5 jobs that are out of your skill set, the same is true for positions in the gig economy. In order to get started, have an honest talk with yourself about what you can do to make money. For instance, if you have a knack for creating websites, you might find freelance work as a site designer. Love to write? Then reach out to community papers to see if they ever hire freelancers. Or, if you have always fancied yourself as an entrepreneur, you should be able to find plenty of ways to stretch your business-ownership wings.
For example, if you have the right mindset and are organized, you might find that direct sales through an established company like Amway would be a good fit. You can set up your own company as an Independent Business Owner (IBO) and make money either on the side or as your main gig, for as long as you’d like. If you have heard those “Amway is a scam” rumors and are concerned that it’s some type of MLM or pyramid scheme, please know this is completely untrue. It’s a reputable company that pays its IBOs when they sell company products to others, and does not require that you recruit others or do anything shady.
Get Ready to Network
Networking is not just for those who have traditional careers; in fact, you might argue that those in the gig economy need it even more. When you network, you can not only meet others who share a similar appreciation for the world of freelancing, you can also potentially get connected to additional work. For instance, if you are a talented baker who is taking on jobs helping catering companies with weddings and parties, attending industry-related events will help you to get to know other business owners who may also need occasional help from gig bakers. If you are on the introverted side you can still benefit from networking by making sure you have an updated LinkedIn account—busy business owners often search this site for freelancers who are looking for gigs, and you can also reach out to others as well.
Get Ready to Hustle
Another way to make it in the gig economy is to realize, and prepare for, the fact that there will be lean weeks—and months when the work is flowing in. While you can often earn a great income doing freelance work, it can take time for you to establish a group of steady clients and jobs. You have to be mentally and fiscally prepared for times when the work has dried up, and if you are not listed on someone else’s health insurance plan, you will have to provide your own health insurance coverage. In order to earn enough money to pay your bills, you will have to be ready to hustle; this may mean taking on some lower-paying gigs than you would prefer, just to bring in the cash. It can also mean burning the midnight oil and working weekends and holidays at times. Again, the goal is to find employers who can give you steady and predictable freelance work, but especially at first, you should hit the ground running and put out multiple feelers for gigs.
The Gig is Good
While the gig economy may not be for everyone, if it sounds appealing for you, by all means go for it. Just keep in mind that you will have to take some tangible steps to survive in the world of freelancing; once you assess your skills, do some networking and are ready to put your nose to the grindstone, you should find the gig economy is a great place to earn a good income.