The gig economy has been growing at a rate never seen before in history. There are several possible reasons for this, from fear of another great depression and the unemployment that generally follows such financial cataclysms, and the desire to work for oneself rather than a corporate boss. Then there’s growing technology, including software and industrial automation robbing blue collar workers of the comfortable suburban dream baby-boomers and Gen-Xers were raised with.
The gig economy is the new reality, particularly for most reading this. The ability to work from anywhere and to offer any service you can manage to do for “XX” number of hours a week has a strong appeal, considering it now makes up around 30% of the American workforce currently. McKinsey estimates that figure to rise to a staggering 45% as early as 2020!
A 2016 found that most giggers are new to the game, with over half the people polled having only been in the game for less than two years. The majority of millennials engage in their gigs with the hope of making it a full-time reality.
1. Figure out how much time you have to develop to gigging.
Part time or full? Weekends only, or do you have time throughout the week after your day job? Maybe your back is against the wall and you need a gig Santa needs his reindeer on Christmas eve? Settle on how much time you have to give to your new venture — including any training you might need and time needed to prospect for gigs.
2. Write down your skills — go deep inside your head.
What do you really want to do with your extra time? Are you gigging toward a future full time business idea, or just want to make some extra cheddar to support yourself and/or family with? Start by writing down what you like to do — and what you’re really good at (hey, sometimes we’re good at things we don’t like to do, but money’s money, right?) You’re probably great at a lot more skills than you think. If you don’t have very many specialized skills, consider sites like TaskRabbit or Uber/Lyft for more generic gigs.
3. Don’t dive in the deep end.
While you want to dig deep inside to figure out what gigs you’re most suited for, you don’t want to get caught up in scams or low-level gigs that leave you feeling worthless at the end of the day. Research the ins and outs of the gig or gigs you’re considering, figure out where best to get the clients you’re looking for — online or off. Don’t get settled on the first opportunity or three that comes up, either. Resolve to reach higher and higher, for better work experiences and compensation.
4. Refine your “just enough” worker’s mindset.
If you’ve skated by in previous J.O.B.S, you need to get rid of the idea that you can do just enough to get the job done. Whether you’re working as an Uber driver, or online marketing expert, clients aren’t bound by the same employment laws that your old employers are. If you don’t deliver your best each time out, they’ll move on to the next gigger and you’ll be left scrambling to replace them — with a bad reputation following you wherever you go!
5. Don’t be afraid to quit!
Don’t be afraid to quit doing a certain gig if you don’t like it. When I started out gigging (before it was even a thing) back in 2009, I tried lots of stuff to make money, including setting up WordPress sites for wannabe AdSense millionaires, churning out up to 10 installs a day, complete with posting content on all of them! Man, it didn’t pay well, since there was no guaranteed ROI for the person paying me, they couldn’t afford to pay much for the service either. Even if it was hundreds a day, I can’t think of a number ($$$) that would make me go back to doing that!
Don’t be afraid to quit your J.O.B. either! I don’t care what anyone says about security and all that. Sometimes, having your back up against the wall and being forced to look for something more fulfilling is way better than sitting in a cubicle breaking your back just so you can afford to pay this month’s Netflix bill just isn’t worth it.
Yesterday already happened,
Today is here,
Tomorrow holds no guarantees.
Main Image Credit: Carerofeola/Flickr