The gig economy has opened doors for almost anyone to enter the workforce. It’s expected to grow from $14 billion in 2014 to a $335 billion by 2025, with no signs of slowing. From ride sharing to coding, businesses and people exchange services and ideas in this new marketplace. Freelancing is not for everyone, but for those who thrive with flexibility and independence, the gig economy can be a dream come true for your career.

Some freelancers work independently, bidding on work or connecting directly with businesses or customers for side jobs, while others increasingly use platforms. Apps and websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr connect members with job posters. Gig searchers in some fields, such as freelance editing and coding, can even find remote and temporary work through traditional job boards such as Indeed and Craigslist.

Finding consistent work requires a lot of effort, at least initially. Since gigs are contract positions, freelancers need to build pipelines of work sources in order to stay busy. Those who are just looking for some extra money don’t have to be as diligent when it comes to structuring their work sources, but even part-time giggers can use pipeline management to funnel higher-quality (and better-paying) jobs their way.

Organization is the foundation

At a traditional job, workers usually focus on a few functions at most. Administrative tasks are handled by someone else. Paychecks show up on payday with taxes withheld. When you freelance, however, administrative tasks such as tax withholding fall on your shoulders. This requires management skills and prudent bookkeeping. Some freelancers find themselves in trouble when they file their taxes and find that they owe more than they expected. On the other hand, those who are new to running their own business may overlook valid deductible expenses. Because of the risk and complexity of running even a small gig-based business, most experts suggest consulting with an accountant. Resources and guidance are also available through the Small Business Association’s website.

Other skills necessary for success in the gig economy include:

  • Communication. From garnering new clients to updating existing ones on the status of work, a successful freelancer communicates clearly and frequently. Those who are reticent may have trouble building pipelines.
  • Estimating. When giving a bid for a job, you will be competing with others. If you overestimate, you will be undercut, but if you shoot too low, you will run the risk of losing money on the job.
  • Negotiation. Knowing your skills, your field, and the marketplace empowers you to confidently negotiate prices and terms.
  • Management. Every portion of the workflow is your responsibility as a freelancer. Even if you work through a company that provides structure, such as Uber or Lyft, it is still your responsibility alone to manage your business.

One place where management comes into play is in your choice of work environment. Many freelancers choose to work from home, with flexibility being one of the gig economy’s major draws. But flexible working does not equal lax work spaces. It’s crucial to your freelancing success to create a separate and professional home office setting.

Then, of course, a marketable skill is necessary. In-demand skills include:

  • Network analysis
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Cloud computing
  • SEO and marketing
  • Personal services
  • Driving and delivery
  • Customer support

The gig economy presents exciting opportunities for today’s workers. Flexibility and options mean that a dream career is in reach for those who have the skills and temperament to organize and self-start. As long as some simple tips are followed, freelancing can provide income and a rewarding career.

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Have you ever found yourself wondering why you do it every day? Getting up before dawn to sit in traffic for two hours, yawning through meetings in which you discuss other meetings, and catching flak from a supervisor who acts like your second-grade teacher. Fortunately, advances in computer technology and a more agile workforce have made it possible to escape the eight-to-five grind, with all of its frustrations and limitations. Today, you can work from home or take on short-term assignments for any number of employers, working when you want and where you want. The gig economy isn’t for everybody, but if you prefer to maintain control over your circumstances, it’s a dream come true. Getting started can be difficult, but a little creativity and a willingness to hustle can put you on the path to a rewarding career and the ability to pursue the kind of work you want to do.

On-demand services

If you’re looking for a niche that’s best-suited to your abilities and experience, you can get started in the gig economy in ways that allow you to get used to the routine while you earn. There are websites and apps that can connect you with on-demand services like Uber, TaskRabbit (for odd jobs), and Shipt to Shop (grocery delivery). Be advised that some of these easy-entry, on-demand services won’t make you rich, and some charge fees that will cut into your earnings. On the other hand, they’re a good way to start the freelance ball rolling and allow you to pay the bills as you search for work that’s just the right fit for you.

Job sites

The internet is rife with sites that connect you with employers who seek freelancers to perform a wide range of work. Upwork, Fiverr, and WorkMarket, for example, allow freelancers to post their services online, along with their experience and asking price. Such sites can be a great place to start for freelance writers, graphic artists, software designers, and others whose capabilities place them in high demand among many employers. They’re popular sites among human-resource personnel, who are often in a hurry to find qualified individuals to perform projects as needed.

Seasonal work

If you’re not sure when or how to work your way into the gig economy, consider starting with seasonal work. Many companies add people at busy times of the year, such as the holiday season. You can step in as a delivery driver, stocker, shipper, or order-entry specialist for a local employer or for a national company like UPS or FedEx. It may not be the kind of work you had in mind for the long term, but they might put you in contact with individuals who might need someone with your particular skills. For example, a company that needs temporary help managing their networks or with computer security could turn into an ongoing opportunity, or one you can return to periodically.

Do what you enjoy

One of the great things about the gig economy is the ability to create your own gig, to find a way to work at something you truly enjoy. For example, if you love dogs and have long wished you could make a living as a dog walker, the gig economy is ideal for you. If you have the facilities and love caring for animals, you could consider starting a pet-sitting service. There’s a growing number of pet owners who want someone to care for and provide companionship for their pets during the week. You can start out by advertising your service through local pet shelters and launching a website with information about how you work and what you offer. Whatever you choose to do, take advantage of the new freedom that the gig economy offers by doing something you enjoy.

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So you’re trying to live the American Dream and still find you’re searching for more? Maybe you’ve found your job is paying the bills, but not much more. Or maybe you just need to make some extra cash to save up for that vacation you’ve always wanted to take. You may even be financially responsible enough to want to start a “nest egg.”  Whatever the reason, you can find money-making solutions all around you as a result of our nation’s booming gig economy.

According to the a 2017 survey by Bankrate, 44 percent of Americans have a side gig, or a way to “rake in cash” over and above what they get paid in their primary job. The median income earned from side jobs was $200 a month among the most popular gigging group, the millennials. But the more aggressive hustlers, 25 percent of millennials, were able to push to a healthy $500 a month of supplemental income, which can definitely pay off a few bills or add some substantial savings.

So if you’re thinking about getting started in the gig economy, here’s a few tips to get you started.

Discuss It With Your Employer Ahead of Time

If you are having trouble managing your full-time job that provides the bulk of your income, now isn’t a good time to start working on a side gig. Take time to meet with your employer to discuss whether this is a good fit for both you and them. Make sure they see your work in good stead, as it’s best to keep your financial foundation solid before trying to focus on a side gig.  Remember, don’t consider taking on a side gig if you can’t stay fully committed to your primary job. And when choosing your side gig, try to determine if there is a way to make something you do in your side job benefit your full-time work. This will be a win-win.

Finding Something You Enjoy

When you’re thinking about a side job, consider finding something that complements your particular passions. Say, for example, you’re a dog lover. The perfect gig for you might be establishing a dog-walking or dog-sitting service. Find ways to make money while spending time doing things that bring you joy.

Determine Your Goals

The goal of a side gig might be performing work that complements your full-time job responsibilities. This will give you more experience and make you a more qualified and valuable employee. For others, searching for the highest-paying gig is the priority. Before you get started, make sure you have your future goals in mind.

Tap Into Energy Management

We’ve all heard about time management and know how important it is to our success on the job, but there’s also evidence that suggests energy management is equally important. According to Kimberly Palmer, author of “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life,” make sure to work on your side gig during peak energy times. For some folks, the early morning is when they are most focused, so plan on getting up early to attack your tasks. For night owls, the opposite is true. Be sure to tune in to when you’re most energized because this will allow for the highest-quality work.

She also suggests these tips for having a successful gig:

  1. Be organized.
  2. Be careful of start-up expenses.
  3. Listen to your customers.
  4. Expect business setbacks and find ways to learn from them.
  5. Be bold!

Picking the Right App or Site

The phone app stores are flooded with products to help you get started with your own gig business, as is the internet. Take the time to review several products before choosing what’s best for you.

So jump in and give it a go at a side gig that most interests you. It’s estimated that by 2027 freelancers will be the majority of the workforce. As corporations continue to outsource, families look to spend more time without the constraints of a nine-to-five job, and a growing desire for financial independence continues to grow. So go ahead and get started on your own side hustle today!

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Do you ever think about how Primitive Man faced every day? Did he sit in traffic on the same route, listening to the same radio show, and drinking the same coffee? Were his weeks filled with a repetitive routine that blurred the days together? Or did he face each new day and its challenges as they came, unsure about what exactly may come next?

Sure, a lot of people do great with the nine-to-five office park life. Routines can be comforting, as knowing what the day holds mellows out a person’s anxiety. However, for every person who loves the slow and steady, there is also a risk taker — a person who would face the fear of uncertainty rather than spend every lunch hour in front of the microwave watching their plastic-swaddled meal spin under the radiating heat.

What Is the Gig Economy?

“Gig economy” is a relatively recent term used to characterize the growing field of independent contractors offering their services to companies and people on a short-term basis. In the United States, freelancers work under 1099 forms that pay in full without withholding taxes. Freelancers are responsible for saving and paying their own federal and state income tax while also organizing their own life services typically provided as benefits for full-time employees — things such as retirement savings and insurance.

The more specialized the service, the more a freelancer works. For instance, a food delivery person in New York makes about $7.25 an hour. Meanwhile, highly skilled programmers can make an average $115 an hour. Gig workers can also charge more for more specialized services. For instance, a pet care specialist may charge more for pet sitting than a simple dog walking.

Freelancing has experienced an increase in the past years mostly thanks to websites and applications that connect skilled workers to the people who need them. The growth doesn’t appear to be slowing down, either. By 2021, 9.2 million Americans are expected to work in the gig economy. Businesses and brands can ride that wave of growth by adapting to this shift in the way people want to work.

  • Hiring gig workers and outsourcing work can help reduce overhead costs. If small enough, the contract fee of a freelancer can even be deducted as a regular business expense.
  • The contracts may be short-term, but your working relationships don’t have to be. The more you work with a person, the more effortless communication is. When you have a good working relationship with a gig worker, you receive better results.
  • Look for workers with multiple skill sets. If they end up being a good fit, you can turn to them for guaranteed results for other projects as well.
  • Delegate minor tasks to gig workers to free up your time for big-picture thinking. Even if you can do something on your own, you may be undervaluing your time if you actually do it.
  • Use a group chat service with integrated video chat to stay in communication with gig workers. Create a group chat room for questions and project comments all freelancers may benefit from.
  • Establish a standard onboarding procedure where you can introduce contract workers to company culture as well as operations expectations. Making sure these things are clear can help smooth rough transitions when starting out.

People like the idea of working in the gig economy because it provides balance between work and life. The rates of freelancers in the United States are only going up in the years to come. Smart companies will ride the wave of this increase by incorporating contract workers into their daily operations.

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If you’ve been paying attention lately, you may have noticed a lot of buzz about the gig economy. Maybe you have a friend who makes extra cash writing articles on the weekend, or you’ve found yourself in need of some flexibility in your workflow. Either way, you may be wondering how you can get a gig of your own. If you’re thinking of picking up a short-term side job or making freelance a permanent career move, here are six strategies to keep in mind.

Set Up a Schedule

Working for yourself can provide a lot of flexibility with your hours, but it’s still a good idea to set up a consistent schedule. No you don’t need to stick to the standard nine-to-five but do set aside dedicated work hours and stick to them. Using an app can help you stay focused and organized. If you don’t have enough projects to fill those hours, consider spending the time networking and looking for new gigs.

Prepare Your Finances

If you’re looking to pay off a few bills or make freelancing your full-time gig, you’ll need to take a good look at your finances. Tuck away some money into savings to get you through dry spells in your work, and think about talking to a financial advisor or accountant about your taxes. Freelancers often don’t realize what’s required of them in terms of the IRS, so do some research and avoid surprises come tax season.

Don’t Work for Free

If you’re just starting out, unpaid or volunteer positions may seem like the way to go, but this isn’t the best option. While taking on one or two unpaid side positions may help build experience, don’t be a volunteer for too long. You really don’t have to be an expert to make it in the gig economy, and you should know that your time is worth money. Don’t be afraid to ask for compensation for your work and don’t be persuaded to work for free.

Find Work You Enjoy

Gigs are a great way to make money doing the things you love, so try to find work that you actually like doing. All you need is a little experience and some passion to turn just about any activity into a profit. Love to drive and meet new people? Consider signing up with a rideshare service in your city. You can make a decent income while making new friends all day.

Set Aside Time for Socializing

One of the downsides to working for yourself is the lack of connection with coworkers. Strong social ties are important for overall mental health, so find ways to connect with other people. Look into shared workspaces and meetups around town that can help you get in some social time and networking all in one. If your freelance work has you on your laptop, get up and take your office to a local coffee shop or park, to get in a little people time.

Know What You’re Getting Into

Freelancing and gig work seem like it’s all writing on the beach, but it takes work. If this is your full-time gig and you need it to pay bills, you may find yourself working more than in a traditional job, especially at the beginning. It takes time and patience to market yourself and build up a portfolio or client list, so be prepared for these responsibilities. Even seasoned freelancers and gig workers have times when jobs are scarce, so make sure you can handle the highs and lows of being your own boss before you make this a full-time career.

Getting into your own gig can be a great way to earn extra income or create more flexibility in your career. With some planning and patience, you can find a gig that works for you and make it into a successful source of income and a wonderful way to build your self-confidence at the same time.

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