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.

Photo credit: Pexels

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