Getting Started in the Gig Economy
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Are you tired of clocking in and out of your job every day? Do you long for the freedom to work around your own schedule? The freedom the gig economy provides helps millions of people work on their time while making enough money to support their dreams. However, working through the gig economy isn’t for everybody. It takes resources, dedication and discipline. Read on to help determine if finding a job as a freelancer is right for you.
What Is the Gig Economy?
First of all, what even is the “gig economy?” This is a modern term we use to define a workforce where organizations contract independent workers for short-term working engagements. Oftentimes these workers find their “gigs” through technological platforms that help connect freelancers with people or companies that are looking for temporary help. Predictions estimate that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers will be freelance, independent contractors. Popular gig economy websites include:
- Closet Collective
- Amazon Flex
Freelancing has its benefits. It allows people to work from wherever they are without having to adhere to a regular office schedule or regulations. However, there are definite drawbacks to working a gig. Freelancers have to be in charge of things other companies outsource to human resources departments.
If you want things such as health insurance and a retirement package, you will have to do the research and invest in them yourself. Furthermore, independent contractors in the United States work through 1099 contracts, meaning they get paid in full, and state and federal taxes are not withheld. When working as a freelancer, it is important to set aside money for tax payments while also tracking business-related expenses for deductions.
Getting Started with Gigs: Resources, Dedication and Discipline
Deciding what kind of freelancer you want to be depends on the resources you have. Resources refer to both the things you own and services you provide. If you don’t have a car or a driver’s license, you can’t drive for a rideshare company. The same thing goes for freelance work such as copywriting — if you don’t have the technology to connect with people online or the writing skills to do the task, there’s not much chance for you in that field. To decide what kind of gig is right for you, do a self-assessment of your assets to determine what works best for you.
Beyond your resources, you have to have dedication and discipline. Without a boss breathing down your neck, there is no one to hold you accountable for completing your work. If you want to freelance, you have to be a self-starter who sees your projects through. If you don’t manage your time effectively, you will end up disappointing your clients and failing to get hired again. Furthermore, you won’t make enough cash to make your living as a freelancer.
Tips for Freelancers
So you’ve determined your best route for gigs and you are ready to get going — great! Set yourself up for success with these helpful tips:
- Set up a space where you live for a home office. Even if your gigs take you out of the house, you need a space where you can organize your documents and schedule. Make sure you have your wiring and communication needs met in this area and personalize it with custom chairs, desks and other furniture. Establish rules in your home office that provide structure and discipline in your working area separate from the relaxation and fun you have in the rest of the house.
- Connect with other freelancers. Not only can they provide you with helpful tips and social support, they may be able to connect you with other clients in need of your services.
- Don’t neglect your branding. Any time you advertise your services, you should stick to a particular set of visual rules that will create a visual imprint in a potential client’s mind.
The gig economy provides freedom and flexibility to work on your own schedule, but there are drawbacks as well. Budgeting for insurance, retirement and taxes are just a few of the responsibilities a freelancer has to do on their own. However, if you have the resources, dedication and discipline, there is nothing stopping you from pursuing a career yo