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We have the lowest unemployment rate since April 2000, and the rate continues to drop with no bottom in sight.
That’s terrific news for our economy!
However, this unprecedented growth isn’t coming from where much of the past growth has come from.
That would be unskilled factory jobs.
That’s because these kinds of jobs are very close to being completely eliminated by automation.
What’s really fueling this unprecedented expansion is the gig economy.
This is where instead of having one job for 30 years and then retiring, workers will do multiple projects for many different employers—and sometimes, all at the same time.
By doing this, they bypass the traditional career trajectory and in so doing, completely obliterate the restrictive expectations society has for them.
This allows them to craft a vision of their life that’s uniquely their own.
This is a seismic shift in the way people make a living, and a welcome change from everybody succumbing to stultifying conformity.
And the trend will continue to skyrocket, because by 2027, independent contractors will constitute the most significant workforce sector in the economy.
In the pre-digital age, you monetized your abilities by getting a traditional job.
But in the gig economy, the marketplace for your talents, abilities, and products you made with your own hands is a website or app such as TaskRabbit or Etsy.
The gig economy is leading to a new wave of small-scale entrepreneurship and business growth with incredible new opportunities.
In this brave new world, people who have a marketable skill to offer will connect with companies and individuals who desperately need these services.
It’s a dream come true for those who have a burning desire to be their own boss and crave tons of variety in their work.
It’s also for those who need the creative latitude to be able to work anywhere in the world.
Those who cannot transform their old habits will soon find themselves evolutionary relics of a time that’s rapidly fading away into the annals of history.
But for those who embrace the new way with every fiber of their being, there’s an entire universe of limitless opportunity just waiting for them!
Not Merely Bored Millennials
It’s easy to dismiss this unprecedented event merely as a bunch of bored millennials who are tired of working tedious 9-5 routines.
However, more people than just millennials are waving goodbye to their daily grinds and diving headlong into the gig economy.
That’s because this change is affecting every age group and demographic and is poised to be the dominant way people work in the future.
Even seniors are discovering the fulfillment of doing gig work as a second career after they retire from a conventional job!
Companies Can Hire Anywhere
A great advantage for companies to using gig economy platforms is that they’re not restricted to hiring people only in their own geographic region.
This frees them to hire freelancers from every corner of the planet, giving companies the flexibility of taking advantage of the very best talent for a project regardless of where in the world the freelancer is.
Employing people from diverse cultures gives a project a fresh perspective, which provides immeasurable benefits to a company.
All this change in the way we work has been made possible by technological breakthroughs that have given everyone the ability to remotely work no matter where you live.
The End of Traditional Employment
Traditional jobs aren’t as desirable as they once were, especially by younger workers who want great flexibility and a more vibrant quality of life.
Workers are using their gig economy work not just as a to make a little spending money but as a way to replace a traditional job.
This is a huge change that will have lasting repercussions for the next decade and beyond.
It wasn’t that long ago that people just graduating from college would go looking for conventional employment with set hours and regular pay periods.
But now, all that has changed.
Not only do today’s jobs require us to cultivate a different set of skills, but they also force us to redefine what a job really is.
For several years, we’ve been moving away from a world where people are employed by the same company until they retire.
In the new world, it’s considered normal for an individual to have multiple jobs at the same time.
All of this new way of doing things is rapidly breaking down barriers and allowing us to think beyond conventional employment options.
A Change in Traditional Hiring Practices
The double whammy of a looming recession and the rise of new, paradigm-busting digital platforms have made businesses change how they hire people.
These are companies looking to drastically reduce their labor costs by giving full-timers the heave-ho in favor of hiring short-termers to fulfill their immediate needs.
For many companies, gig workers are a cost-effective way to get short-term projects done.
That’s because they don’t have to sink expense into hiring long-term employees.
This means opportunities for 40 hours a week work are fast falling away, and more people than ever are combining a bunch of part-time jobs to make one full-time income.
Reasons to Work in the Gig Economy
There are compelling reasons to become an independent contractor that traditional employment can never hope to compete with.
Chief among these reasons is freedom.
This is freedom to choose the work you want to do and the freedom to choose the people you want to work with.
It’s also freedom to decide where in the world you want to work.
You can use also use gig work as an escape from a corporate hellhole that has a death grip on your soul.
If there is a shortage of full-time jobs in your profession or skill area, gig work might be perfect until you can find more permanent employment.
You might also use a gig economy job to supplement full-time employment that’s creatively fulfilling but doesn’t quite pay all the bills.
In this case, hiring yourself out as an independent contractor might give you the extra cash you’re looking for.
Other people love gig work because working for an endless stream of clients and projects staves off boredom.
Some do it because an easy way to break into a tough industry is getting hired for a temporary contract.
This gives you a chance to audition your skills for a potential long-term employer.
Other people love being an independent contractor because rather than impress a boss, they want to be the boss themselves.
You can also use gig work to achieve greater work-life balance because you, and not anyone else, decide how many hours you’re going to work.
This means you can work when you want to, and your time remains your own.
A Fantastic Side Benefit
Lots of people are tempted to become gig workers because they don’t want a job that strips them of their autonomy.
That’s because the ability to choose what kind of work you want to do, and when you want to do it, is a powerful benefit of working as a freelancer.
This is something that’s trumpeted by those who are actually gig workers.
People contemplating the gig worker life hear about this.
And, having been given a tantalizing glimpse of this exquisite freedom, those thinking of taking the plunge want this for themselves!
One of the most powerful effects of working in the gig economy is you’ll soon start seeing yourself as a more than a meaningless cog in the cold, unfeeling gears of the corporate machinery.
Developing the mindset where you’re supremely independent of any efforts to turn you into a mindless zombie is the first step on your journey to becoming an entrepreneur.
And it’s an incredibly life-changing mental adjustment.
This is a transcendent state of mind, and the only way you’ll truly be free.
You’re your own boss—an entrepreneur who’s using gig work as a stepping-stone to bigger and better things.
As an independent contractor doing a bewildering number of gigs, you’ll never get complacent.
That’s because you’ll never get the chance to settle deeply into the comforting cocoon of your comfort zone, where you’ll forget all your entrepreneurial aspirations.
Once you develop a powerful entrepreneurial mindset, it will be yours for the rest of your life, and the days of corporate overlords controlling you will be over forever.
So, before you start your own business, get some experience as a gig worker, because it can really hone your entrepreneurial spirit.
Making It Easier to Realize Your Entrepreneurial Dreams
More people than ever are becoming entrepreneurs because this gives them the ultimate control over their lives.
Gig economy platforms are often the first stop on the road to entrepreneurship for those who crave an alternative to the inflexibility of paycheck-driven employment.
Launching a small business immediately after World War II was incredibly easy because obstacles towards entrepreneurial success were obliterated.
But as the years went on, government overregulation put those obstacles back into place, and it became difficult once more to start a small business.
Platforms such as Upwork, Lyft, Uber, and FitnessTrainer help would-be entrepreneurs launch their own enterprises.
And now, it’s even easier to start a business than it was in the postwar years!
Doing business online isn’t new anymore, but because of these innovative platforms, the barriers to entry have never been lower.
More freelancers than ever are making over $100,000 a year because digital platforms make it incredibly easy to price your services.
It’s also easier to find individuals and companies who need what you can give them.
You Have the Solution to Your Prospects’ Problems
There are a zillion potential customers out there with needs only you can fulfill.
Make sure they know you are the answer to the problem they have.
When you do this, they’ll be as grateful for you as you are for them!
Dazzle Them With Your Portfolio
You’ll need a portfolio to showcase your work, which will help you stand head and shoulders above your competition.
Remember that agencies aren’t limited to local talent but get to choose star freelancers from all 196 countries that make up the planet.
That’s why you must have a robust portfolio of work you’ve done that knocked the socks off of previous clients.
You can put this on your own professional website, but there are also ways to add your projects to LinkedIn and Upwork.
Using Websites to Find Gigs
The first thing you’ll want to do when looking for jobs is to reach out to your network and let them know you’re an independent contractor now.
The best way to do this is on LinkedIn.
It’s more important than ever to use your LinkedIn connections to supercharge your career.
As time goes on, LinkedIn is becoming increasingly vital as a way for employers and independent contractors to connect with each other.
You can also check your industry association’s website for job leads.
Using Digital Platforms
Many companies find people to do temporary work by advertising through websites geared towards those looking for traditional employment such as LinkedIn or Indeed.
But for project-based work, companies use platforms dedicated to helping freelancers find jobs, such as Upwork.
And for jobs that are more casual in nature such as household chores, they’ll use a website like TaskRabbit.
Cloud-based communications have dramatically improved in quality these past few years.
That has made it easier for digital platforms to arise.
Some of these platforms exist only to generate leads.
Others give you the whole enchilada, including payment processing and billing.
Use local networking groups to meet other entrepreneurs.
Who knows—you might find somebody you want to team up with for a project!
Your Personal Website and Social Media
In addition to using digital platforms and websites like LinkedIn to generate leads, you should also set up a professional website.
List the services you offer on this website, but also include a portfolio section.
Link your social media accounts too, because you need all the help you can get to start getting some high-paying gigs.
The more you grow your social media presence, the greater your entrepreneurial reach will be.
Gig Work as a Side Hustle
Some people are afraid of the risks inherent in becoming a gig economy entrepreneur.
If you want a low-risk way to pursue this dream, do it on the side while you’re working a traditional job.
And after you think you’re ready for prime time, you can dive headlong into full-time gig work.
Carve Out Your Niche
To be successful as a gig worker, you’ve got to find your niche.
This is something you enjoy doing, you’re good at, and other people will hire you for.
Ask yourself, “What highly marketable skills do I have?”
If you don’t have any, figure out how you can acquire some.
The Importance of Discipline
It’s easy to become part of the gig economy.
But be prepared for some pretty ruthless competition once you dip a toe in the water.
This means you’re going to have to work super hard to stay ahead of your competitors.
To do this, exercise a little discipline by setting and adhering to a highly structured work schedule every single day.
Without a schedule, it’s easy to succumb to a myriad of temptations that will waste your time, and your magnificent entrepreneurial ambitions will go up in smoke.
SCORE Some Resources
To make a lot of money as an entrepreneur in the gig economy, you’re going to have to know the intricacies of running a business.
These include things like knowing what the tax regulations are so that you don’t get into any kind of legal trouble.
Also, how you should charge for your services and how much to charge.
For some excellent resources to help you set up a thriving business, turn to SCORE.
It’s a nonprofit advisory service run by the US Small Business Administration.
They have 300 local chapters that will teach things like mastering QuickBooks, financing your business, and creating a marketing plan.
They also offer individual mentoring sessions both in person as well as online.
If you join your local chapter, you’ll meet other freelancers with whom you can exchange leads and tips.
Another organization that can help you accelerate your entrepreneurial ambitions is the Freelancer’s Union.
They offer a variety of affordable retirement plans and health insurance options for independent contractors.
However, they don’t offer these plans in every state.
If these plans aren’t available to you, you can still use it to do some old-fashioned networking with other freelancers.
They also have a plethora of free resources at their website, including a contract template, an FAQ on health insurance, and a healthy tax habits checklist.
You really should check them out!
When you’re an independent contractor, you’ll have to be comfortable with financial uncertainty because you won’t have a steady income.
If you find that the insecurity of an irregular income flow is too stressful, then working in the gig economy isn’t for you.
Some weeks, you’ll have long-term projects that will bring in a lot of cash.
Other weeks, you might not have any work at all.
This means to survive the financial rollercoaster that’s gig work, you’re going to have to learn to be really disciplined with money.
Figuring Out What to Charge
You’re going to have to set some prices for your services so you can get fairly paid for your efforts.
Keep your rates competitive in the beginning as you work to establish your reputation by amassing a stellar portfolio.
Making Sure You Get Paid
One of the most nerve-wracking parts of being a freelancer is trying to collect payment for services rendered.
To make it a little easier, use digital payment platforms such as Venmo.
These peer-to-peer apps don’t charge fees and make collecting your money fast and easy.
However, sometimes you need more than just an app to make sure you get paid.
That’s because when you depend on the money you charge clients to pay your bills, clients not paying on time is a HUGE risk.
If you work with a platform that has built-in payment functionality such as Upwork, this risk is eliminated.
This should help alleviate worry so you can focus all your mental energy on growing your business.
Becoming A Marketing Maniac
One of the biggest reasons for the failures of would-be entrepreneurs is they didn’t put enough energy into marketing.
As a gig worker, you’re going to have to learn how to market yourself incessantly day in and day out.
This means you’ll have to set aside time every day to line up new clients, so you never run out of them.
You can do some cold-emailing or generate leads in ways already mentioned in this article.
Just don’t give up—remember that it’s a numbers game, and to win, you’ll need to be a marketing juggernaut with the indefatigable energy of the t-1000, the liquid metal man from Terminator 2.
He never gave up, despite Arnold trying to destroy him in innumerable ways.
You need to be just as tenacious as him!
These days, people crave more options when it comes to their careers.
They want a more flexible way to make a living and the ability to take charge of their careers in a way that was never possible in the traditional world.
Enter the wonderful world of the gig economy.
In this world, there is no limit to what you can do.
This is SO much different from traditional work, where there are so many constraints placed upon you, and the career heights you can ascend to are severely curtailed.
Revel in your entrepreneurial freedom by being location independent.
Of course, you can always work from home.
But you’re also free to pack up your bags and work from anywhere on earth.
With gig work, there are ZERO geographic boundaries because everything you do can be done remotely.
So, if you live on Sabula Island, Iowa, and a guy in Manhattan wants you to write landing pages, you’re free to do so.
Working in the gig economy lets you create a lifestyle for yourself that combines travel, exciting adventures, and the excitement of totally immersing yourself in exotic cultures.
Making valuable new connections in faraway places has never been easier!
If you use gig work as a launchpad for your entrepreneurial dreams, you’ll be infused with a greater sense of possibility and be inspired to go after everything you’ve ever wanted.
So, get out there and blaze across the heavens and become the crazily successful entrepreneur you always knew you could be!