The Gig Economy Can Work for You if You Work it Right

Charlie Jackman By Charlie Jackman - October 23rd, 2017
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The Gig Economy Can Work for You if You Work it Right

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The gig economy is here and it’s real. It’s the latest incarnation of a centuries-old work model where people don’t have just one job. They hustle every day to make ends meet in a variety of short-term jobs. While some folks get lost in the lack of support and benefits from employers, others get a sense of satisfaction, time independence and financial success by learning and working the system to their advantage.


If you’re considering venturing out into the gig economy, you gotta ask yourself a few questions first, then make sure you know the answers. Because in the gig economy, there’s nobody to pull you out of a mess.


What is the Gig Economy?


Today’s gig economy is an international phenomenon that was enabled by the Internet. Online, people are judged more by the results they achieve than by their degrees and personalities. And with advances in communications, payment systems, people and project management systems, and cheap computing resources, the gig economy is not overly expensive to join.


Why did the gig economy come about? Because, in the wake of the Great Recession, there’s no longer a belief in the workplace that companies will provide 30 years and a pension. Now, jobs are harder to find, they’re being outsourced and obsoleted. Individuals and families are forced to fend for themselves.


To find work, freelancers and others go to sites like Lyft, Upwork and FitnessTrainer.com. Here, it’s cloud platforms that provide ready access to jobs. Independent workers try to find jobs that they’re interested in and good at, or at least jobs that they can complete to build up their reviews and experience.


How Can the Gig Economy Help Me?


If you have specialized skills, solid expertise, or in-demand experience, the gig economy can work well for you. If you have strong technical, management, leadership, or creative abilities, you can take advantage of a working life that incorporates flexibility, autonomy, and meaning.


Let’s say you’re freshly laid off and struggling to get into the job-hunt mode. You’re reading all the resume and LinkedIN books you can find. You’re trying to figure out unemployment and hoping that your car loan people will cut you some slack. And you suddenly realize that you’re hungry but your old eating habits were far too expensive.


You need a quick income now.


The gig economy can help you. In a matter of hours you can create profiles on the top gig sites, start applying for quick jobs and projects, and get some income rolling in. You can even drive for Lyft or Uber.


How Can the Gig Economy Hurt Me?


But if you’re not careful it’s easy to be taken advantage of. You need to identify the basic income that you require to survive and live a normal lifestyle. Only you can figure this out.


You’re probably not going to get benefits.


And even if you do establish your true value, if you’re not careful it’s easy to get caught in the underpaid rut.


You might also get tricked into something that’s not freelancing, but is actually multi-level marketing. So don’t go buying something if someone tells you it’s required for the job. Be VERY careful if this comes up.


Of course, you might just get really damn lonely.


How Can I Take Advantage of the Gig Economy?


If you’ve had 35 years of corporate crap and you’re just sick of it, the gig economy may give you opportunities to find your internal entrepreneur.


And for women with kids and other demands, freelancing can provide flexibility that a regular job just can’t.


You need to understand the value of your skills and knowledge. And be willing to deepdive into a project, understand what’s really needed, and negotiate a better rate or payment model.


This might be a great way to build a portfolio, build a clientele and a full-fledged business. Or it may be a way to make ends meet while you work full-time during the day.


How Do I Get Started in the Gig Economy?


There are numerous services, apps and websites that you’ll need to succeed in the gig economy. One easy way to get started in the gig economy is on Relayo, a website with a direct communications model between people who have problems they need solved, and experts with answers. If you’re new to freelancing, Relayo provides a great way to test the waters of working with clients. You’ll build ratings, reputation and a portfolio of work. You might even make a few friends along the way.