An increasing number of people across the world are working as freelancers or independent contractors. In the midst of a global economy that is slowing down, more workers are seeking opportunities in the gig economy. They are looking to become their own managers.
Understanding How Gig Economy Works
The gig economy can be understood as a free labor market where organizations hire independent contractors to work on specific tasks for a short duration. Independent contractors enter into agreements with the organization that require their services. The tasks are commonly known as gigs, hence the term gig economy. Gig workers include freelance writers, artists, consultants, rideshare drivers, grocery delivery people among others.
According to Upwork, a freelance platform, an estimated 57.3 million people are engaged in freelance work in the US alone. Gallup estimates that 36% of US workers are engaged in the gig economy through their primary or secondary jobs. Of those engaged in the gig economy, 44% say that it is their primary source of income.
As incomes fall and more people seek opportunities in the gig economy, they need to be adequately prepared to tap on the opportunities. Here are some essential skills needed to excel in the gig economy.
- Don’t Stop Learning
Just as it is said, when you stop learning, you stop growing. Thriving in the gig economy can be a challenge especially when one is starting out. You will meet other qualified individuals in the same workplace where you will need to be the best to get hired.
First, start by learning everything about the freelance platform you use, how everything works, how to maximize your earnings and so on. Secondly, you need to learn soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking, negotiation, problem-solving and emotional intelligence. Freelancers can log on to https://www.ecosecretariat.org/ and learn more about essential market skills in the gig economy. A combination of soft skills and technical skills will greatly improve your value, making your pitch more attractive.
Thirdly, learn everything about your industry or niche in the gig economy. You can do this by subscribing to journals, magazines, newsletters and publications.
- Build and Market Your Brand
When you apply for gigs or make a pitch, what do potential clients see in you? Why would they hire you? What is your value over the other independent contractors? Start building your brand by understanding what you are good at, a specific niche. Identify what your purpose and mission are and what you want to be known for. Clients will need to see you as the solution to their problems.
If you are unsure about your brand, try to identify the skills you are best at, then build your brand around them. You can incorporate this brand on your websites and even on social media. Ensure you stand out.
- Try Other Freelance Platforms
Think of casting your net wider. There are plenty of freelancer sites on the internet today. In most, the script is almost the same where you get hired for a gig. Trying other platforms will open you to more opportunities to learn and earn. The beauty of freelancing is that you can work for multiple clients.
You can have the same brand on several platforms.
- Become Tech Savvy
Freelancing relies on technology. From Uber to Upwork to Fiverr, all these brands have a robust technology infrastructure that powers their operations. Some gigs might require you to download and install software to work while others might require you to use advanced technology tools. Embracing and learning about technology is one of the best decisions for freelancers.
In the age where automation through AI is expected to run many tasks, the earlier you learn the better freelancer you become.
- Track Your Expenses
It is important to keep track of all your expenses as a gig worker. Freelancers sometimes lack a steady flow of revenue. Payments schedules might be erratic. Knowing and planning your finances will help you to manage expenditure. Also, planning your finances through a budget can help you remain afloat even when gigs are hard to come by.
- Adaptability Is Key
The freelancer landscape is ever-changing. New things keep emerging and the demands for each gig differs. Whenever change happens, embrace it and ride with the tide. If you remain rigid, chances are that you will be left behind.
Freelancing offers gig workers more freedom at work. With depressed economies and loss of employment, more people are looking to offer their skills as independent contractors. Despite the uncertainty that sometimes surrounds freelancing, the gig economy is proving to be a much-needed solution for many workers.