Gig work is a great option for many: students right out of college, people in between full-time work, or anybody who wants to take ownership of their work schedules.
If you’re the type of person who cringes at the thought of sitting in a cubicle day in and day out, would like to earn extra cash (even in addition to keeping your full-time job), or craves the freedom to pursue creative passions (but still pay your bills), then it may be time to take a look at gig work. The best news? It’s easier than you may think.
The gig economy is attractive to both employers and workers. For employers, it’s a quick solution to fill the talent gap without long-term commitments. For workers, it’s a flexible way to choose meaningful assignments that showcase talent and align with their interests. The versatility that comes along with the gig economy drives the gig work fervor and is one of the reasons that the demand for gig work continues to explode. Last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 55 million people in the U.S. are “gig workers.” That’s more than 35% of the U.S. workforce. The number of people working side jobs is projected to jump from 3.9 million Americans in 2016 to 9.2 million by 2021.
There are different ways to get started in the gig economy that can help pave the path to success. None of them are too difficult, and with just a little coaching you can be highly successful with gig work.
Do What You Love
Identify what you do well and what you enjoy doing. Business News Daily says that a job that you love gives you extra motivation to meet your goals, and when you do, the sense of accomplishment is outstanding. Search for opportunities that meet those criteria and you’re bound to succeed. When you do what you love, it can inspire other people, bring passion to your performance, carry that excitement to other areas of your life, and even make work fun. Why waste your time (and life) on something you don’t enjoy?
Some gigs may be very brief, such as shoveling snow for a resort in the morning! Others can be longer-term, such as a six-week gig working the front desk at a hotel. When one gig is over and you want to find additional gig work as fast and as easily as possible, take advantage of the power and flexibility of mobile apps. A good mobile app will match your qualifications to the needs of employees and make picking up a shift is as easy as clicking “apply” on the screen.
With gig work, you decide when and where you want to work. You don’t have to adhere to stuffy rules that affront your sensibilities or expose yourself to a work environment that causes you unnecessary stress. Instead, you decide if you want to work indoors or outdoors, flex your physical or mental muscles, or skip work for the day and go skiing. But with that freedom, comes a certain amount of discipline if you want to succeed. Without a set schedule, it’s up to you to organize your time, schedule, and daily activities. If organization isn’t your strong suit, make sure to use a calendar and time management program. There’s plenty of free options to choose from and LifeHack does a good job of comparing and reviewing the top fifteen scheduling programs. Then select a gig app (like Gigworx!) that sends new opportunities with local companies matching your skill set, interests and availability, right to your phone. It can’t get easier than that!
Up-level Your Skills
How can you stand out in a competitive job market? Stay relevant. Gig work is great in the sense that you are constantly learning new skills, getting experience in new industries and polishing existing skills. Whether or not you’re hoping to land a full-time job or not, gig work is a great way to test-drive career options to see if you like the company, the people and the work. Here’s a true story: a college student worked part-time in a gourmet cheese shop on nights and weekends while earning his accountant degree. When he went out to lunch with a prospective employer during a job interview, he impressed the interviewing manager with his vast knowledge of cheeses displayed on the menu. Did he get the job? He did. But he still works part-time at the cheese shop because it’s his passion.
Surviving in the gig economy is easy, but succeeding expectations requires some thoughtful planning and dedication. If you want to succeed, make sure you do what you love, embrace technology to find new gig work and track time, and make sure to continually learn relevant skills. The most successful gigsters are those who look for new opportunities and cultivate business relationships – and that could be you!