Goodbye Job: Welcome to the Gig Economy
If you’re ready to tell your boss to hit the road so you can work on your own terms, you’re not alone. The number of freelancers is rising steadily, and a study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40% of American workers would be independent contractors.
Are you ready for the opportunities and challenges offered by the gig economy?
The Forces Behind the Gig Economy
The increase in freelance work compared to traditional full-time jobs has been pushed forward by a number of different factors.
First, millennials now make up 34% of the American workforce, and by 2020 they are expected to make up 46% of the workforce. Millennials are well known for being job-hoppers. The reason they change jobs so often is that they truly want something different from their jobs. Their priorities are:
- Opportunities to learn and grow
- High-quality leadership in the workplace
- Work they are interested in doing
In essence, the generation that will soon become the majority of the workforce isn’t interested in the traditional “work hard at whatever is available for 40 years and then retire” model of work that previous generations have held.
The second factor behind the gig economy is the swift digitization of the modern world, which decreases the number of jobs humans are needed to do. Because software can do so much, people are being quickly pushed out of full-time jobs. Instead, human input is needed intermittently – a perfect setup for a freelance gig.
Finally, there are economic pressures that are causing businesses to reduce staff, reduce benefits, and favor hiring those who have a smaller impact on the business’ bottom line. There are no longer significant rewards to being a long-tenured worker at most companies. At the same time, organizations are beginning to favor hiring consultants and outsourcing to freelancers as a way to control costs.
The Pros and Cons of Being a Gig Worker
There are definitely benefits to being a freelancer or “gig worker”. However, there are some significant drawbacks that need to be considered as well.
Pros of Freelance Work:
- Working when and how you want is one of the major benefits of being a freelancer. You can adapt your work to your life rather than the other way around.
- When you work a lot of gigs rather than one job, you get a chance to learn about a variety of topics and do many different types of work.
- Work You Love. When you do freelance work, you can choose projects you are passionate about rather than being assigned work by a boss.
Cons of Freelance Work:
- If you aren’t clear on your strengths and don’t know how to market yourself to those looking for freelancers, you can have a hard time keeping consistent work.
- If you aren’t naturally self-disciplined, you will struggle with the degree of freedom freelancing gives. It’s easy to procrastinate endlessly if someone isn’t watching over your shoulder.
- No Benefits. Some professional level workers who are used to receiving company-assisted benefits like health insurance and life insurance will struggle with having to secure these coverages on their own.
Are You Ready for the Gig Economy?
Changes have a way of happening whether we want them to or not. Our best option is to be fully aware of what’s going on and prepare ourselves in advance.
So, are you ready for the gig economy? Are you ready to do the hard work of discovering your gifts, standing out from the pack, and marketing skills, knowing that you will be able to control your own destiny if you do?
The first step to preparing for the gig economy is to do a comprehensive assessment of your skills and passions. What do you love and what are you great at? Where do those two come together?
Secondly, it’s important to decide how you can contribute to others. Not everything we’re in love with and great at is a marketable skill. Consider where your skilled passions overlap with other people’s actual needs.
Third, it’s time to stand out. Do some research on others who work in the area you are considering. How do they present themselves? What unique qualities do you have that are currently lacking in the marketplace?
Finally, it’s time to find work opportunities. Create a website and begin to share your talents online. You can also take a look at job boards for opportunities that are currently available. If possible, create a portfolio of your work to use as a part of your applications.
Does the gig economy excite you or frighten you? Both reactions are common. Share your thoughts in the comments below!
If you need more help getting ready to for this change and moving from fear to enthusiasm, I’d love to help. Contact me at plantosucceed.net for a free consultation today!