Money in Hand

Making Extra Money in the Gig Economy

Companies like Uber and Lyft as well as the emergence of the freelance movement have given rise to what’s become known as the “gig economy.”

A Deloitte University Press research study found that the gig economy is radically changing what was a primarily corporate workforce, in which more executives — approximately 42 percent — are now looking to significantly increase their use of contingent workers over the next three to five years.

These contingent workers often have the skillsets now necessary to work in a digital and automated environment. And, there are plenty to choose from as statistics have found that one in three U.S. workers are already freelancers with another 40 percent joining the ranks by 2020.

For those contingent workers, freelancers, and outsource providers, they’ve discovered that the gig economy gives them the opportunity to make a living on their terms and time. However, there is no formal employment agreement, which can mean that a gig can suddenly end with no real reason, leaving that worker without a way to make money.

That’s why most contingent workers know that, it’s not about a gig; it’s about having multiple gigs all going at the same time to keep the income flowing or even to just make more money overall.

One article shared one of the main challenges for today’s freelancers: “Seven out of ten freelancers experience trouble getting paid by clients, often waiting months for a check — and sometimes getting outright stiffed,” explains Sara Horowitz, Founder and Executive Director of the Freelancers Union. This additional concern means that it is good to have other gigs that can help keep that cash flow topped off should this ever happen.

This means you need to develop a strategy that helps you get a larger share of the available money from the gig economy that are being offered across all types of industries…

Differentiate yourself

With more talent entering the contingent workforce, your competition is increasing, so you need a way to stand out in the crowd. “The most successful strategy is the simplest: “show don’t tell.” Anyone can call themselves amazing, but it only matters when satisfied customers do it.

“Becoming an industry expert in your field helps separate you from the pack,” advises Howard Dvorkin, Chairman of Debt.com. You can also separate yourself by showing how you have multiple skills where a company could potentially see you handling many varied tasks for them rather than hiring multiple people.

Consider taking additional gigs tied to your interests rather than your career

There are many freelance writers who are also working as Uber drivers because they can make additional money on those Uber gigs in-between writing assignments or as they build up their portfolio. Other options for gigs might be arts and crafts for fairs or online retail sites. You might join a band and have weekend gigs at clubs or weddings.

With some gigs that are tied to interests, there tend to be fewer new skills (you already know how to do it) or fewer added requirements to learn, so you can just jump into accepting these assignments. Plus, extra gigs in other fields give you an opportunity for a change of pace, and gives you the added bonus of meeting new people who can become contacts or even friends. The different environment may even help recharge you to be more productive or creative in your career. You also gain the benefits of new thoughts, new directions — and maybe new you.

Continually research and market yourself

Even if you think you have a steady amount of work in the pipeline, take time each day to research what type of gigs are being listed on various online sites like ifreelancer, Guru.com, Toptal and even Craigslist, depending on the type of gig you are seeking. Then, when you find some type of work that piques your interest or something with potential that meets your criteria, be sure to bid on those gigs or market yourself to those companies.

Regularly raise your rates

Sometimes, it’s not even a matter of finding more gigs but actually raising your rates in your existing, long-term gigs. Like a traditional job, you deserve to be paid more for the accumulation of experience, skill, and quality work that you have produced for your clients. Make sure that you raise rates once a year so that your clients become accustomed to this change and realize your true value.

People need help and you could be that help and make some money at it. When you do start getting all these gigs on the side, be sure to understand and take care of the housekeeping jobs that any self-owned business runs across, such as what the tax implications are for the extra money you will be earning so you don’t end up just handing it over to cover a larger tax bill. When you do look up, apply for, and secure one of these extra gigs, you may be able to then have a better sense of how you can fund your retirement, pay off any outstanding debt, or even cross that incredible vacation off your bucket list.

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