Gig Economy 101

Have you ever wished for something more than the 9-5 lifestyle? If so, you’re not alone.

The traditional office job isn’t for everyone. What about a position where you can set your hours, rates, and be your own boss?

It can seem like a pipe dream, but it’s their reality for workers in the gig economy. Self-employed workers benefit from financial freedom, and many turn to the gig economy as a second job, helping them earn money to save for a big purchase or to pay off student debt or a mortgage.

What is the gig economy, and how can it work for you? If you’ve ever been curious about the industry, now might be the time to start getting involved.

Read on to learn what the gig economy is all about, some of the best gig economy jobs, and how you can get started.

What Is the Gig Economy?

The term ‘gig economy’ is something we increasingly hear in society and the media. But what is it, and why is it called ‘gig economy’?

Have you ever wondered what does ‘gig’ means in the gig economy? The word gig indicates a one-off job for a finite period, such as a musician performing at a concert.

Therefore, the term gig economy is a term used to encompass the jobs being done by workers who freelance, moving from short job to job. This is different from permanent employees, who work full-time for one company, or employer.

What Are Gig Economy Workers?

The gig economy employs over 1.6 million workers in the US, accounting for about 1% of the US workforce. Although this may seem small, it’s increasingly growing, with more and more workers turning their backs to traditional employment in favor of the gig economy.

Workers in the gig economy come from all ages, backgrounds, and experiences. Although it’s something young adults may turn to for extra money when studying, it also appeals to established professionals looking for a side job, or retirees who enjoy the challenges.

There’s no single type of person who is employed in this industry.

What Does the Gig Economy Offer?

One of the most significant advantages of gig workers is flexibility. If you’re self-employed, you can set your hours. Work as much as you want each week and schedule your work around personal, family, or other commitments.

For many, being able to be at home with the kids more often is a huge advantage and means your family can save money on childcare costs.

Compared to the rigid 9-5 structure of traditional workplace employment, which offers little leeway when it comes to working hours.

Gig workers also enjoy independence– they are working for themselves, instead of reporting to a manager. There’s a great feeling of satisfaction when you are your boss.

Gig jobs also offer diversity and variety in your work. With office jobs, you may be doing the same projects and activities for years on end, but with gig jobs, every day can be unique.

You’re constantly working with new clients or customers, doing different projects, and always expanding your offerings.

Of course, all jobs come down to money— luckily, gig workers can earn decent salaries. As you control how much you work, and often set your rates, anyone who is motivated and skilled should meet their financial goals and pay off debt.

Although you can earn higher income as a gig worker, keep in mind that you probably won’t receive benefits like insurance, so keep this in mind when budgeting.

What Are the Best Gig Economy Jobs?

If you’re eager to become part of the gig economy, you’re probably wondering which jobs are the best.

Depending on your skills, interests, and experience, you may wish to check out one of the below options.

Social Media Marketing

There is a massive demand in the gig economy for social media marketing. Small and large businesses, consultants, bloggers, and brands all realize the importance of having a strong social media presence, but they don’t always have the time to manage it themselves.

Many hire a social media manager to run ad campaigns, develop a schedule of posts, reply to customer comments and complaints, and to grow their follower numbers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

If you have knowledge of social media, analytics, creating social media advertisements, and marketing, this could be a well-paid gig for you.

Driving

If you have a car, enjoy driving, and like being around people, you could make great money.

There are a few ways to profit from your car. If you’re interested in food delivery, why not become a DoorDash driver?

A big advantage of this gig is that the highest demand for divers is often evenings and weekends. You could pick up a second gig as a driver without it interfering with your daytime career, a fun way to earn some extra money.

There is also a big demand for drivers on platforms like Uber and Lyft, which have become more popular than traditional taxi services in many cities.

If you know your city well, like chatting to people, and enjoy driving, consider this option. Note that most companies will require you to have a newer car, with four doors.

Web Development

One of the best paying gig jobs is web development. If you know to code or can build websites through WordPress, offer your services as a freelance web developer.

Companies know it’s important it is to have a website, so they are constantly looking for someone to build a new site, update an old one, or do troubleshooting.

Programmers who know HTML and JavaScript are in high demand too.

Web development is a niche skill that takes time to learn, so you can command a high hourly rate for your expertise. If you’re a creative and design-minded person who enjoys working online, look into web development.

Rent Out a Spare Room

A straightforward way to bring in extra money, without much work, is to rent out a room in your home by night, through sites like Airbnb.

People traveling for work or vacation often look at apartments or homestays rather than hotel rooms. They offer more space, the ability to cook your meals, and more affordable prices.

If you’re open to sharing part of your home with someone else, offering a room for rent can be a good source of passive income.

Virtual Assistant

Another popular gig is working as a VA, or virtual assistant. Thanks to technology, assistants are not needed in the same office or room as us— we can communicate with them online and collaborate on tasks from anywhere in the world.

If you thrive on organization and are looking for a new challenge, try being a VA. Everyday tasks done by VA include administrative tasks such as booking meetings, doing research, communicating with clients, updating blog posts or social media, and booking travel.

Pet Sitting

If you love working with animals, there is a big demand for dog walkers and pet sitting. We love our pets and hate to leave them alone or at kennels when we work or travel.

Busy workers often hire a dog walker to come in and walk their dog daily while they’re at work. Or, hire a pet sitter to care for their beloved pets while they’re away for work or vacation.

To be a great pet sitter or dog walker, it helps to be reliable, experienced around animals, have daytime availability, and have an emergency plan in place, in case a pet gets sick or injured while in your care.

Pet sitting can be a lot of fun, plus you can set your hours and rates to suit your schedule.

Ready to Get Started in the Gig Economy?

As you can see, there are so many opportunities to be had in the gig economy— take the plunge and get started today!

Find a job that suits your personality and skills and start marketing yourself. Before you know it, you’ll enjoy the financial freedom and independence that comes from being a gig worker.

Picking up a job in the gig economy can help you get your finances on track, paying off bills, lowering your debt, and saving for your future.

For any questions about personal finance, gig economy jobs, or credit and loans, check out our Personal Finance blog!

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