The Gig Economy is an exciting place. Catch the Wave!
I’ve been working in the gig economy for twelve years. But I only just learned it was called the “gig economy” this past month. It’s fun. I get to work with great people and companies and no two weeks are ever the same. One week I’m juggling multiple projects, working huge deals, or advising small entrepreneurs. I’m knocking on doors and making in cold calls the next. It’s not a life I recommend for everyone. If you are considering the gig economy as your next career field, you have to balance the pros and cons of earning a steady paycheck with the freedom of being your own boss. If you want to catch the wave, here’s five tips to consider that have served me well.
- Network, network, network – There’s as old adage, “If you’re working you’re not marketing and if you’re marketing you’re not working.” Take advantage of the time you are not working to win new business. You cannot expect the world to beat a path to your door. Put yourself out there, make connections, and sell yourself. Clients need to know who you are, what you do, and that you are available to help with their tough issues.
- Do something you are passionate about – I write proposals for a living. It’s something I have a passion for. I find the challenge exciting, I thrive on deadlines, and I love winning. Decide what you have a passion for. If you do not have a passion for it, you will not last long in the gig economy, regardless of your skill level or the money you are bringing in.
- Do something you are good at – It’s not enough to do a good job, you have to do it better than the average bear. I work hard at getting better. I team with the best people, I look for new and innovative ways to win, and I make learning a lifetime goal. You have to stay one step ahead of your competition.
- Learn how to monetize it – Okay, you have something you are passionate about and are good at doing. Now you have to learn how to make money doing it. Price it too high you scare clients away; price it too low you cannot cover costs. You can start part-time, nights and weekend, to keep costs down until you build a client base. And be careful you are not giving your best service away for free. If you cannot make money, you cannot survive in the gig economy.
- Be accountable and responsive to your clients – Get, and be accountable for, results. You clients are paying you good money, not to try, but to succeed. Hopefully, you will not make mistakes. But when you do, own up to it. If you try to cover it up, your client will know. When a client calls, answer the phone. When you promise a delivery, deliver it early. And deliver it at the promised price and at the required level of quality. If you are not accountable and responsive to you client, not only will you lose that client, but chances are good you’ll start losing others as well.
The gig economy may not be for you. You trade job security for a chance to live the American dream by owning a small business. But if the gig economy is for you, these five tips will serve you well. So go ahead, catch the gig economy wave.