How to Get Started in the Gig Economy


An astonishing 51 percent of Americans admit to not feeling engaged with their job, mainly because they feel they’re working harder than ever without fair compensation. Even so, studies suggest that 54 percent of working adults don’t take all of their vacation time (even though on average it’s only a meager one to two weeks) because they’re afraid of being replaced. If you find yourself frustrated and uninspired by your career and don’t even know the meaning of work-life balance, perhaps it’s about time you explored starting your own gig-economy business.

The term may be new, but the concept is not. Working for yourself means you take on short-term or freelance work — often for multiple companies at once. The pros are making your own schedule, working from home (or anywhere, for that matter), being your own boss, choosing the type of work you want, and unlimited income.

All of these factors can reduce the anxiety that comes from being in an unstable workplace. But with the good, you also have to be prepared for challenges such as budgeting your finances (work can be feast or famine), handling your own taxes, paying for your own health care, and preventing social isolation.

If you have any doubt about the success of this concept, consider this: The gig economy currently accounts for approximately 34 percent of the workforce in the U.S. and is anticipated to grow to 43 percent by 2020. So, if you’re ready to contribute to that statistic, here’s what you need to know.

Finding Work

For starters, you’ve got to figure out what you want to do. For most people, they begin by looking for work in an area that they’re familiar with and/or have a license, degree or specific skill set. This is not to say you can’t try something new, but you’re more apt to get gigs if you have experience in the area in which you’re applying for because there’s a lot of competition for gig-economy jobs. The internet has a plethora of sites for gig-economy careers, many of which can lead you down the rabbit hole to other resources.

Once you become comfortable with a work-at-home lifestyle, you may even consider switching your business model from freelancer/contractor to starting your own company — like tax preparation, home care, or dog walking, for example.

Running A Business From Home

Setting up a comfortable yet functional home office will be the key to your success. A separate room is ideal, but if that’s not an option, set up a room divider or make one with open-sided bookshelves and/or tall plants. They key thing is making sure you’re not going to be distracted. Make sure you have updated technology (many companies like to conduct video conferences) and supplies to do your job professionally and an organizational system to keep all your pertinent documents from getting lost.

Keep in mind that there are several tax deductions you can make by adding a home office (and running your own business in general), so talk to your financial advisor about this when you’re setting up your company.

Establish A Routine

Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your job seriously. Start the day as you had an off-site job by eating a decent breakfast, taking a shower, and getting dressed in street clothes, not pajamas or sweats. Take time for lunch and don’t eat it at your desk. Regular breaks can also break up the monotony of working alone. Schedule social activities throughout the week to keep you from squirreling up in your home office 24/7. Boundaries are key, so you don’t become burnt out.

The gig economy is not for everyone, so make sure you make a list of pros and cons before making a rash decision. Talk to your family to see how this change could have an impact on your lifestyle. The good news is that the concept of remote work isn’t going anywhere, so there’s never been a better time to explore a new endeavor as it has the potential to have even more job security than you think.

Guest Post Submitted by: Lucy Reed from Gigmine

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