Becoming a gig worker is simple. But this does not mean that it is easy, because it is still a job. You just need to get the basics right, then build from there.
The gig economy features temporary and flexible jobs, which freelancers combine to make a living. These jobs or gigs can range from painting to logo design, video making, software development, and so on.
Becoming a gig worker means you are becoming an entrepreneur to some extent. That is what the gig economy is all about. So it might not suit everyone.
The following paragraphs look at how you can join this industry. They include the considerations that you need to make and the steps that you will need to take.
What you will need
A laptop and internet connection are basic requirements for handling computer gigs. While a smartphone is okay for non-computer gigs like taxi driving and healthcare. However, the most important skills that you need are mental, and here is a closer look at them.
- Initiative & Motivation – The traditional workplace is characterized by a stressful boss that is constantly breathing down your neck. But the absence of such a boss does not mean that you are free to do whatever you wish.
Your gig-earning power is usually performance-based. So, you do not get paid when you do no work. The solution to keeping yourself productive, however, is to develop the art of initiatives. That is, the ability to start something, to become a self-starter.
In addition to that, you will also need to motivate yourself from time to time, to keep the work or project moving. Once you are capable of initiating action and motivating yourself to finish it, you have become an entrepreneur. And you can practically achieve anything on this planet.
- Willingness to learn – No one knows it all, but the best you can do for yourself is to never stop learning. Having a great degree from a great university is great, but things are moving so fast on the Internet, that once you stop learning, you become a dinosaur.
Asides from that, you could also find jobs that interest you and that you may have most of its required qualifications, except for just one or two. Your best bet here will be to learn and improve your odds.
- Communication & People Skills – Many gigs will need you to do a little selling of your skills. Other gigs may need constant communication with the client, while others may depend on your customer-service flair. One thing for sure is that you need to develop your people and communication skills.
Better communication improves your overall success with clients and even in your personal life. While people skills help you to navigate your interactions with people efficiently. And to avoid dealing especially with monsters. A few google searches should help.
- Other Enterprise skills – Other skills you will need include learning to deal with uncertainty, embracing flexibility, getting better organized, and learning to take responsibility whenever things go wrong.
Understand your offering
As a gig worker, you are offering to do some work in exchange for money. Your offer and overall success, however, will depend on the profession and the market for it.
This means that you should understand the industry that you plan to work in. You need to be as professional as possible. Get certifications if you need them, build muscles if you need them, and learn a language if you have to.
There’s no need wanting to do graphic-design gigs if you can’t draw. Or to drive for Uber if you have no license or cannot even drive.
So, make sure you have what it takes to succeed in the industry you are targeting. Weigh the competition to see what you are going up against. And if you need to, carve out a niche by developing distinct expertise to set you apart from the rest.
The question of money
Some gigs like driving offer fixed payments for driving a certain distance or period. Others are more flexible and require you to negotiate.
What most platforms have in common, however, is that your reviews will determine if you get more work or better pay, or if the system will weed you out.
So, if you are just starting, don’t focus on maximizing your earnings yet. Focus on developing your portfolio first.
The Importance of your portfolio
Most gig platforms are markets and you will do well to see them this way. If the demand for the skill you are selling is higher than the supply, then you may find things easy. But if there is equally a high supply, then your proof of work comes into play.
Everyone wants the best value for their money. So, every employer wants to hire the best talent for the job. And the best way to prove your talents is to provide a collection of your previous gigs. Such a portfolio can be very helpful in landing future engagements.
Most gig and e-commerce platforms rely on the 5-Star rating system to solve this problem. But, depending on the industry and the project you are trying to secure, a detailed portfolio might help you to secure the deal.
Create a working space and routine
You need a convenient working space that is free from environmental and emotional distractions. It should be as quiet as possible with plenty of fresh air.
You also need to develop and maintain a routine. Yes, being your boss means you can work whenever you feel like, but routines make you more productive. It could mean setting out a specific time for work, using a to-do list, or having specific periods for rest and recreation.
Steps to becoming a Gig worker
Now that you have the prerequisites out of the way, it is time to start the actual process of becoming a gig worker.
Here are the steps to flow:
Step 1: Register on a Gig platform
Find the perfect platform from the list provided below and begin your journey by registering on that platform. You can also register on more platforms if they are relevant.
Step 2: Search and Connect
Gig platforms are different. Many let the clients post the jobs, while others like Fiverr let gig workers post. Search for gigs or create one if you have to. Then follow up with the negotiation process, when it gets to that.
Step 3: Always give your best
If you get the gig, then try your best to give your best. Because work and gigs all boil down to good-quality value creation. So, provide as much value as you can.
Step 4: Ratings and referrals
This is linked to step 3 above. Once you do good work, most happy clients will rate you well and even recommend you to colleagues. So, keep an eye on your rating and try your best to keep it as close to 5 stars as possible.
List of top gig platforms
There are lots of gig platforms out there that you can leverage to find what suits you. They range from general-purpose platforms to industry-specific solutions, and often contain all the tools that you need.
Here is a list of some of the major sites you can start from. You can also check out this list of gig economy companies if you want more.
|1.||Upwork.com||General freelancing platform|
|2.||Fiverr.com||General freelancing platform|
|3.||Freelancer.com||General freelancing platform|
|4.||Etsy||Hand-made arts and crafts|
|6.||Mechanical Turk||Micro Tasks|
|7.||99designs||Graphics & multimedia|
|10.||Toptal||Top 3% of freelancing talent|
|12.||Amazon Flex||Parcel deliveries|
|14.||Airbnb||Rent your home|
|17.||Instacart||Grocery shopping & delivery|
|18.||Dolly||Help people move|
|19.||Handy||Doing odd jobs|
|21.||AskforTask||Simple daily tasks|
|23.||Uber Eats||Food delivery|
Once you have got things moving, you will need to consider and implement the following important issues. These are often taken care of by traditional employers.
- Taxes – Laws are different everywhere, but you need to make sure that you are paying your taxes and generally on the right side of the law.
- Health Insurance – Health is Wealth. So you also need to get a health insurance plan, if you do not have one already.
- Retirement & Pension – We all get old. So, unless you want to work until your last days, you need to consider a retirement plan. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) in the U.S. and Personal Pensions in the UK are good examples. Your jurisdiction should have something similar.
- Socialize – Becoming a freelancer often means losing touch with the many colleagues you would normally have in a traditional workplace. So, remember to make extra efforts to socialize.
- Upskill – One positive aspect of the gig economy is the freedom in choosing what you work on. So, while doing your work, feel free to set your sight on more interesting or rewarding professions. Then study or do whatever it takes to gain the needed skills.
Some helpful tools
Always keep in mind that one of the secrets to business success is treating whatever you do like a business. Working gigs is a business and you need to understand and treat it that way.
This understanding will help you to improve the quality of your offering over time, and to reach your goals as well.
That said, you need to embrace and use as many tools as possible to help keep you focused, organized, and optimally efficient in your operations. Here are some:
|1.||Spreadsheet for organization||Excel, smartsheet, Google sheets, Airtable|
|2.||Time Tracking||GetHarvest.com, Toggl|
|3.||Project management||ClickUp, Basecamp, Asana, Trello|
|4.||Proposals||Proposify, Bidsketch, Proposable|
|5.||Cloud Storage||Google Drive, Dropbox|
|6.||Communication||Slack, Zoom, Whatsapp|
|8.||Payments||Payoneer, Paypal, Wise, Square, Stripe|
|9.||Calendar||Google Calendar, Calendly|
We have reached the end of this guide on becoming a gig worker and I hope you are excited because there are plenty of opportunities out there.
You have seen the major platforms and the professions for gig work, as well as what you need to do and develop to succeed. It is now left for you to begin.