With major corporations offering fewer full-time jobs than in previous decades, the gig economy is making a huge surge in the United States. Some even predict it will be the new employment model for the future — and they might be right. A recent study published by Freelancers Union and Upwork predicts freelancers will make up the majority of the U.S. workforce within a decade.
But it isn’t just corporate change that has the gig economy booming. More people are also preferring the flexibility that comes along with taking a gig. Gone are the days of eight-to-five desk jobs and in are the days of working self-determined hours from home or on a job site.
If you’re thinking about leaving the traditional confines of your full-time job or just looking into adding supplemental income (the recommended way to break into the side job business first) here’s how to get started.
Find Your Niche
As you try to establish what you’re going to do for a side job, you’ll need to make an honest assessment of your talents. According to executive coach and author Jeff Boss, finding your niche is a four-step process.
- Identify the skills and talents you have. Be sure to select things you’ve mastered, not things you want to master.
- Take your list and rank them in order of what you like to do the most versus what you like to do the least.
- When reviewing the items you like to do the most, what do people need the most? In other words, if you live in a neighborhood with a lot of busy executives, they may need dog walkers or pet sitters to take care of their animals.
- From the above needs, what will people pay big money for?
Set Up Shop
Once you figure out what you’ll be doing, you’ll need to determine where you’ll do it. If you’re driving for Uber or a transportation service, you’ll need to utilize your vehicle or pick up a new vehicle. Or, if you’re going to be freelance writing, you’re going to need to set up a home office.
When setting out to create a functional home office space, you’ll need to carefully balance two important considerations: functionality and aesthetics. And no matter how much time you plan to spend there, you’ll want to make sure it’s comfy and cozy. You won’t feel like reporting for duty if your space isn’t welcoming and inviting.
Be sure to consider how you’ll manage working at home, too. For example, if you have children, how will you manage necessary quiet time? Also, the delicate balance between work and home life can be difficult. How will you manage this?
Locate Job Opportunities
The gig economy is largely successful due to the creation of apps and websites that easily connect employees with potential employers. Downloading apps, for example, puts hundreds of potential jobs at your fingertips. Numerous websites also put freelance workers in contact with organizations that need their services.
Wherever possible, though, going direct to an employer is typically more profitable. With this in mind, practice some basic marketing concepts, including establishing your brand, sharing your story, taking advantage of technology like social media, and asking for customer testimonials and referrals.
Perform a Reality Check
A healthy dose of reality is just about as important as the entrepreneurial spirit you started your business with. Chances are, things won’t go exactly as you predicted, so understanding the downsides of your new adventure will be key. For example, gig work isn’t as steady an income as a full-time position, so how you will make an inconsistent income work? Typically, gig jobs come with no health benefits, so have you calculated the costs associated with purchasing your own policy?
The future looks bright for entrepreneurs who are looking to break out of the confines of the traditional workplace. Leaving behind rigid hours, pursuing your passions, and bidding farewell to pesky corporate flowcharts is the wave of the future. By following these simple steps, you’ll be sitting in the boss’s chair in no time.
Image: Photo Credit/ Unsplash
Written by Lucy Reed