The gig economy refers to primarily short term or freelance work. If you’re a gigger, you’re self employed, an independent contractor not on salary. WhatIs.com defines the gig economy as “a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.”
An independent contractor can be a person, business or corporation. In the U.S. typically (there are always exceptions) the distinction between a “gigger” and an employee is whether you file annual taxes with a 1099-MISC or a W-2 form.
We tend to think of freelancers as writers, entertainers, actors, producers, models, personal trainers, athletes, artists and others. We don’t typically assume entrepreneurs, consultants, affiliates, multi-level marketers, network marketers, real estate agents, sales representatives, mortgage brokers and hundreds of others also fall into this category.
Think of this segment of the labor force like this. When a real estate agent closes a transaction, that’s it. Unless he/she has other business in the pipeline, they have to find a new gig. There’s no more income. Most entrepreneurs need to create new business on a regular basis. They represent one of the largest segments of the gig economy.
Crushing it as a gigger doesn’t mean you need to wrestle your choice of profession to the ground. If you love what you do, it’s quite the opposite. When you’re aligned with your vocation, life flows. It’s like riding the top of a wave and letting it carry you through to its unfolding. Doors open, your timing is perfect and most things are effortless. “Laboring” is unnecessary, particularly if you approach your business with confidence and focused vision. Those who succeed in the gig economy are well balanced like a surfer on top of a wave. They typically have the following traits.
This is the simplest yet most overlooked requirement for succeeding at just about anything. When contemplating a new business or career, especially in the gig economy, defining your mission is the first place to start. Ask yourself why do you want to do this? If you’re why is big enough, very little will stop you from succeeding. Making money is secondary to your intrinsic reason for wanting to succeed.
Your mission is your assignment. It defines your objectives. It’s no wonder that employees who lose their jobs are lost, at least initially. They’ve mistaken their reason for doing for their reason for being.
While your mission is your purpose, your vision is your desired future. It’s the outcome you want from your efforts. It creates the road map to get you to your goal. Your vision is fueled by an undeniable passion, a reason, a purpose that’s uniquely yours. The highest achievers and most successful people are driven by it. They operate from a place of inspiration and intuition, which can only be found by quieting the mind. You can’t find your vision by thinking about it only be “feeling” it.
Vision provides focus and keeps one on track. Write down your mission and vision and put it where you’ll see it and be reminded of them daily. Avoid getting sidetracked on useless activities.
CREATE A TIMELY BUSINESS
Automation has made thousands of careers and trades obsolete. This will continue to grow exponentially each year.
Whether an individual or a business, we all bank, invest and shop through a smart gadget or on a screen. We’re in the digital economy and we transact everything from investments, buying houses to shoes to services online.
A study by Intuit predicts that “by 2020, 40 percent of American workers will be independent contractors.” This means that nearly half of the labor force in this country could transition into the gig economy. It’s not too early to consider an online career or at least an education, if you’re not already comfortable being digital.
It’s wonderful to be untethered to a desk, an office or a geographical location. My business goes wherever I go and I have fun with it. I carry it on my laptop. Even if I lose or break the computer, my systems are in the cloud and easily accessible from anywhere. It’s awesome to run your business lying at the beach.
If you want to succeed in the gig economy, get ahead of the wave. Create a timely business that’s in demand and scalable. It should have the potential to multiply growth quickly. Multi-level organizations and business models with teams work on this premise.
Start your gig while entry level is on the rise. If you wait until the top of the bell curve, it’s usually too late to make an impact on the market or get a significant return on your investment.
Pick a business that has no age entry barrier. Whether you’re 20 or 60, your venture should be doable. I must admit, I feel older individuals have an advantage over unseasoned entrepreneurs. Typically, due to their time “in the trenches” they have developed a bit more resilience and are not as easily discouraged when challenges come along. They don’t take rejection or failure as hard. So here’s a bit of advice, team or partner up with a seasoned individual! Recruiting skilled and talented people will enable your company to grow.
Some of the best companies are headed up by people over fifty. Arkenea.com wrote an excellent article that states: “Rather than living fast and dying young, a surprising number of people are stepping into entrepreneurship in and around the period of their retirement and some post that! After all, their broad and deep knowledge, management experience, and large professional networks certainly gives them an edge at that age. With a high-quality software development company, it’s not tough to get the initial version of their ideas built out quickly.”
Consider a business where services or products are highly sought-after. Natural and holistic forms of healing as well as CBD and hemp products are in huge demand right now. Combine this with a business model that has a reputable and established company behind it, offers geometric growth, provides back office tools and attractive compensation plans, then you have a winning combination. This is a great way to build any business and have passive, residual or retirement income.
Focus is the unyielding determination to accomplish what you set out to do. Think of a beam of light. The stream is powerful because it produces a focused intense energy. To live your dreams, put on blinders and be as equally intense as a laser.
Align yourself with like-minded individuals. Join a community that supports your vision. It will provide the energy you need, especially when you’re down. Independents tend to work alone. It’s helpful to have an objective group or individual where you can turn to for ideas. Groups also provide an opportunity to help others who may be a few steps behind you.
Discipline is the methodology we use to accomplish our goals. It takes repeated practice and training to make something seem easy. It’s no different with having discipline. I compare it to muscle memory in my Ashtanga yoga practice. There’s a sequence to the postures that we must practice over and over again. After a time, we don’t think about the process, we just do it automatically.
It helps to have a log outlining tasks you want to accomplish each day. It doesn’t have to be long or detailed. A bulleted list is good and it avoids over-listing.
Don’t be tough on yourself when you can’t stick to your plan. Life happens. Kids may need you. Your pet may fall ill. You may get a flat tire. Go easy. When you can’t meet what you set out to do, be happy with what you’ve accomplished.
Be clear on the difference between busyness and productivity. I know a lot of people who are overscheduled, have no time for anything and accomplish very little. It’s better to do one thing really well than ten incomplete or meaningless ones.
Here are other practices that will help you to succeed in the gig economy:
- Define your avatar. Who is your target market and how will you reach them? If your audience is a millenial, you can forget using email. If your focus is on baby boomers, SnapChat or WhatsApp may not be the best platform to find them. Match your methodoloty to your audience.
- Successful independents do some or all of the income-generating activities I list here. Every profession is different. In affiliate marketing, for example, placing ads, posting on social media, blogging, vlogging and making contact with your target audience daily is essential.
Getting the word out about your offering in whatever form it requires for your profession is essential. The goal is to build a list of contacts or subscribers to whom you can offer ongoing value until they decide to do business with you. Offering value instead of trying to make a sale develops credence, trustworthiness and loyalty.
- As an employee, your employer pays your taxes. As a gigger, it is up to you to put aside money for tax time. Don’t be caught on April 15th (in the U.S.) short of funds. Put aside a percentage of each payment to you for taxes.
- I believe in investing a portion for growth and contingencies, too.
- Improve and upgrade your business regularly. Check links to make sure they work. Do you need to hire a web-master to update your site? Can you use another set of hands to write better blogs or create new designs?
There are countless online services such as 99Designs.com that will make your load lighter. Outsourcing is a smart way to delegate activities that take up too much of your time, energy and effort. Work smarter not harder.
- Find a mentor, someone who has tread the path ahead of you and succeeded. Model them. They may steer you away from unnecessary challenges or point you to answers. Don’t rely on this individual to solve your problems. Work them out on your own. This is how you’ll learn and grow. This counselor should hold you accountable, cheer you on and be a great role model.
CALMNESS, BALANCE & FREEDOM
To succeed in any business it’s essential to remain calm, under all circumstances, especially when problems arise. To find solutions sometimes requires getting away from the problem. Finding a new environment to clear your head can help. As your own boss you can come and go as you please. An employee can’t walk out of the office every time a problem surfaces.
Those crushing their careers take charge of their attitudes. They perceive setbacks or attacks as growing opportunities. They use roadblocks as stepping stones to climb higher. Life never happens to them. They make it happen.
Success thinking requires equilibrium. I was raised in a one sided thinking household: good or bad, right or wrong. It’s taken me a lifetime to erase these polar beliefs. What may be right in one situation may not be right in another. How you see a situation makes the difference between having a success or a victim mentality.
Charles Swindoll said it best. “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. … The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude … I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.”
Today’s younger labor force prefers to work remotely. They understand that environment is essential to good performance and that toxic workplaces hinder productivity.
Millenials also want more time freedom to do the things they love over solely making huge amounts of money. Quality of life is essential and time freedom to address family and personal needs is part of their success equation.
UNSWAYED BY OTHERS
Successful individuals remain unswayed by what other people think. They listen to their inner voice and drown others out. They spend quiet time reflecting or “sensing” their calling. To crush it in the gig economy, hang around Master thinkers. Keep like-minded company to strengthen your convictions.
Masters never compare themselves to others. They march to the beat of their own drum. They’re not concerned about social acceptance. They’re sole mission is to accomplish their duty.
Winners at life rarely think in terms of gaining or losing. They go with the flow and always maintain a healthy attitude. They’re typically unconcerned about being vulnerable. The waves of life don’t throw them off the surfboard. They focus on their dreams. It takes mastery to do this.
Think of someone you’re drawn to. What makes them tempting to hang around? I venture to say it’s because they’re one of a kind. Life crushers are not afraid to be themselves even when others dismiss them as being weird or different. Their uniqueness makes them magnetic.
Unique individuals fear or reject being average. It’s one of the reasons they’re impassioned about growing and are continuously learning. These are responsible for raising evolutionary mass consciousness and the awakening of the planet.
If you want to succeed consider modeling Masters and implementing some suggestions I’ve offered or ask me about building an online business. You may want to read this great additional article and comprehensive guide to succeed in a freelancing career. Here’s to crushing it in the gig economy!