The “gig economy” is made up of 57 million Americans working part-time or as a side hustler, freelancer or independent contractor. It contains just over a third of total American employees, but this figure is expected to rise by 7% in just a year.
This shift towards more flexible jobs and workplaces represents a desire for a better work/life balance. A third of professionals say that maintaining a healthy balance between work and home life is increasingly difficult.
Luckily, technology has made the transition from office work to freelance and remote work possible.
Some companies, like Uber, allow people to work from anywhere provided they have a smartphone and the app — and a car, of course.
Keep reading to learn about the different types of gig workers, how to succeed, and why you should join the gig economy.
Unsurprisingly, a part-time worker is someone who works half or part of the amount of hours needed for full-time.
A full-time worker typically works no less than 35-40 hours per week. In exchange for working full-time, the company is required to give the employee benefits and perks.
Part-timers work around 20-30 hours per week.
They are still controlled by their boss and expected to show up for their scheduled shifts. The only difference between part-time and full-time employees, aside from their hours, is that the company is not obligated to give part-time workers benefits.
A side hustle is a job on the side that allows individuals to make money without having to quit their day job.
While a side hustle provides a supplementary income, it means much more to people
Side hustles allow people to pursue their passion without relinquishing their main source of income.
Finding the inspiration, dedication and time to start and maintain a side hustle is challenging. However, successful side hustlers take pride and joy out of their work, making it less of a burden and more of an outlet.
Side hustlers can work for others, such as waiters and dog-walkers, or they can be their own bosses working whatever job they like.
Who knows? Maybe your side hustle will turn into a successful entrepreneurship and startup business.
Freelancers are different from part-time workers and side hustlers in that they are self-employed people who offer services to clients.
Their clients are often businesses, although they can also be individuals.
The tech and finance industry is popular for freelancers working in web design, social media, graphic design, accounting and more. There is essentially a freelancer for any service you or your business needs.
Pros of freelancing include setting your own schedule and compensation in addition to choosing clients. Freelancers also have generally better moods and a healthier work/life balance.
The downside of being self-employed is that you have to cover your own benefits and possibly juggle several projects at a time.
An Independent contractor is often used as a synonym for a freelancer, but there are some differences.
Similarly to freelancers, businesses can’t control how or when independent contractors do the work. The company only retains final say on deadlines and outcomes.
Independent contractors can be self-employed, like freelancers, which means they have to manage their taxes and insurance as such.
However, independent contractors also have the ability to work through a third party or agency, and they typically work for an hourly rate rather than a fee.
Read also: How Bloggers Can Make $10,000 a Month from Home
How to Succeed in the Gig Economy
1. Know Your Purpose
If you’re beginning to feel burnt out, remember why you started your gig in the first place.
Rekindle the drive that once motivated you to put the extra effort towards following your passion.
If you can’t find a purpose in your independent work, you may want to consider a new gig.
2. Prepare for Uncertainty
Brace yourself for the financial rollercoaster that accompanies starting a new gig.
It’s highly likely that it will drain some of your savings up front, and you may not see
Remember to stick to your guns and hold out because your bottom line will grow with your work. It also doesn’t hurt to set aside an emergency fund just in case.
3. Master Time Management
Allocating your time across various clients and jobs is tough enough as it is.
Be sure to avoid distractions like personal texts and social media so you don’t waste the time that you have.
Time-tracking apps are a great way for you to visually break down how much time you spend on each project.
4. Create a Productive Space
Working from the home office or the local coffee shop can provide too many distractions for many individuals.
While some people thrive in these environments, others prefer a more rooted office space.
If you need more structure in your workplace, consider coworking spaces that allow individuals and businesses to rent out desks, offices and conference rooms.
5. Establish a Routine
Getting in the groove of the same routine every morning tells your brain that it’s time to focus and work.
You can do this by waking up and eating breakfast at the same time every day. You can even incorporate a morning walk, shower or a hot beverage to prepare yourself for the workday.
6. Communicate Your Worth
Don’t be afraid to ask for the compensation that you’re worth. Settling for a smaller amount of compensation is not only disheartening, but simply not practical or fair.
Charge your clients what you deserve. Some 20% of freelancers do this and make over six figures.
7. Organize Your Finances
Finances can quickly become a jumbled mess for those working in the gig economy.
Because you have income from several different companies and possibly individuals,
Financial advisors can also be helpful in sorting your income and expenses.
8. Plan for Healthcare
If you’re self-employed and don’t qualify for your spouse’s or domestic partner’s health insurance, finding healthcare coverage can be a challenge.
Under the Affordable Care Act, you must have the “minimal essential coverage”, but there are many options to choose from. Take some time to research and find the best plan for you.
To learn how to survive life in the gig economy, check out this infographic from Self Lender.
Why You Should Join the Gig Economy
Most people decide to join the gig economy because it allows them to do what they love, make extra money and keep their day job (if they choose). You may find that you’ll have less free time, but your overall happiness will increase as long as your work is something you’re passionate about.