The internet has disrupted the way we live. You can do almost anything online now. Buy clothes, order food and pay your bills. But more importantly, it has disrupted the way we work as well.
Dubbed as the ‘gig economy’, independent workers are paid by the ‘gig’ (the specific task or project). This is done either independently or via a 3rd party platform that connects freelancers to clients. It can be a long term commitment or a short term contract. But either way, it can empower individuals to choose their own work, make their own decisions, and get paid for their services.
While gigs were traditionally part-time jobs (like busking at a roadside or delivering newspapers) which supplemented a permanent income stream, digital work platforms have started to substitute these conventional 9AM-6PM jobs. According to KellyOCG, 84% of talent managers in APAC are already hiring gig workers due to the lower cost, innovation and competitive edge!
The notion of earning a good income at a flexible pace is definitely appealing to many. If you are thinking about being a part of the gig economy, good for you! The time to join has never been better. However, freelance work is not always a bed of roses as many would expect. Just like a traditional job, there are many things to take into account when freelancing. Here are a few things to bear in mind in order to help you thrive and survive as a gig worker.
1. Financial security
Everything in the gig economy is based on supply and demand. When done as a part-time job, it is a wonderful side income. However, should you invest purely in the gig economy, be prepared to have a backup plan. Independent contractors do not get any benefits or employee welfare for their services. If you are a full-time freelancer, be sure to plan your finances in advance, such as your savings, insurance coverage and taxes. An example of a checklist would be as follows:
Emergency funds and insurances are important to help maintain financial stability. Depending on your obligations, ensure that you have enough savings for yourself and your family. As for taxes, be sure to familiarize yourself with the tax laws operating in your country. For example, in the Philippines and Indonesia, freelancers are required to declare their income and pay taxes. On the other hand, individuals in Malaysia are not required to pay taxes until their earnings hit a certain threshold. This is important as declaring taxes are needed when purchasing houses or buying cars.
2. Leaving a good impression
With more people joining the gig economy, competition will increase as well. While you are able to choose your own client, remember that your client has the power to choose other gig workers as well. When thousands are offering the same service as you, how do you stand out? Being exceptional is actually simpler than you think. Go back to the basics of how you want to leave a good impression. This includes
- Be willing to commit to the task at hand
- Always provide quality service
- Always be honest and polite
- Ask the right questions at the right time
- Triple check your work and leave no room for error
- Communicate effectively and always engage with the client
- Be realistic with your capabilities
- Be aware of your client’s sensitive data
- Log out of your laptop or computer every time you are not working to avoid data loss or hacking
Being accountable for your words and actions is of the utmost importance. Taking little steps to improve your client’s experience can go a long way. The golden rule is essentially, treat your client like how you would want to be treated. Delivering sloppy work and overpromising can lead to disappointment. Remember, people always remember a brand for its excellent quality and customer service. Likewise, good freelancers will be recognized and referred to for their service and work.
3. Keep upskilling
When you’re heavily reliant on the gig economy, remember to constantly upgrade your skills and knowledge. Take the initiative to develop more technical skills to better serve your clients. This can give you a competitive edge, making you more valuable than the competition out there. Free online courses such as Coursera, Skillshare, Alison and Class Sentral have a wide range of choices and options. Learning has never been easier, and this will aid you tremendously over time.
4. Taking Care of Your Health and Wellbeing
Lastly, don’t forget to take care of your health. Your physical and mental wellbeing is also a priority. Live a happy and healthy life by doing the simple things that fulfill you. It can include getting enough sleep, exercising, spending time with your loved ones, reading a book, or even watching a movie. Balance your time for work and play. This will fulfill you mentally and emotionally, which is important to avoid burnout and stress. You can read more about maintaining your wellness in our previous blog post.
The gig economy is empowerment. This new business paradigm empowers individuals to better shape their own destiny and leverage their existing assets to their benefit. It empowers customers by saving them money and offering far greater flexibility in their arrangements. And it empowers our economy by fostering massive, thriving industries to support these operations. – John McAfee
The gig economy has already become a reality for many and this trend will not stop anytime soon. To embrace it fully, make sure to plan your finances well, be responsible and accountable for your work, constantly think about upskilling and don’t forget to prioritize your health. Most importantly, remember to always stay positive and enjoy the work you do because it takes a lot of self-motivation and discipline to do the job well.
Eager to be a gig worker and earn online with just a laptop and internet?