By Lucy Reed
How to make it in a freelancer gig economy…
According to a recent survey, people who are self-employed tend to be happiest when compared to people in other types of professions. It’s no surprise then that more and more individuals are diverging from traditional career paths in favor of pursuing their own passions. In an increasingly global and interconnected society, self-starters are finding more opportunities to carve out their own space in the freelancer gig economy. Freelance writing, ride-sharing, and dog walking are all industries that are booming as more and more people are looking for careers that support their independence and supplement their passion in life. If you are looking to get started in the freelancer gig economy, here are three fundamental keys you need understand.
1. Get Into a Routine
With your greater independence comes great responsibility. The problem you and many full-time freelancers face is an overabundance of time. Without proper discipline, much of your time can be squandered. The best advice when getting into the freelancer gig economy is to try to stick to a work routine. Traditional, nine-to-five jobs automatically provide this kind of structure for employees. When you’re working on your own time, you should try to recreate this kind of regularity to ensure that you remain productive and make the most of your workday.
How you form your routine will depend mostly on the kind of short-term work you decide to do. For instance, dog walkers will find that peak times to work are during the middle of the day when dog owners are away. Musicians may have to commit themselves to many different side projects, along with practice, recording, and producing to help facilitate their business and art. The sooner you figure out the best routine for your self-employed career, the sooner you will be able to make the most of your independence and maximize the profitability of your passion.
2. Stay Organized
Freedom from conformity doesn’t mean freedom from certain obligations such as paying annual income taxes. As your self-employed business grows, you will have to make sure that you properly track and document your income and expenses. Taxes work a little differently for you as a self-employed worker. There are many deductible expenses you can take, such as home and car expenses. Those write-offs could help you retain as much money as possible come tax season. By tracking your expenses and income accurately, you’ll have an easier time when dealing with the Internal Revenue Service.
3. Sell Yourself
Another key to your successful self-employed career is being able to market yourself. Professions in the freelancer gig economy rely on exposure. You are selling a product, and in this case, you are the product. Whether it’s something you’ve written or a service you provide. No matter what you’re selling, there’s an opportunity to increase your exposure and increase your business.
How you go about promoting your work depends on the product you’re trying to sell and the clients you are trying to reach. Starting off, you may have to put in a little more legwork in order to increase your exposure. Technology shouldn’t be overlooked as a great resource for finding work and also promoting yourself. Having a website can make your operation seem legitimate in the eyes of consumers and help manage your clientele all from the comfort of home.
Even with recent strides in technology, traditional salesmanship should not be ignored. Media such as posters and flyers are also a great way to reach people who are out and about. For instance, if you are looking to sell your dog-walking or pet-sitting services, posting a flyer at a dog park would be an excellent way to directly reach out to potential customers. When it comes to selling your product, the wider net you can cast, the better, so try using a mixture of traditional sales tactics along with technological means.
There are many advantages to working in the freelancer gig economy, including your increased independence and being able to pursue your passions. If you’re looking to get started, make sure to get into a routine, stay organized, and sell yourself.
Lucy Reed has been starting businesses since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s driveway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college. She created GigMine because she was inspired by the growth of the sharing economy and wanted to make it easier for entrepreneurial individuals like herself to find the gig opportunities in their areas.