The guy that delivered your pizza for dinner is a gig worker. The woman who dropped you off to work this morning is a gig worker. The university student who filmed your wedding video is a gig worker. Many factors are contributing to the global boom in gig work.
In fact, in America, one in four workers are doing gig work either as their sole or part-time income. Some desire more autonomy in their career progression, while others just can't keep up with inflated living costs. Companies are choosing to downsize to save money and access expert resources only when necessary. Whatever the reason, gig work is on the rise. Developing your career in gig work is more relevant than ever.
Traditionally, people aimed to grow in the ranks at the company they landed their post-graduate job over the course of their lives and retire when the pension plan kicked in. This mentality is changing. More and more people want better flexibility with their time and freedom to achieve the career they really want.
Gig work allows you to grow your skills and gain experience in a variety of fields. Creating a gig career offers the freedom to adapt yourself and your work to fit one another. With this autonomy, you can seek out opportunities that favor your interest and values. If you're able to align work with your passions — you'll be living what many people describe as the dream.
It isn't all smooth sailing. Gig work does mean being constantly active. The work won't land on your desk Monday morning. These types of jobs usually involve actively reaching out to companies and offering your services. It's up to you to stay motivated and secure an income. This is much easier to achieve if you're focused on developing a career as a gig worker.
There are different kinds of gig workers. Some people choose to do gig work for social and hobby-related interests. They don't focus too much on the financial benefits, but rather on having fun. This can be retirees looking for the opportunity to socialize and dust off their skills. It could also be someone with a personal interest (e.g. Being in a band) that won't pay the bills. The gig work allows a sense of fulfillment.
The more popular gig work is the side hustle type. These are people who have an alternative primary source of income. The reason for doing the work is usually financially related. Perhaps they're saving for something specific or paying something off (e.g. A family holiday). More common examples of this work are ride-hail and delivery drivers.
Full-time gig work is becoming more possible. Someone doing this type of work is either fully committed, or has complete reliance as they search for alternative employment. Financial incentives and a sustainable income are key. Career autonomy usually plays a big role here, too. Digital marketing, graphic design, and freelance copywriting are popular full-time gig jobs.
If you want to develop a career in gig work, you must stay motivated and active. It's important to understand your target clients and know how to market your product. You also need a financial plan so you know how many gigs you need to pay the bills and achieve your goals. Communication and skills matter most.
Though this type of work can often be isolating and lonely, the increased interest in successful gig careers has improved available support systems. Facebook groups, online forums, and events for like-minded people are becoming more prevalent. Being part of these communities will not only provide you with a sense of belonging, but they can even be highly opportunistic.
Utilize them to engage with others and learn about existing job opportunities, upskill your talents, and learn new techniques to save yourself time and money. I have seen job offers for gig work on Facebook groups for digital nomads, with applications open to group members. Career development could simply come from a little communication.
Having versatile skills will also help. Because gig workers rely on others needing their skills, it's hard to guarantee consistent work. Having a portfolio of different skill sets means you can offer a variety of services in your industry. This way, you make yourself available to a wider net of clients.
Once you have a client base — nurture it. Build relationships so the clients trust your work. Not only will they contact you for the next job, but they will also recommend you to others. This can also mean collaborating with others in the industry. Spaces like WeWork are full of creative minds just waiting for networking opportunities.
Making a career of gig work is achievable. The autonomy of choosing when and where you work and how you complete your jobs can be much more liberating than a traditional full-time role. If you want to achieve gig career development — stay motivated, make great connections, and offer a range of skill sets. It won't always be easy, but the benefits could mean living the life you've always dreamt of.