Last Updated: June 15, 2022
A gig is referred to as a temporary job with an uncertain future. Some say the “gig-trend” emerged as a direct consequence of the global financial crisis, while others agree that it is a clear manifestation of millennial psychology that values a flexible work schedule over the security and perks of a full-time job.
So in a broader sense, the gig economy describes a workforce environment where organizations with temporary positions contract independent workers for short-term engagements. Statista reports that over 50% of the US workforce is likely to participate in the gig economy by 2027.
We are seeing the gig economy utilized in a range of roles from junior admins, and concierge, to highly skilled jobs such as website designers and developers. It is also visible at the executive level. Even the executive positions such as CFOs and CTOs are now being filled in on a gig basis.
These interim executive solutions work best where organizations are handicapped in certain areas that can be remedied with an injection of intellectual property (IP).
The gig economy is finding a voice in all the major industries, but it is with the government and business services, where project-based work is the modus operandi, that the Gig economy has found the greatest success. It is worth noting that in the gig economy, much of the risk associated with an organization is transferred to the freelancer.
This goes against the conventional 9-5, a secure arrangement that corporate employees had hitherto enjoyed for a long time now. The priorities are certainly shifting now. Keen on improving their bottom line, organizations are turning to such measures as cost-cutting, salary pruning, and offshoring that threaten to take away the economic security of the average person.
This scenario definitely strengthens one’s belief that it’s worthwhile to ‘build one’s own brand’ as we move into the future. An underlying cause for the growing interest in the gig economy can be attributed to the modern workforce’s desire to work without bosses. People are much happier working for apps. Take for instance the ride-hailing and home delivery services.
They have created a whole new market and an affluent one at that. On the face of it, the technology looks like the life force of the gig economy, but there’s more to it. If we look at the history of labor, we find that social change can occur without the aid of technology. Social change is primarily influenced by our decisions to organize the world. Technology only comes into the mix at a later stage which is relevant in this digital era.
Whether you are an employee who wishes to take advantage of the gig economy or a business that is planning to outsource its work to a freelancer, we have compiled a list of the best practices for both parties. Let’s have a look.
Succeeding in the gig economy depends a lot on the owners’ understanding of the current market situation and the major pain points of the freelance community. Following are a few crucial ways businesses can look to satiate the demands of the growing gig economy.
Businesses should evaluate their upcoming projects and workload for the year ahead. They should keep in mind the requirements in terms of market knowledge, technical capabilities, and strategic expertise and check if the skills required exist within their current team or not. If not, consulting a freelance platform to patch the company’s gaps is an ideal option without adding unnecessary headcount.
One of the best ways to grow your business in the gig economy is to embrace the concept of continuous improvement. It immediately adds diversity and opens up the market. But true innovation isn’t without challenges. You’d have to make plans to counter the difficulties of dealing with global partners and implement a strong operational process that simplifies onboarding, communication, payments, and more.
Consider the timeline (shown below) of Fiverr, an online marketplace for on-demand freelance services, and observe how it improved its value proposition over the years.
Information Source – Wikipedia, Graphic Credit – FATbit
Ad hoc workforce management can become profusely troublesome unless a well-run, venture-backed technology platform is used. It makes it easier for the business and employees to work together. An established outsourcing platform maintains stable and vetted talent making it easy to post ads, evaluate proposals, and candidates, and manage the logistics of projects and payments.
Many of the benefits that come from working in a team environment are absent in the gig economy. Freelancers are on their own to conjure up their creative genius. That’s where the owner of a gig economy business can swoop in and look to create a sense of community by connecting freelancers with each other.
Setting up a LinkedIn group or organizing global meetups could strengthen the community. A content and appreciated group of freelancers will recommend you to their peers and help popularize your business in the industry.
LinkedIn Groups for Freelance Professionals
As it is suggested to plan the hiring strategy at least a year ahead of time, consider how the on-demand workforce factors into the equation. Planning out the needs and availability clearly will give you a clear picture of the experts required on a project-by-project basis and full-time employment. Accordingly, the hiring team can become agile while hiring freelancers and strategic for full-time employees.
Freelancers are a busy and self-sufficient lot. They are often juggling multiple things at a time from marketing and customer support to financial planning and more. As such, they have little room to cram more activities into an already busy schedule. It is a good idea to avoid sharing a lengthy version of the terms and conditions.
An attempt should be to make it easy for freelancers to work with you. A marketplace for freelance professionals that is self-intuitive and easily manageable is often the most successful. For example, Uber allows its drivers to set their availability, interact with passengers, and manage their accounts all with ease.
For most people, gigs are a way to earn quick income by doing something they love without expending all their energies. That is considering they are paid on time. The last thing a freelancer wants is a payment delay for the services offered. It is crucial therefore that you transfer payments on time, especially to global partners to keep your goodwill intact.
A great way to enable quick and reliable payments is to invest in a global automated payment system such as Stripe Connect or Paypal Adaptive.
Note: Stripe Connect and Paypal Adaptive are the recommended payment gateways for marketplace models where automatic split-payment is essential.
Regardless of the type of work, freelance workers feel a host of personal, economic, and social anxieties without the support of an employer. That being said, working as a freelancer is their own choice and they do not prefer to give up the benefits that come along. However, there are certain strategies to navigate the emotional ups and downs and gain the energy to work as a successful freelancer. Let’s have a look at them:
Building a routine enhances focus and performance. There are work-specific and personal routines. Work-specific routines include keeping a schedule, starting the day with the most challenging work, and following a to-do list which can improve productivity and focus. Building personal routines like incorporating self-care, sleep, nutrition, and workout enhances people’s sense of order and control in uncertain conditions.
As humans are social creatures, loneliness can be devastating to the success of independent workers. Developing cordial relationships with like-minded professionals and people in similar fields at a local co-working space can significantly help freelancers in challenging times and take necessary risks.
Disconnection from a corporate office can become a downfall for many freelancers. Many freelancers fail because they don’t create a proper working environment. Gig work is often portable, so creating a space for productive work helps prevent feelings of rootlessness. It is also a driving factor in the rise of coworking spaces around the globe.
An on-demand business marketplace within the gig economy revolves around 4 main entities. The admin, gig marketplace website, service provider, and freelance professional/independent contractors. An admin controls the website to bridge the gap between service providers and freelance professionals. For that service, the admin earns a percentage for every successful transaction in the form of a commission.
A freelance gig marketplace is where all the magic happens. Service providers set up their accounts on the website to advertise their services/products along with helpful information. Independent contractors are central to the success of a portal. They visit the website, look up the products and place the order as per their requirement.
The more independent contractors a portal has the more likelihood of transactions and eventually greater chances of growth and success. Payment for the gig is transferred to the service provider after subtracting the admin’s share of the commission.
If you have decided to get your feet wet in the gig economy, then here are a few market-ready solutions worth looking at.
In the gig economy, the key to success lies in companies’ ability to understand the immediate needs of freelancers and find ways to nurture long-term relationships with them. The role of technology to surmount common obstacles be they payment-related or to facilitate the workflow will remain as crucial as ever.
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