A Changing World
The world has changed. A ‘Job for life’ does not exist, employment rates are dropping by millions of people and unemployment rates are increasing by millions.
The global decimation of Small To Medium Sized Business (SMEs) due to the Pandemic has changed the employment landscape forever. Traditionally recognized employment opportunities have disappeared and the ‘gig economy is taking over.
You haven’t heard of the ‘Gig Economy’? You may know it as a self-employed person doing short-term contracts or projects for companies. In the US alone the gig economy was estimated to have 55 million participants – and that was way back in 2017.
What Is The Gig Economy?
The gig economy is freelancers and independent workers who specialize in completing certain tasks. Much like a musician or band doing a one-night ‘Gig’ at your local bar and then moving on to their next ‘Gig’ the following evening.
This is not a new phenomenon. It has been around for many years and includes temporary workers such as:
- Project specialists
- Independent contractors
- Temporary and seasonal workers
…and many more.
These are not new to the business world but what has changed is the increasing number of people who rely on ‘Gigs’ as their main source of income. While traditional job roles have decreased the Gig Economy has become a multi-billion dollar industry.
As an ever-increasing number of graduates pour out of universities the number of available jobs continues to decrease. Universities make money out of promising you future success if you endure a set number of years absorbing historical texts about surviving in an ex-economy. But, when you finally graduate, many will find that the world of business has changed beyond all recognition and that a certificate of endurance does not get them the success they were promised.
The Gig Economy And You
How does this affect you if you start working in the Gig Economy? There are different tensions when you are working independently compared to traditional full-time work. For example:
- It’s all down to YOU
- There is no safety net
- Gaps between gigs mean no income
- The highs and lows can be high and low
- Who you know can be just as important as what you know
- A clear purpose is vital
- Good connections and people are essential
- Self-motivation and control is crucial.
Strategies For Success
Given the changes in employment status and the different stresses, this can bring to the uninitiated. It is important to understand how you can make the most of the opportunities that are available and avoid some of the main pitfalls. We have researched and summarized the 9 main Clever strategies you need for success.
1. Make a workspace
Set up a ‘work space’ with all that you need. This may be in the corner of a room or a coffee shop but you must make sure that it has all that you need and is without distractions. Some people will put a work shirt on and sit at a table in their bedroom. The simple act of putting on a ‘work shirt’, helps to separate your work time apart from the normal day. It also signals to your brain that this is the time to work. It is important to have all you need to hand so that you are not delayed or distracted from your job. It is also important to separate work from the home environment especially when you are working from home and do not even step out of the front door. Having a separate ‘workspace’ also lets others in the house know when you are ‘at work’ and can act like a ‘do not disturb’ sign.
2. Have a daily work plan
Make a daily work plan and stick to it. Decide at the beginning of every day what you will achieve in the next 24 hrs and keep to it. You may be free from an overbearing manager or tight deadlines but you still have to get the job done. You may be doing something that you love but after a few weeks of working hard on the same project, even that love can start to fade a little. Having a daily work plan with set goals to achieve will help to keep you going through the more difficult parts of your Gig.
Routine helps us to focus and improves productivity. Having a set time each day to complete certain tasks will help you to mentally prepare and focus on one or two areas of your current project at a time. It will provide you with a certain amount of stability during the more chaotic times. Having a set routine will help you to focus on your work but it should also provide times for recuperation, exercise and strategic planning. Having a routine will also train your brain to recognize and separate times for work from times for play.
4. Know that you will never finish
There is no end. The elation you feel when you complete that last gig and get your money will be immediately followed by a heavy feeling of what now? All that time you spent concentrating on your latest gig may mean that you were not out there promoting yourself and getting other gigs lined up. You may be out of work! You may get the feeling that you never stop chasing the next Gig even when you are already working on one. To some, this can be exhausting but you need to be prepared to keep up the pressure and keep chasing the next project.
You don’t reach the end of a gig, you just reach the beginning of a search for a new one, and the longer it takes to find one the more the financial pressures will make themselves felt.
5. Productivity is everything
You need to keep producing and you could bounce from one gig to the next but you also need to be prepared for a few gaps, especially at the start.
You must have the passion and drive that is needed to continually produce something that people want. It must be something that is of value to others so that they are willing to pay ‘you’ for it. Producing ‘things’ for production’s sake (to keep you busy, because you like them) is a waste of time if people do not value it. To keep producing ‘useful’ material or products day after day needs personal strength and dedication.
‘You’ are it! If you are a specialist, an artist, or a professional then you are often selling yourself and your reputation is everything. The work you have produced and the feedback you have received defines you. You are your work and you must take care to protect your reputation at all times. You must also only take on jobs that will help to enhance your reputation and your business.
There are already many people working in the Gig economy and you need to stand out. You may take on any gig that comes along at the beginning but to be successful you need to focus on becoming the ‘go-to’ specialist in one area (niche). As your reputation grows you aim at becoming the best in your chosen area. To do this means that you must continually research your subject and what your competitors are doing.
You must be passionate about your chosen niche. Passion will give you the motivation and even excitement to keep working at it for years to come. You must have a strong desire to improve on what already exists and provide the best for your customers. This will give you the strength and determination needed to keep you going through the more difficult times when self-doubt starts to creep in.
Just because you are working independently does not mean that you do not need other people. People are important to all business success and this is especially important in the gig economy.
People can become your inspiration with new ideas and viewpoints you had not thought of before. They can provide useful business connections and they can provide an all-important release from the pressures of the gig economy when you need it.
Social isolation can be damaging to mental health and the productivity of your business. It is important to develop a social circle which supports your lifestyle and interests and provides a place to go to for support, guidance and a general social release.
Additional reading (external link): zety.com
Main Image by Pixabay fancycrave1