American society is adapting to a new concept of work: the gig economy. The term refers to a workforce where freelancers contract with businesses on a short-term or as-needed basis. Right now, about 11% of working adults in the U.S. are full-time independent contractors. And while “part-time gig” may sound like a euphemism for being broke, nearly 20% of independent contractors earn over $100,000. By other estimates, 53 million Americans are employed as freelancers.
Gig work injects $715 billion into the economy each year. Since 2000, traditional W-2s have stagnated, while the use of 1099s has shot up 22%. Here are some tips to get going in the gig economy and to kick-start your own successful gig business.
Some economic forecasts predict that by 2020, 40% of American workers will be full-time independent contractors. A number of factors have contributed to this trend. First, digitalization eliminated many traditional jobs, which made the workplace remote, shrinking it down to your laptop. Then, during the 2007 recession, people switched careers, contracting with businesses on a short-term basis. In turn, this was a boon to companies that could boost their bottom line without shelling out benefits to permanent staffers. Currently, common freelance occupations include writers, architects, engineers, web developers, analytics specialists, lawyers or paralegals, among others.
The freedoms that the gig economy offers are numerous. These include the independence to move from city to city, choose their schedules, set their rate and hours and pick your own clients and partners. The downside is that the gig economy is quite selective. Gig work is often great for people established in their careers who can cherry-pick high-paying jobs on the side. But it’s frustrating for people who have only found spotty or inconsistent work. And however exciting it can be to hustle between assignments, 91% of millennials say that they desire stable, long-term employment.
Starting Your Gig Business
Two types of businesses predominate in the gig economy: Companies employing independent contractors, or independent contractors themselves. Let’s say you’re a company. Your company should make it easy for freelancers to find and sign on with you, so that red tape and corporate rules don’t put them off. Also, it’s imperative that your business is mobile-friendly, because you might want to hire someone who’s in Spain while you’re based in San Francisco. Pay on time, and every time, so you don’t get a bad reputation. Finally, develop a collaborations page where freelancers can network and feel tight-knit in a digital workspace.
Employing Yourself in the Gig Economy
Another way to make ends meet in the gig economy is to run a business of one, employing only yourself. To make it as a problem-solving business owner, you need tenacity, adaptability and flexibility.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of freelancers out there. They offer services that range from designing a web page to preparing legal documents to driving Uber. But, there are ways to succeed:
- Put together a home office.
- Design business cards and an invoicing template.
- And never, ever work for free.
For many people, the disappearance of the 9-5 workplace, with its pay scale, corner office and promotion track is scary. However, the new work model empowers business-minded people to turn their passions into flourishing careers.
Image via Unsplash
Post from Lucy Reed of Gigmine
Q1. Your name and what you do?
I’m Shaheen Schleifer, owner of theDigital which I’ve run since 2014.
Q2 Why did you start a business and your biggest business challenge when you started?
I started my business to take control of my future and help people. The hardest thing to deal with was the ‘advice’ of people who had never run a business. Although well-meaning, it was not helpful.
Q3 Who do you help / serve in your business?
We help small businesses, start-ups and sole traders who need online digital services (websites, social media content) but have a limited cash-flow. We train all our clients so that they can update their website and social content. They benefit from the development and enhancement of staff skills, and reduce future costs for updates.
Q4 How did you know they were the people you’re meant to help?
As a website designer for previous clients, I noticed how small businesses struggled to pay for essential items such as websites. I also noticed the frustration with continuous payments for updates. I decided to help by changing the business model for website design.
Q5 What do you think of business networking?
There is no business without networking. It provides a relaxed environment in which people can discuss the problems they are having with their business. Sometimes I can help, sometimes I can recommend other people who can help. I love being part of this skill connection.
Q6 What do you think of women-only business networking?
It’s essential to business. They are many experiences women share and we can help each other through these problem, or in general business.
Q7 Who is your female in business idol / role model / business celebrity
Jane Fonda. She has successfully created and led many different types of business, and has shown entrepreneurship at many different ages of her life. She is not afraid of succeeding or failing in public, and she talks about her success and failures candidly. She defines the ‘always be learning’ mantra and she never gives up.
Q8 Your Favourite book by a female author (business or pleasure)
Either Jane Fonda’s autobiography or Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch
Q9 What’s your favourite restaurant for a business networking lunch?
Heddon Street Kitchen
Q10 Tell us your best business “win” so we can celebrate your success with you. And finally, please add anything you think is relevant to your business story here, our audience is business women.
I’ve currently helping an existing client to expand her business. This client has been in business a long time; she was looking to spend less time serving clients at her business place and more time sharing her knowledge, but she was having concerns about the effect on her income.
We decided to use her love of sharing knowledge to build an extra income, which in time could become her main income. We are doing this by creating a library of online content which can be monetized. We are currently developing videos and a course to publish online and which will feature a professional body of which she is a member.
This 1TB (terabyte) SSD that you bought, yes… well, the machine only recognises 250GB. Given that a terabyte is 1,000 Gigabytes (GB) 1024GB to be precise, that means that the HDD (hard disk drive) is only using a quarter/25% of its full capacity.
Hmmmm. Still with me?
What is the difference between a Solid State Drive (SSD) and a Hard Disk Drive (HDD)?
A traditional HDD is a device made up of moving parts that uses spinning platters to store data. An SSD on the other hand uses flash memory and has no moving parts.
What am I talking about? Data storage space, computers, PCs. Those of you who know me will know that I’m not technical although I have been known to fit a few GB of RAM over the years. OK, either way this SDD is dangerously full up, so said machine needs a new hard drive. Seems that a 4TB hard drive would be a good move.
The machine sees that it has 4TB hard drive, but only reads it as 2TB. Eeeeek!
No, really… I’m not, honestly…… I mean it….. I’m NOT!
Sometimes I get asked why I don’t give a 1-minute talk at the 1230 The Women’s Company business meetings.
The answer is really simple
As the MD of 1230 The Women's Company, I'm always delighted to attend many of the business networking meetings, particularly where, with a whoop and a holler, the 1230 TWC Host will have introduced me at the beginning of the meeting and, to quote the wonderful Caroline Hewitt, “bigged me up!” Some attendees will already know me, some not.
Remember…. I‘m NOT precious. But that introduction gives me a warm glow, because it introduces me to so many awesome business women.
Attending so many meetings in different locations, enables me to cross-refer attendees. Notice I say "attendees"? Yes, of course, our Members always get preferential treatment, but if I can see a connection for anyone attending 1230 TWC meetings, I will make that connection for them.
As 1230 TWC is my business, I can give a talk at any meeting for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 20 minutes, 2 hours – however long I like – remember, I’m not precious.
The opportunity to give a 1 minute talk at 1230 TWC meetings is
YOUR moment to shine;
YOUR moment in the spotlight,
YOUR moment to let everyone know about what
YOU and YOUR business offer.
I’m not precious about me, but my business and those who attend are precious and YOU are precious. And I’m delighted to know you all.
I'm not precious
YOU - ARE!
See, I said it was simple!
So why not book in now and have your moment to shine!
I have a new, beautiful leather handbag, a Roanne Tote bag to be precise, to be even more precise – a handbag from the Shona Easton Design Studio! You can tell I’m delighted with it, can’t you?
It’s a practical size, made in grainy calf leather in a fabulous pink colour – of course, and is much admired wherever I go. So what can I get inside, quite a lot actually. Mobile phone, which slips nicely into its own pocket, keys have their own secure clip, my purse also has its own pocket, I use the zip pocket for make-uppy bits, tablets, couple of pens and there are 2 large slip pockets – all in a beautiful deep rose taffeta lining. Those of you who know me well, know that I’m a belt and braces person, so my Filofax goes in as well, notebook, 1230 TWC business cards, currently promo cards for Business Women in Action Conference and 1230 TWC Note Cards. I can tuck all my bits and pieces safely inside and zip everything in with a secure zip with lock and key fastening. Also, I can conveniently carry the bag, handbag style, or slip it over my shoulder.
The designer (or Bag Lady, as she is affectionately known), Shona Easton tends to float between the Guildford and London 1230 TWC meetings, that's when she's not designing or visiting her overseas manufacturers. So why not come along and find out what else she has to offer. Shona is also speaking at the Business Women in Action Conference on 4 November.
Just check out the video to see where we've been together!
According to the Marketing to Women Conference, 85% of buying decisions are made by women. That means that appealing to women to purchase your product or service is a very important aspect of marketing online. With more than 94% of these women having access to the internet, it becomes clear that you need to appeal to women if you want them to buy what you have to offer. In fact, some people believe that even if you want the man to buy what you have to offer, you should appeal to their wives and mothers first as they influence their men.
Women make up the majority of the online market with over 20% of them shopping online at least once per day. Most women are using mobile devices to access information that helps them make purchasing decisions. With over 70% of new businesses being started by women, and many of those being online businesses, it’s important for your business to understand the market.
- Make them feel special – Women are special, so it’s important for you to make them feel that way. Most women report to feeling completely misunderstood by companies. Make it your business to know what makes them feel special. This will go beyond the fact that they are women down to the exact particulars of your audience.
- Appeal to the mother – Most women are mothers or will be mothers or have a mother. If you can appeal to the mother in women, depending upon your audience, you can create a powerful urge to purchase your product.
- Show that you care about the environment – Women are more environmentally aware today than ever before. If there are two similar products, and one is more environmentally friendly than the other, they’ll be more likely to purchase the environmentally friendly model.
- Support women’s causes – Study your particular audience to find out what causes they care about, then support those causes. Giving 10% of your profits to a cause that the women in your audience care about will encourage them to buy.
- Acknowledge that women love sports – There is a rumour that women do not like sports, but that’s just not true. They love sports almost equally to men. Women also like staying fit by walking, running, and playing sports.
- Be a socially responsible company – Take pride in supporting social causes, because like the environment these are things that a lot of women care about. They want to buy things from companies that share their values.
- Create responsive web design – Women use many devices to access the internet so it’s important that you design your websites to be responsible, no matter which type of device they use to access your information.
Women are technologically advanced, spending more time online than men, and using more types of devices to access the internet than men. They tend to buy using whatever device they are using at the time. They buy at their PC, from their mobile devices, as well as in person using their devices to research beforehand, and ask their friends and family for recommendations.
To appeal to women, don’t misunderstand their intelligence, their autonomy, or their knowledge of social responsibility and the world outside of men. Research your audience. If your main criteria for your audience is women, you still have a subset of women that you need to learn about and know.
Last Thursday I excitedly drove for nearly 2 hrs (in my new car, first long trip, eeek!) to take part in the Channel Radio programme Hosted by the lovely Sian Murphy on “The Women in Business Radio Show” #wibradio.
Down country lanes until I came to Haguelands Farm, Burmarsh – what a fab pretty place. Apart from the Radio Studio, I discovered afterwards the Fish Shop – bought some wet fish, into Alpaca Annie shop, stroked some beautifully soft scarves, slippers and all manner of lovely articles and bought some Alpaca Poo! Don’t ask, but apparently it’s excellent on roses. I also popped in to see Faye in her hair and beauty salon and saw the finishing coats of paint being applied to The Bistro to open on 7 May.
And of course – the broadcast! Always a pleasure to see Sian of course and charismatic Paul Andrews and to meet lovely “Geeky” Keith – I only mention this because Sian had decided the topic for the broadcast – “Geek Baiting” – you’ll find out why….
Have a listen here to see what we got up to + lots of useful information including details about VOIP.
Thanks again Sian for inviting me!
What do Double-glazing and Networking have in common? Well, it’s more about the double-glazing salesman and networking, so let’s see.
Recently I had 2 double-glazing salesmen view my house for a quote. One sat outside in his car pre the appointed time, drew up his sketch of the house front and then rang the door-bell, stayed 25 mins going through everything and left us with a quote. Problem there – the large print promotional flyer he also left had 2 glaring typos – in his favour, no heavy sales pitch.
Double-glazing salesman No 2, smartly dressed, but within seconds he was calling OH and me by our first names. We’re a bit old school on things like that so that didn’t go down well. He was very thorough in describing the windows which I found it interesting, if a bit lengthy.
Now to price. “So the price Jackie and Phil for the complete job is £xxxx – how does that sound to you?” Bit high we thought, he continues “My special price to you, but don’t phone the office about this as they won’t know anything about it, is £xx” Half the originally quoted price! Mmmm, interesting. He continues…. “But if you …… then it is £xx”
We ended up with a price considerably less than half the original price he quoted. Put me in mind of Del-Boy’s patter in “Only Fools & Horses”. This is from a well-known double-glazing company, so our consideration now is to get past the salesman’s pitch, yes, because that is what he is, to the product – and that is hard!
So what do the double-glazing salesman and business networking have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing! They are poles apart, because networking is not about selling; business networking is about building trusted relationships over time, with people who become your recommending team. So if you are selling at your networking meetings and wondering why you’re not getting business, this is why, STOP IT NOW! It just doesn’t work!
And the other double-glazing representative? He wouldn’t have got an appointment had I seen his flyer first – so don’t forget the proofreading!
Watch this space as we have a couple more d/g reps to see…. In the meantime, would love to see your thoughts on this.
NETWORKING & DOUBLE-GLAZING – PART 2
Well, the third double-glazing representative came on Saturday and we’ve agreed the terms. On the downside, they can’t start until beginning of August, at least the weather should be reasonable.
On the upside – he had a nice easy, not familiar, manner, explained things thoroughly, but not at length, answered all our questions; is a local family business with its name unchanged since business launched in 1972 – love to shop locally – was the middle price, didn’t have “sales patter” and DIDN’T try to SELL to us.
The moral of this story – if you use hard “selling”, it just doesn’t work! And don’t forget the proofreading either!
For your business, that is.
It is often said in business that success is determined not by what you know, but by who you know. Relationship building in business is essential.
Word of mouth referral is responsible for 70% of business taking place! That is 70% of business activity is down to people who get to know you, like you and trust you, whether or not they have bought your products or used your services, they feel comfortable in recommending or referring you.
So that would seem a pretty fool-proof and economical way to grow your business; to make money.
Yes, but it doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time and effort – by you!
Effective and successful networking isn’t just about “the money”.
It’s about learning from your peers, sharing experiences and support. Which in turn all add to your well-being and that of your business!
If you are going to be successful in business, face-to-face networking is an essential part of your business’s marketing strategy.
So here are 10 Relationship Building Rules to make networking work for you:-
1. Regular Attendance
- Networking is about developing trust and relationships over time – so you need to attend regularly
2. Give and Help Others
- Be prepared to give and help others – what you give will come back three-fold – see where you can make connections for others
3. Genuine Interest and Listen
- Show a genuine interest in people and really listen – you never know who they know!
4. Follow up
- Always follow up contacts, by phone or email
- Arrange 1:1s – to find out more about each other and business opportunities – so always take your diary, whether paper or electronic, with you
- Invite business contacts to experience a networking meeting – spreading the word extends opportunities for everyone
- Circulate – don’t stay in your comfort zone
- Be prepared – have plenty of business cards, perhaps an A5 flier, and certainly have a 1 minute talk prepared – you can “wing-it” much later on! (let me know if you’d like a copy of the 1230 TWC 1 Minute guide)
- “Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement” anon
9. Information Networking
- Never go anywhere without your business cards; that includes supermarket, hairdressers, dentist, school gates, etc…. These are your informal networking opportunities.
- Treat your network, your relationships, like gold – don’t abuse your contacts
- Networking is not about selling, it’s about building the relationship. Follow the above RBRs consistently and it will work for you.
I would love to hear from you about your networking experiences and please share your own networking tips
1230 TWC MD Jackie Groundsell
Oh ***** away, *** off – you know the sort of thing.
My brain pinged the other day during a conversation as to what and when certain language is or isn’t acceptable. In the group were legal and HR people who explained how they had problems receiving perfectly legitimate emails, but because the topic was about inappropriate language their IT team had to make security allowances to enable the emails to go through.
Some time ago I attended a conference workshop where the trainer’s language was more than liberally littered with 4-letter words. At my table a couple of us found this inappropriate, others hadn’t even noticed. However, it did result in the conference organisers updating their Terms & Conditions for speakers addressing inappropriate language.
I guess it could be said that I’m sensitive to what I term to be bad language. As a child I recall being in a car showroom with my Dad and the cut-glass accented salesman using the word blo**y very frequently – bit of a no-no to an 8 year-old then! That said, I do have a go now and then and the family note it in their diaries!
So what is acceptable / unacceptable in business? Are there special circumstances? For me, it’s ok in recounting a story, without expanding the words used in full. It’s not ok to direct that phrase to someone else. Are there situations in business / public speaking where it is acceptable / unacceptable.
What do you think? What is / is not acceptable to you and when?
I’d love to know your thoughts on this – please let me know just email me