After the success of companies like Uber and Airbnb, many others have tried to capitalize on the rush of shoppers and workers ready and willing to use their smartphones to find and post gigs. These companies often rely on contract workers, who work on their own schedules and are not legally considered employees.
While this has come with its own set of complications and controversies, this allows potential workers the flexibility to work (or not) whenever they choose.
Maybe you’re a musician that teaches lessons and creates jingles on the side when you aren’t touring with your band. Or perhaps you’re a student that drives with a ridesharing service to pay your way through school (or, let’s get real, at least pay your room and board). If so, you’re one of countless others that can benefit from the work offered through the so-called “gig economy.”
As Forbes magazine has reported, by 2020 43% of the U.S. workforce will work freelance in some capacity or another. As a freelance worker in the gig economy, you’ll be part of a larger trend in the workforce, but is freelance work right for you? Read more to find out.
The Benefits of The Gig Economy
The biggest draw to freelance work is the flexibility that it offers. You can work whenever you want, and depending on the nature of the work, wherever you want as well. If you have a particular passion like photography or web design, freelance work can give you an opportunity to either supplement your income while you chase your dreams or get some money doing the things you love while you work a regular 9 to 5 job.
You’ll also have a lot of variety to your workday and won’t have to worry about a boss criticizing your work because YOU get to be your own boss!
There are certain gigs that make up what is called “the sharing economy.” When consumers choose to rent pre-existing resources like a bicycle from a neighbor, rather than buy brand-new products, it decreases the need for consumer goods for the benefit of the environment. Much has been written about the environmental benefits of the sharing economy, for better or worse.
The Downsides to The Gig Economy
Working as a freelancer means you need to be able to prioritize your time and push yourself to work hard, which can be a challenge if you don’t have a set schedule. You’ll also be without benefits like a 401(k) retirement plan or medical insurance, so you’ll need to cover savings and healthcare costs on your own.
You’ll also not be covered with the same legal protections when you are working as a contractor instead of an employee. So if you’re injured on the job, for instance, you won’t be able to file for workman’s comp. Several companies that operate on-demand apps have been faced with lawsuits over classifying their workers as independent contractors instead of employees, so this remains a bit of a murky legal area that may change over time.
Where Can I Go to Find Gigs?
If you’re looking for ways to find freelance gigs, you have numerous options out there, particularly with websites and apps that connect freelancers to customers. I’ve assembled lists on my blog such as Jobs Like Uber: 15 Alternatives for Freelance Work and Sites Like Airbnb: Make Extra Money By Renting Out Your Humble Abode that can help steer you towards potential gigs.
Each week I have new articles and videos right here on the Thrifty Squad blog that will provide you with new ways to make extra money and save extra money.
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