The Gig Economy – what is it and are you READY?
I have been reading several articles about this NEW Gig Economy. So when one blog pointed me toward a definition on Whatis.com – I was intrigued. Here is their definition:
A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.
The trend toward a gig economy has begun. A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors. There are a number of forces behind the rise in short-term jobs. For one thing, in this digital age, the workforce is increasingly mobile and work can increasingly be done from anywhere, so that job and location are decoupled. That means that freelancers can select among temporary jobs and projects around the world, while employers can select the best individuals for specific projects from a larger pool than that available in any given area.
For those of us who love tech and connecting dots… This scenario sounds completely plausible. The question that should be asked is… how will it impact me? For the longest time people have been saying => holding the same job for 30 years and then retiring is now a thing of the past. Well the Gig Economy is that on steroids. To embrace it, you will need to accept a rather gypsyesque work life style. For me, an extrovert, I look at the possibility of meeting people in new situations as fun, but I know not everyone shares this sentiment. The main thing to focus on is… are you ready and if not, what can you do now to prepare?! Like the definition stated => your employers do not have to simply make a selection from the applicants that work within a certain “mileage radius” of your office, the world is now their oyster… Bottom-line ==> taking steps to help ease into this gig-economy would be wise. I have taken the liberty of making a few suggestions to help you prepare…
- Start Your Own Side Business
May I STRONGLY suggest => Starting your own side business, even if you only take one or two customers a year!! This will not only better your skills at your current job, it will get you used to working with different people, in different scenarios.
- Start Going to Industry Meetups
I remember a time when going to a “networking” group meant hanging out with people who were there because the topic 'kinda' sounded interesting. Things are VERY different today!! Besides the fact that you can promote your new side business (wink wink), everyone knows that networking is the key to keeping your options open these days!! You will meet quality people who know that in the Gig Economy, "who you know" just took an exponential leap. (Tip => you can “LinkIn” with people in your industry, who you can do projects with and get to know better for that next Gig opportunity) *LinkedIn is much better than a business card exchange #justsayin’.
- Get Active on *LinkedIn AND Your Profile Filled Out!!
For those of you who have been ignoring social media for business. LinkedIn is one social network you can NOT ignore. And NO just parking your resume and never going on the site => doesn't count! Start looking at this very dynamic network as a LOT more than that, it is where people are connecting, making deals and moving forward in the 21st century!! (Tip => get active in a couple of industry related groups – contribute answers to set yourself apart as an industry thought leader)
- Make a Goal to Become 100% on the Cloud
To be completely comfortable in the gig economy, you will want to be very familiar with mobile apps and being able to work from any device, at any time!! You should start moving your work files to the cloud so that this way of contributing content is second nature to you. (Tip – add Microsoft's 365 or Google's GSuite apps to your phone)
- Start Using a Collaboration App Like Slack!!
This is an important one, email is so 20th Century… Programs like Slack enable you to communicate with a team in the cloud and share documents, etc… Slack just happens to be the Tech industry's collaboration app darling right now, but there are several of these apps out there. The important thing is to learn how to use them like a communication portal and try to replace emails with this type of communication. (Tip – are you involved in a club or volunteer at an organization? Set one up for the group – it is typically FREE ;~D)
These are just a few ideas I had, but the main thing is => the more you embrace the ability to have a nomadic work culture, the better you will survive in today’s digital work landscape. Questions or want to add an idea?! Be sure to comment below!!