Anyone following the world of careers these days will see companies and workers shifting toward a Gig Economy, an increasingly popular model of work that’s organized around projects instead of jobs. Here’s what you need to know about this emerging ecosystem and, more importantly, how to find fulfilling work in the Gig Economy.
I recently explored the topic of the Gig Economy in a podcast called Don’t Retire, Refire, hosted by insightful and entertaining speaker and consultant Alf Priestley. With this podcast and his work, Alf aims to give older workers fresh ideas about what they can do in their “retirement” years, so that they can do something meaningful with the next chapter in their lives.
LEARNING ABOUT THE GIG ECONOMY
Alf and I spoke about the Gig Economy as an option for people not yet ready for traditional retirement, although, in fact, it’s being widely embraced by workers of all ages as a flexible, interesting option for career growth and fulfillment.
You can listen to the podcast here to learn more about the Gig Economy in general (don’t forget to subscribe to Alf’s podcast on iTunes if you want to hear more about his work):
In our conversation, I had mentioned that one way to find contract work is to use gig platforms to find contract work opportunities, and I thought it would be helpful to share a few examples.
HOW TO FIND WORK IN THE GIG ECONOMY
The good news is, you don’t need to look too far to find contract work that helps you thrive in the Gig Economy.
All of the major job search engines (Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, etc.) and other non-job-board sites that offer job listings (Google, Craigslist, etc.) give you the ability to search for contract work. Many of these sites have specific search settings for contract/part time roles, but if they don’t, you can just include the word “contract” in your search string (ex: “contract accountant”).
POPULAR / GENERAL GIG WORK PLATFORMS
Once you’ve done a simple search for contract work on the major job sites, you can then turn to the gig platforms that have cropped up to serve as a matchmaker between contract worker and the companies who hire project staffers.
These general sites for contract work show a broad range of roles that lend themselves to freelancing. At the same time, these broad sites may not have the more highly specialized/highly paid roles that you’ll find on niche sites (more on that below in a minute).
Many of these gig economy platform sites require that you get paid through the site itself, and not directly by the employer. Most take a small(ish) percentage fee out of your project cost (paid by the company or person who hires you). Some charge a small up-front fee for background checks and/or membership.
Some examples of the most popular general gig work platforms:
NICHE GIG WORK PLATFORMS
Depending on the type of work you do, you may also want to dig beyond the general gig platform sites to see if there’s a contract platform that specifically focuses on your niche. I’ve included a few here, but a simple web search can help you determine whether or not there’s a platform made for your industry.
An example web search might be something like: “contract sales job platform.” Or, you can use a back-door trick and search as if you’re the hiring company, for example: “hire sales contractors.”
If a platform exists for your sector, you’ll find it on page one or two of your web search results.
Here are examples of niche-specific sites (there are MANY more, these are just a few):
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ENTERING THE GIG ECONOMY
A few things to keep in mind about your gig economy contract work search:
Although many completely legitimate sites exist to help you connect to satisfying work, there are still scams and questionable “opportunities” out there. Do extra research on any site that asks you for money up front (some legitimate ones do require a small subscription fee or a background check fee), particularly those that cost more than $100 total.
USE MORE THAN ONE SITE
Some people prefer one particular job site or portal, and that’s fine if you do. But if you’re first starting out in the gig economy, it pays to experiment with different sites to see which brings you more work and which has the types of projects you enjoy the most.
OPTIMIZE YOUR PROFILE
Your gig-platform profile, something you need to fill out to offer services on any of these sites, is your new “resume” – and it will make or break your chances of success on the platform. You’ll need a good headshot, a killer summary of your expertise, and a clear and compelling story of how you can help your target client/organization. If you think you may need help creating a digital gig portfolio or summary, reach out via our Coach Finder– one of our coaches can help you build a great gig economy profile.
When you first heard about the Gig Economy, you may have immediately thought of lower-skilled work like Uber driving, TaskRabbit furniture assembling, or package/food delivery. Although those are good options for many who want to bring in some income, they’re just the tip of the iceberg. With just a little bit of digging, creativity and persistence, you’ll find many more Gig Economy resources that will help you find satisfying work that’s intellectually stimulating, well-paying, flexible and independent, from early career well into typical “retirement” age.