3 Quick Tips for Joining the Gig Economy
Gig work — including freelance and contract work — has become more and more popular in recent years, especially amidst the coronavirus crisis. After millions of Americans were left unemployed, underemployed, or furloughed during the pandemic, some of these workers set off to build their own gig-based businesses as work-from-home virtual assistants (VAs), freelance writers, online tutors, customer service representatives, and delivery drivers.
If you’re ready to join the gig economy, there are a few things you’ll need to know in order to get ahead of the competition and achieve success as a freelancer or contract worker. Check out these three tips from MagicPay to start building your successful gig-based business!
1. Get Ready to Work from Home
There are several gig economy jobs to be explored if you’re ready to get started as a freelancer or contractor, and many of them offer the flexibility to work from your own home office. In order to productively work from home, however, you’ll need to purchase many of the same items you would use in a traditional office setting. These items include an ergonomic desk and office chair, file cabinet, task lamp, printer paper, and other things like pens and notebooks.
You may also need to invest in a new computer if you’ll be working from home. Most desktop computers perform better than laptops — and they typically cost less. However, TechAdvisory points out you’ll give up some portability, so weigh the pros and cons of each before deciding.
Other tech investments to make when starting out may include a new wireless router, computer monitor, keyboard, mouse, and apps for tracking time, managing projects, and recording your invoices, expenses, and quarterly estimated taxes. For gig workers, The Balance Small Business recommends accounting apps such as Quickbooks, Xero, and Wave Accounting.
2. Get Your Financials in Order
Once you’ve set up your home office and invested in all the tech tools and supplies you’ll need to comfortably and productively work from home, your next step will be to get your financials in order. Consider taking the following financial steps as you prepare to join the gig economy:
- Calculate the cost of starting your gig-based business.
- Create a budget that factors in everything from your business utilities to your rent, food, and other household bills.
- Keep a personal record of all business expenses and income, even if you work for a third-party service (like Uber) that tracks everything for you.
- Understand your tax obligations as an independent contractor.
- Look into how to form an LLC to protect personal assets.
Depending on your situation, you may also need to compare health insurance policies and set up a retirement plan such as a traditional IRA, Roth IRA, or solo 401(k). An experienced financial advisor can help you to understand your options and make the best possible decisions as you move forward.
3. Know Where to Look for Work
Now for the most important (and exciting) part: looking for reliable, high-paying gig jobs! Depending on the type of gig-based business you’re starting, you could try reaching out to your personal and professional networks to inquire about available opportunities, cold pitching prospective clients, or joining a service such as Upwork, Fiverr, TaskRabbit, Postmates, Amazon Flex, Uber, or Lyft. If you work on building a social media presence and creating a professional portfolio, clients may even start coming to you!
The Bottom Line
The gig economy is growing, but with that comes fierce competition. To succeed as an independent contractor or freelancer and stand out above the rest, it’s important to stick to a routine as best as possible, maintain a healthy work-life balance, establish a private home office space, and continue to sell yourself — even when work is slow and you’re thinking of giving up. Gig work can feel much more fulfilling than a traditional office job, but it requires a lot of self-motivation and persistence.
Connect with MagicPay for more solutions that get your business growing!