Staying Competitive In The Gig Economy
Ten years ago working “gigs’ was reserved for performers and those teetering on the ledge of unemployment. With today’s technology enabling us to acquire just about anything at the drop of a hat, the world has seen new meaning to the term “gig employment”. From traditional freelance positions like writers and electricians to more recent online platforms such as Uber, Lyft and GrubHub, the gig economy is estimated to be about 34 percent of today’s workforce and expected to grow to 43 percent by 2020.
With this increasingly popular trend of side jobs and the potential profit that comes along with them, staying successful in the gig economy requires a competitive edge.
To help you stay ahead of the game, we’re sharing some of our top tips for success.
As with any career, getting your feet off the ground begins with presenting yourself, and your abilities, to the right people. Understanding what skills are in-demand at the moment and how you can personally fulfill those needs is the first step.
However, don’t get discouraged if you don’t currently possess the desired skills. Many people working in the gig economy take online courses or training to qualify themselves before getting started. Once you have a grasp on which field you want to work in, marketing yourself is key.
There are various industry-specific and open-ended sites available which put freelancers of all kinds in front of the right hiring organizations. The more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities you open yourself up to.
The most successful self marketing comes through finding ways to emphasize things that differentiate you from the competition. Developing your personal brand is the first step in this ongoing process.
It’s not unlikely to go through various iterations of your business before settling on the one that you feel is the most attractive but once you do, it’s important to remain consistent.
Establishing a strong brand presence can not only help you uphold credibility but build up your client pool. When satisfied clients can easily refer you through social media or email you can utilize those recommendations to your benefit. Remember, your best clients can be your best spokespeople, so don’t be afraid of requesting testimonials and sharing them as demonstrations of your work quality.
With the growing popularity of freelance work, staying competitive in the gig economy is largely about who you know. Broadening your circle by interacting with other freelancers as well as potential clients will help you learn a lot, and build a stronger referral network.
In our hyper-connected world where engaging with someone doesn’t require an actual face-to-face meet up, utilizing social media is a great way to build up your network. Everything from Facebook and Instagram to LinkedIn and Twitter can serve as a platform to show off your professional portfolio and connect with others.
Focus on building good relationships.
People are always looking for quality service they can trust, and will be more willing to share your services with others if you make an impression. These relationships can lead you to unadvertised opportunities you may not have been aware of.
A simple recommendation is creating unique social media accounts for your gig work. Show off what you offer and give your clients an opportunity to easily connect if they want to book your services. Along with building connections, networking is also a great way to learn and practice helpful business skills like communication and mentoring, as well as improving confidence.
Hold Yourself Accountable
72 percent of millennials prefer to be their own bosses, and in the gig economy that is one of the top perks. However, it’s far too easy to make excuses when you make your own schedule. Keep in mind that staying competitive in this field requires strong determination. It’s crucial to remember what a good employee looks like and not lose site of those traits when there’s no one to report to.
Being on time, maintaining a professional attitude and holding yourself accountable for delivering the quality of service your clients expect all contributes to success.
Aside from the importance of proper presentation, good self-management is essential for growing your career in the gig economy. Without the typical team structure providing support, you can’t just focus on the product or service your delivering. You also have to be in charge of sales, marketing, client relations and everything else that goes into your personal brand.
Never get to comfortable as your own boss to maintain a competitive advantage.
As automation technology continues to advance, workers of various occupations will eventually have no choice but to find new fields of employment. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company believes as many as 800 million adults worldwide will be affected by automation in the workforce by 2030.
As the gig economy grows and competition get tighter, stay alert and adapt to the latest trends and opportunities. Implementing these three practices to help keep you afloat and find success. There is a lot to learn about the gig economy, but done correctly you can find a lot of enjoyment in your career. We hope this helps get you there!
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