The past year and a half has shown us all how things can rapidly shift. Whether you’re talking about your workout habits or your work habits, things change, and we have to change, too. One big shift we are seeing is the rise of the gig economy. The gig economy is just what it sounds like, people working gigs to make extra money, or maybe to convert into a new career. We know the rise of the gig economy is a real thing and that more and more people are getting in on the gigs. Read on to find out why it’s rising. And maybe you’ll see that the gig economy is for you, too.
Let’s talk about what the gig economy is
So maybe you are very familiar with the term, maybe you’ve heard it but don’t really think about it, or maybe it’s all new to you. Whatever the case, you probably know someone is making some money on the side in an independent nature. That’s the gig economy. If you google Gig Economy, you are going to get so, so many definitions. However, they are all tweaks of the same idea.
This one from Forbes tells us that the gig economy is made up of short-term freelance workers without geographical boundaries in regards to those employing them. Maybe it’s a proofreader in New York doing work for a client in London. This one from Celerative says the gig economy is defined by freelance and contract work instead of permanent positions. Perhaps you know an engineer who works short-term for a variety of different companies. No one hires her as an employee, instead, she works by contract. That’s a gig worker.
Some people are gig workers and don’t even realize it, and others make a full-time living from their gigs. These are all part of the gig economy:
- the yard guy doing your neighbor’s yard on an as-needed basis
- the Uber driver taking you to the airport
- your Door Dash driver bringing your dinner to you every now and then
- the dog sitter you hire when you go out of town
- the editor who finalizes your videos before you post them to your website
- the consultant who helps your teenager with their college essays
- the Etsy seller shipping the art you love for your home
- the writer who creates your written content for your marketing needs
- your personal assistant who works on call when you (and his other customers) need him
You can see, the gig economy reaches far and wide. It entails short-time work or self-employed work on an as-needed basis. If you own your own decor store, you aren’t a gig worker, but if you create art that you sell on Instagram and it earns a nice supplemental income, that’s a gig position. We also know it as the side hustle, and it is definitely seeing an increase in participants.
Some reasons for the rise of the gig economy
The gig economy really is nothing new. Think babysitters and dog walkers. Those are gigs, right? And that’s been going on for years and years. Around 100 years ago, jazz musicians coined the phase “gig” for their jobs of playing music. Then you heard any entertainer using it to refer to their shows. And of course, it became more widely used as people referred to second or part-time jobs as gigs, and over the past decade or two, it’s become pretty well used and much more familiar.
But why? Why have we seen this continued rise in the gig economy? Well, here are a few strong reasons:
People are learning that they don’t necessarily have to work for one company and one company only. The gig economy provides a semblance of autonomy and independence. Whether you are working a traditional job with a side hustle or solely invested in the gig economy, it provides an opportunity to work as you want, whether that means hours put in, the type of work you do, who you work with, or where you work.
Who doesn’t like a little extra income? Working in the gig economy provides a nice extra income and often it entails doing something you love. With the gig economy, you often can set your own rates and you are the one who gets the money. It’s a good way to fill extra time and get that extra money.
Put talents to use
One great thing about the gig economy is that it provides a way to use your talents while making money. Maybe you’ve always baked cupcakes for school events when your children were small. Now they’ve gotten older, but people still love your cupcakes. Take orders and charge for them. You’ll be happy baking cupcakes, and people will be happy eating them! Or maybe you’re a great carpenter and love to piddle around the house. Piddle around someone else’s house and make some money for your talents.
Hobbies turn into cash
Just like incorporating your talents into a side hustle, you can use your hobbies. Do you love volunteering at the Humane Society? Well, keep doing it, but maybe become a dog walker, too. Maybe you love podcasts…become a driver for a delivery service and you can listen all you want. Maybe you even love shopping – people will pay for someone else to run their errands, from groceries to wardrobe pieces.
Maintain a good work-life balance
This is something that means a lot to us here at Bunny Studio (we prefer to call it work-life integration). If you are part of the gig economy, you have more freedom than working in a traditional office. When your work-life balance is in harmony, you can be happier overall. This makes you more productive and feels better about your work and it benefits everyone around you, including yourself. For instance, maybe you can work when your spouse is home with the kids, even if your hours are a little non-traditional. This may keep your work and life better balanced.
You can work more than one job
With a gig job, you can work for more than one company or take on as much independent work as you want. Let’s say you edit videos. You may have a traditional job that has nothing to do with editing, but you can have a gig job editing. You man also do this as your traditional job and then work on your own on your off-hours. Or you can have a couple of contract positions. Or you can solely do this as a freelancer. There are so many options that you can easily find the one that works best for you and your personal situation.
You’re able to be more adaptable
These days it’s tough to always count on a position at work. Companies go under, positions get eliminated, things don’t always go just as planned. But when you are working on your own gig, you can have more control. You’ll learn to be adaptable and this will take you far in your professional life. You can adapt to current trends and adapt if something happens with your “traditional” job. With the rise of gig economy, we may all be taking on gigs before too long.
We can find more talent and have more choice with the rise of gig economy
For consumers, we are able to have more choices with the gig economy. Let’s go back to our cupcake mom. Sure we could go to our large grocery store and buy cupcakes, or maybe the local bakery. Or we can talk with the cupcake mom, get exactly what we want, support an individual, and have delicious cupcakes.
In the same way, companies can hire talent on demand without all the expenses and paperwork attached to hiring regular employees. This helps keep demand for gig workers high. This is why both companies and freelancers do what they can to protect this through law amendments such as Proposition 22 in the state of California, in response to the California Assembly Bill 5 (ABS5).
We can find specialized talent whether in our business world or in our home life within the gig economy.
Numbers on the rise of gig economy
We’ve been saying here that the gig economy is on the rise. But what are the actual numbers saying? When you take a look at statistics, they support us – the gig economy is on the rise and appears to be here to stay, at least for quite a while. Here are a few noteworthy stats:
- People love getting food delivered, and delivery is expected to make up 40% of total restaurant sales by 2023. That means we need food delivery people.
- With 54 million homes with dogs in them, dog walkers are coming more and more in demand. People want the best for their dogs and are willing to pay for good care.
- According to SmallBizgenius.com, there are around 57 million gig workers in the US economy, which accounts for 36% of all US workers. This article also shows us that people with higher degrees enjoy the gig economy – 41% of postgraduates participate in freelance work. For some, it’s their sole source of income while others work other jobs at the same time.
- Gig workers are seen as valuable members of society and the workforce.
- Millennials are up and coming in the workforce and soon will make up the majority of it. This age group freelances more than any other generation, and this may lead to another jump in the gig economy. Experts foresee that millennials will be about 75% of the workforce in the next few years. Millennials are also the generation most involved in the gig economy.
The bottom line on the rise of gig economy
With so many platforms and ways to connect out there these days, the gig economy seems here to stay. From writers to editors, photographers and consultants, from artists and chefs to swim instructors and dog walkers – all of these professionals have an easier time sharing their skills and finding work. Whether you decide to use social media to market yourself or join a gig platform, there’s a place for you to work or find who you’re looking for to hire.
The uncertainty of the year 2020 taught many of us to put our eggs in more than one basket. Or at least hold the basket ourselves. Our pros at Bunny Studio are top-notch gig workers and if you’re looking to join our team or have some work done, please reach out and let’s see what we can do. Remember, the gig economy is only growing, maybe it’s your time to get in on it.