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Strategies for Establishing Yourself in the Gig Economy

Are you looking for a way to work that offers flexibility and freedom?  Engaging in a gig role can be just the ticket. While performing in a freelance or short-term position isn’t a new concept, thanks to the gig economy your opportunities for finding success in those roles are booming.  With some basic strategies you can set yourself up for a fruitful venture.

Options and opportunities.  More Americans than ever are participating in gig work, with some statistics reflecting as many as 53 million Americans working as freelancers and about a quarter finding work through platform businesses.  Gig work offers the freedom of being your own boss and setting your own schedule. Some gig employers offer regular work, just minus the benefits of a traditional workplace.  Some gig workers remain rotating from one new position to another, or taking on work from many companies at the same time.

If you’re ready to try your hand at gig employment, you should engage certain strategies to ensure success.

Task management.  One of the keys to success in gig employment is appropriate task management.  Freelancers Union notes that gig work can test your ability to prioritize.  If you struggle with sorting your responsibilities, you can make lists of daily, weekly and monthly tasks so you don’t become overwhelmed.  It’s important to develop a form of tax management and invoicing strategies so Uncle Sam doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. For instance, many gig workers find using an invoicing app vital to managing finances on their own (some are even free).  Take advantage of the terrific tools available to ease your workload and stay organized.  Also, don’t overcommit yourself. By taking on more work than you can complete successfully, you risk not only sacrificing your personal life, but you also risk maintaining proper performance with the work you’re engaging.  

Set a schedule.  When you leave the structure of a traditional work environment to pursue your own venture, you need to find ways to set and maintain a work schedule.  As Business Insider points out, this is particularly true if you take on work from several different clients.  It’s important to commit to a daily schedule that maximizes your energy and work style.

For instance, if you’re a morning person, the early part of the day may be your most productive time to tackle difficult tasks.  Or, if you can’t relax until the bulk of your workload is framed up, do so early in your workweek. At the same time, you don’t want to neglect your personal life, so conscientiously schedule work days and days off.  Some experts suggest using time management software designed for freelancers in order to stay on track.  

Save for rainy days.  Participating in the gig economy has its pitfalls, and the insecurity of functioning outside a structured workplace, as well as not participating in traditional benefits, can make for a precarious lifestyle if you don’t manage your finances.  Since your income could be irregular, saving money for lean times can provide peace of mind, not to mention food on the table.

Establishing separate accounts for your work and personal funds is wise, and since there won’t be an employer setting aside funds for taxes and future financial needs, such as retirement, schooling, or a vacation.  If you don’t already have your savings in place, one suggestion is to remain thrifty until those funds provide a cushion.  Once your rainy day savings account is established, you can loosen your purse strings without risking your basic financial obligations.

Keys to success.  Wise choices can make the difference when jumping into the gig economy.  Prioritize well, set a schedule, and manage your money carefully. Engaging in gig work can be challenging, but with successful strategies in place you can thrive! 

Guest Contributor:  Lucy Reed,

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