Business is reinventing thanks to the concept of the gig economy. There is more and more automation owing to technological advancements which means companies now require fewer workers. Because of this, people need to find a way of making a living.
Some people may find it easier to find new jobs but others will turn into freelancers working for multiple companies. Millennials have embraced the gig economy saying that they prefer to be their own boss.
Granted, the gig economy tends to render the traditional job roles obsolete in some sectors but there is benefit to this. Some companies have actually embraced the gig economy allowing them to make use of workers with highly specialized skills sets.
Freelancers are offering companies the best way to compete. One of the main benefits is that companies have is that they are able to choose the perfect person for a particular task and make use of their services at the required time.
After all, why would you pay someone to sit at a desk all day waiting for the opportunity to prove themselves while you can get qualified professional for the task?
Some freelancers and contractors are not permanent, companies can only spend their resources as of when needed.
And if you want another reason to make full use of the gig economy think of increased productivity and efficiency. Companies pay on per hour basis which means that very little of their resources goes to waste. Also, in a company is not satisfied with the productivity of a worker, they can cut short the contract and get another more suitable freelancer for the task.
Even better is that there is very little training required. Freelancers already have the skillset needed to perform a task.
Now the gig economy doesn’t mean that companies will shut down. It only means that in the coming years we are going to see more companies take on outsourcing. This has already started to happen in large companies such as FedEx where over 20% of the workers are outsourced.
Once workers realize that they stand to gain more from freelancing than in their full-time jobs, the traditional roles are more likely going to change.
Businesses should not see this as a perilous change but rather as a shifting from the old ways and an opportunity to grow the business even bigger.
Setting the business up for the gig economy
As an entrepreneur you may have been considering the idea of hiring freelancers as a great way to stay competitive and remain efficient. However, perhaps it is now time for you to fully embrace the concept.
And this is how!
1. Breaking down tasks
The first thing you will need to do is to break down tasks into much smaller tasks. This makes it easier to find a good skill set for each individual task.
It is much more effective to find a freelance worker for a smaller task than one who can perform all tasks. The specialization of skills means that the end result is of far higher quality.
Let’s say for example a pharmacist wants a blog post on a complex and technical area. The best writer would be one that has the right skill set with a back ground in health. However, finding such a writer could prove difficult.
You can keep accepting proposals until you find the best writer or you could get material from a health specialist and then get a high-quality writer to put it down into an easy to read blog post.
It will all come down to understanding the task and what the business needs are. If you break down the task and remain flexible, you can get the project completed fairly easily.
2. Create virtual and open lines of communication with your freelancers
Communication is one of the most important factors when it comes to freelance workers. Without free-flowing communication, projects may not run as expected.
One of the best ways to ensure enhanced communication is by using technology. The technology could include video conferencing or just be about email.
Phone is great but you want to have an audit trail of previous conversations so as to reference in case of any misunderstandings or if you want to clarify something.
3. Leverage the expertise of freelancers
Part of having a healthy workforce is ensuring that everyone is engaged in the development of the company. Research shows high number of workers feel disengaged and if you want to reverse this, then you could integrate both freelance and full-time employees so that they work together for a common goal.
Freelancers have picked up plenty of skills as they work for multiple companies so leverage this and give them credit when something positive happens as a result of their skillset or when you take their ideas and put them into action.
4. Go to marketplaces that are best suited for your needs
The quickest way to find the right freelancers for the job involves searching in freelance market places. Companies can find a gig worker for the task in a matter of hours and freelancers can find jobs in as fast as 24 hours.
The trick is to find a freelancer market place that you can trust. Plenty of the platforms available are not vetting their freelancers which means you are going to have to go through rating left by other clients.
This however is not a highly reliable way for finding freelancers as the ratings may be left by companies who specialize in a different business to yours.
A single market platform may not provide you with solutions for all your tasks needs so it’s a good idea to register with multiple freelancer platforms. Even better is to find marketplaces that specialize in your individual company needs.
The business environment is changing and businesses need to get on board the gig economy train. Over a century ago, the industrial revolution came and changed how things were done. Eventually everyone had to conform to the new way of doing things.
Now the gig economy is here and it is expected to shape the business environment for the better.
Some stereotypes about freelance workers
For some businesses freelancer workers still haven’t appealed to their better nature. They still conform to the old ways. If you are the manager of a company and are stuck in this old thinking, they there is a chance that you may have fallen prey to some of the most common freelancer misconceptions.
The influence of freelancers and todays gig economy cannot be denied. It accounts for a significant portion of the workforce. Freelancers are nothing new, even with the old ways of doing businesses there were still contractors hired to perform certain tasks.
Then there was the recession and many people got laid off. Advancements in internet technology also happened at a fast rate. When western economies dropped more people found themselves in serious need for cash and there was mass embracing of contractor jobs.
Corporations were busy firing workers and freelancers were busy making ends meet. Then the millennials who never wanted to experience the pain of losing their jobs took over from their parents. Today over half the millennials population are freelancers.
Freelancers enjoy setting rates for their skills and being in control of their lives. What’s even better is that they make enough to live a comfortable life and go on holidays.
On the other hand, companies welcome the idea of not having to rent extra office space, pay benefits or even pay for training.
The relationship could never be more mutually beneficial. However, there are still some stereotypes that get in the way of businesses embracing the gig economy.
1. Freelancers cannot perform complex tasks
Some people tend to think that it’s hard to find a highly qualified freelancer for the task at hand. The truth is that it is actually possible and quite simple to get the right freelancer.
More than half of all freelancers come with associate degrees. This means you can access workers who have just about any type of skill that you are interested in allowing you to easily fil gaps in your organization.
If one of your IT guys quit his job, all you need is to find an IT specialist who has some of all of the skills needed for the task and the business continues to run as normal.
It’s important to note that freelancers themselves will create their own niches. This allows them to specialize and become great at their work. As the old saying goes, jack of all master of none!
This means that if you get a freelancer that specializes in a section if the tasks, they will be able to provide you with high quality work.
2. Freelancers want short term contracts
This is yet another myth that needs to be dispelled. Many entrepreneurs think that freelancers are here today and will be gone in a few days. Granted freelancers are not for a full-time employment but they also believe in longer term contracts.
Freelancers are more than willing to continue with the contract for as long as the business relationship is ideal. As long as the terms are met by both sides, then you could have a freelancer work for you for months and sometimes even years.
3. Freelancers are not loyal
It’s very true that freelancers do not have bosses that are always on their case but what is also true is that freelancers can be very loyal to their clients. When it comes down to it, it is the clients that the freelancer depends on to make income.
Freelancing is more like having multiple supervisors instead of the usual one at the permanent job. While they aim for more flexibility, they are not willing to lose a valuable source of income and this is why they can be incredibly loyal.
They are fully aware of the fact that if the freelancer does not perform their job to the best standards, they will be replaced by someone who will.
Thus, the high-quality freelancers are always maintaining good lines of communication with their clients and put them first.
So, when you have a position that needs to be filled, instead of going through the usual recruitment process, why not give a freelancer the task? You may end up spending less and getting more quality work such that you become a big fan of the gig economy. You may even decide to make the majority of your workers freelancers.
How to Get top value form your freelancer
Having a freelancer work for you is not only cost effective for your business but also allows you to scale as the business grows and to easily cut ties when the task has been completed. However, you can only make the most of the relationship by upholding a few main factors.
Tips to thriving in the gig economy for a gig worker
Many freelancers will agree that ten years ago, they would not have been able to make as much as they do now. The combination of the internet and companies that embrace the concept of the on-demand workers, the gig economy is now a thriving place for anyone who has skills.
Freelancers attest to how the gig economy can completely change people’s lifestyles. Some freelancers double what they used to earn in their full-time jobs by working fewer hours. There is more personal time available by being able to set their schedule and they enjoy having more control over their jobs.
What to consider
There are plenty of advantages to the gig economy but there are also many issues and factors that need to be considered if you are going to work as a freelancer. The first thing that anyone interested needs to understand is that future revenue is uncertain.
While it is possible to get a long-term client that offers you plenty of work, this is not always the case. For the average freelancer, you will need to hustle in order to ensure a steady flow of clients.
Another thing to consider is that you will not get any benefits as is the case with the traditional jobs. Because of this it is up to the freelancers to find their own health insurance or retirement savings, as well as vacation time.
Even with the whole idea of independent working the reality is no one is completely independent and you will be accountable to someone. While this could be simple and straightforward, plenty of people think of freelancing and automatically their mind thinks of freedom. Remaining realistic is crucial.
However, that said there is really a lot of freedom as you get to choose your work hours and as you balance this with our private and personal time. But this is where you need to be careful. The last thing you want is to have overdue work and your client sees you posting photos of your lasts surfing adventures on social media.
This goes without saying will create some tension. Keep your personal life private and always complete work ahead of time.
When freelancing its important to work like you are on vacation. But what doesn’t this mean? Minimizing distractions, prioritizing your work, and remaining open for anything.
It is easy to overestimate or underestimate the quantity of work that you can get done in a day. Most freelancers do this. However, after you’ve gained experience, you will be able to judge just how much on average you are capable of competing in a day and plan your schedule around this. Things get complicated when you promise a client that you will have completed their work after a couple of days only for it to take a week.
A way to get around this is to always under promise and over deliver. For example, if you think that work could take a couple of days, you can promise to deliver within a week. If you do manage to finish within a few days you can then send work in earlier. The client will always be delighted that you always deliver ahead of time.
As much as freelancing is about short-term contracts, repeat business is always a good thing as it spares you the time and effort needed to send proposals and come to agreement with a client. Always deliver quality work ahead of time so your current clients ensure repeat business.
This needs special planning.
The gig economy isn’t just for the young
Many people might think that the future is for the young and we have all seen how technology has influenced how work is done. The gig economy is now seeing more adaptability and flexibility in careers.
And this is not just with the millennials but with the older generation as well. In fact, you could argue that it is also very well suited for the boomers. They can boost their income before getting to retirement.
We can see this in the taxi industry where some drivers as old as 74 are still making ends meets as uber drivers.