We’re living in a time when the economy rewards companies that disrupt old ways to create new models that drive financial success. One of the biggest trends in this disruption culture is what’s called the gig economy. The gig economy was created by companies that chose to hire contractors or freelancers for positions instead of full-time workers.
In theory, organizations save on their bottom line, and workers are supposedly given the freedom to set their own schedules and even work from home, where they connect with coworkers via collaboration software or email. It sounds ideal, but it can become problematic for the person looking for the gig. .
Projects by definition end, so they’re the perfect environment for someone looking to take advantage of the gig economy. While some projects are executed by teams under full-time employ of the organization initiating the project, more and more project managers are seeking distributed team who work on contract. If you’re one of those workers, here’s how to reap the rewards of a gig economy.
Create a Financial Plan
The uncertainty of not getting a regular paycheck is a heavy weight to bear. It’s stressful. Most freelancers talk about how it’s feast or famine. They’re always looking for work and never turn anything down, which can leave them overburdened and even unable to complete the assignment assigned. Of course, the reason they never say no is because they don’t know when the next job is coming..
According to a recent study conducted by the Harvard Business Review, the most successful contractors in the gig economy were those who cultivated four types of connections: place, routines, purpose and people.
Place is important because, as someone working in the gig economy, you’re either jumping from one corporate space to another or working in the isolation of your home. If you’re not working on site, it’s crucial to your productivity that you find a place that is dedicated to working and minimizes distractions.
Another connection is routine, which research has shown helps people focus and perform better. This means keeping a schedule, having a to-do list to structure your day, knowing which time in the day you work best and putting your more challenging tasks into that period.
Connecting to a purpose might sound like an idealization, but it’s actually a practical step towards success in a gig economy. If you can connect to work that speaks to your larger concerns, you’re going to be more motivated and your work will be stronger. It gives you a lodestar to follow, which provides stability and keeps you inspired.
Finally, and not surprisingly, staying connected with people is critical to one’s well-being and success. Other people aren’t just a way to socialize and make work more pleasant. They are the connections that can advance your career. They are role models that can help you learn. Social isolation is psychologically bad and could leave your career stagnated. Find people in your field, be they colleagues or friends, and cultivate relationships with them.
Not everyone feels comfortable tooting their own horn, but if you don’t make noise in the crowded gig economy, you don’t get noticed. That doesn’t mean being obnoxious. That’ll backfire on you. What you want to do is market your skills and make sure that there are always opportunities on the horizon, so you can choose your gig and not be forced to take something you don’t want.