How to Get Started in the Gig Economy in Three Steps

2018 has been referred to as the “retailpocalypse” due to so many well-known companies going out of business. Many traditional “brick and mortar” businesses including Sears to Toys R’ Us are shutting their doors and laying off their employees. Sadly, this is leaving many workers wondering if they should start proactively seeking new jobs. With so many stores closing and so many people losing their jobs, many people are fearing that another recession might be on its way. How can you continue to make ends meet when the job market and the economy are so uneasy?

One solution might be found within the gig economy. The gig economy is another phrase for doing short-term or freelance work and it’s something that has been on the rise. Forbes has even called the gig economy “essential to business growth.”

If you’ve made the decision to join the gig economy, here are three steps to help you start building your own successful gig-based business.

1. Have a Plan

In Guy Kawasaki’s book, The Art of the Start, Kawasaki advises that any new business owner should start by asking two questions: “Why am I starting this organization? Why should customers patronize it?” Knowing these answers will help you get into what Kawasaki calls the “entrepreneur state of mind.”

2. Hire a Mentor

Having a business mentor is crucial to success. The founders of some of the most successful businesses in the world, including Google and Apple, all had business mentors of their own when they were first starting out. As reports, multiple studies have pointed to a link between business mentorship and entrepreneurial success.

3. Don’t Do It ALL Yourself

As a business owner, you’ll have enough on your plate. Resist the urge to do everything yourself. Hire a business lawyer. Pay contractors to assist you with completing the work, if needed. Rather than trying to manage your finances on your own, you might consider using a free tool, like Square’s invoicing app. By taking advantage of the variety of free tools and apps available to entrepreneurs, it’s easier to keep overhead costs low, which is especially important when you’re first starting your business.

Need ideas for starting your own business in the gig economy? You might start by freelancing or taking on short-term contract jobs. You could also make money off your hobbies and side projects. For instance, you could start an Etsy store where you sell arts and crafts. If you’re less crafty and more tech savvy, you might take a few coding classes and start a side business by designing websites for friends, family, and clients.

The vast majority of workers who get started in the gig economy are primarily interested in short-term contracts or “on the side” freelance work. However, that doesn’t mean your gig economy prospects can’t turn into full-time, long-term work down the road. Half of all millennials are already participating in the gig economy, seeing it as the job market of the future, and the gig economy is predicted to become the majority of the workforce within the next 10 years.

Many people have successfully taken the leap from corporate America to freelancing full-time. Who knows? You might get involved with the gig economy just to make ends meet, only to fall in love with its freedom and flexibility. Will you decide to go full-time freelance and never look back? Or, do you simply need a side hustle to help pay the bills for a few months? Either way, the gig economy can be a great solution that brings more flexibility, fulfillment and financial freedom to your life.

Lucy Reed has been starting businesses since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s driveway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college. She created GigMine because she was inspired by the growth of the sharing economy and wanted to make it easier for entrepreneurial individuals like herself to find the gig opportunities in their areas.