Gigs can be life-changing

One of the great joys of working on a book is the opportunity to study and look into the lives of others who have experienced the topic of study. Some of the stories we became aware of were life-changing for those involved. One of the network television morning shows highlighted the story of a couple, professionals working full-time jobs who embraced gigs to accelerate the payment of debts. Most amazingly, their gig work, in addition to full-time jobs, made it possible for them to pay off over $100,000.00 in debt within eighteen months.

We believe it is important for gig workers to be clear on their purpose for working a gig. Gigs can and should be much more than the opportunity to earn a few more bucks. Working a gig without a purpose, we hypothesize, probably leads to spending more to do more.

The stories of those who work gigs to bridge the gap between the amount earned and the amount spent during a typical month are the foundation of the gig economy. Those who use a gig as a learning experience who have gone on to develop significant micro-enterprises are exciting! From cutting one yard at a time to becoming a multi-million-dollar enterprise maintaining the parks and landscape of a city is an example of stories that have become dreams come true. One of our most enjoyable interviews was with a successful direct seller who, after 30+ years of working and building her direct selling business, retires as a multi-millionaire embarking upon a new career of speaking and coaching others who desire to follow in her footsteps.

As we found the stories and met the people behind the stories, we also realized how gigs could be life-changing experiences. I can remember when part-time work was considered an indication that you were not earning enough on one full-time job. Because of our research, we know that a tiny percentage of the working population believe they are earning enough because they are spending more than they earn. With the emergence of the gig economy, the stigma associated with working part-time or doing something that allows flexibility and freedom in how work can be done is perceived very differently. Gigs have become cool. 

This insight is important to understand because it can impact a company’s marketing focus, especially the purpose behind the income opportunities a company may create in the marketing and selling of its products and services when gig workers/independent contractors are utilized. As discussed in the book, we did not find enough of a focus on managing money. We believe that working as an independent contractor without purpose and sound financial management of the additional money earned tends to lead to higher turnover, shorter lifetime value, and loss of real customers who may even adopt a negative view of the brand when the person they had interacted with suddenly disappears. This evaporation of service that had been provided often confuses the customer; however, our observations and predictions envision a more serious gig worker who is learning to value the ability to control the working relationship and the value of the relationship with the customer. This will lead to continuous improvement that both consumer and gig worker will benefit from. The gig providing company will benefit because turnover may be minimized, productivity and lifetime value of both consumer and worker may increase as a result of the gig worker having a strong purpose for doing the work.

The future of work may look more like a gig

Organizations like McKinsey and Deloitte have been giving us a glimpse of what the future of work will look like for over ten years. Well, the future is here! Pre-COVID, we already were on a pathway to a workforce far more flexible than ever before. The pandemic has accelerated that trend.

As we discussed in our book, Ultimate Gig, human resource professionals have been employing the idea of flextime for more than a decade. Within a traditional work environment, flextime was primarily about working from home during hours that the worker typically would be expected to be in the office or manufacturing facility.

Gig work, on the other hand, is much more than an opportunity for workers to perform their tasks when they choose.

Researchers have documented how robots and artificial intelligence are increasing productivity in how products are manufactured but also in how they are managed, sold and put into the consumer’s hands. The facts are the need for employees is and has been shrinking for many years. The idea of measuring employment by metrics that only count those involved in traditional full-time employment (over 30 hours per week) is already antiquated and about to become extinct. Contracting with talent and expertise who desire to work as an independent contractor is growing and is forecasted to continue to grow.  These new advancements and happenings have been integral to the strategic planning process for government, organizations, and all business models.

Those who provide the benefits associated with traditional employment have consistently increased the cost of the products they make available, making it more challenging for any business to function without raising prices on the products and services they make available to consumers. This begins to sound like a doom loop; however, advancements in the way we use technology and the birth of what we describe as a digital economy have reduced the cost associated with work and how we market products and services. The gig economy provides labor that is willing to influence consumers and/or provide goods and services that consumers need. Gig workers do not expect to be treated as employees because flexibility, not adherence to specific work hours, is a primary motivator. For gig-providing companies, this labor force becomes available without the burden of the portfolio of benefits that all employees expect to receive. As we found when conducting our research, over 51% of all companies surveyed plan to use more independent contractors or what is often referred to as “alternative labor.”  Companies like Upwork and Fiverr do not provide gigs; they have built very successful enterprises capitalizing on the abundance of talent that prefers to freelance vs. work the traditional hours associated with the 100-year-old industrial economy model. Upwork describes itself as the world’s largest remote talent platform connecting freelancers (gig workers) with those who need the talent. The listing of work possibilities on their website is enormous.

Gig work is the popular label, but the breadth and depth of gig opportunities go far beyond being just a part-time job.

Insight #2

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Insight #1

Life is a great gift and every human is given great gifts! This has been documented and proven through the ages. The One Course is not a promise that you will find wealth and riches. Money is a measurement of how well we are doing at managing our lives. It does not take the wealth […]

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