While we know, from the research conducted, that the primary motivations for working a gig are related to the desire for flexibility and the opportunity to earn “extra” money, we also know that gigs can provide so much more. We take the position that there is no real validation for the words “extra money.” The words are simply used as a convenient way to explain how money can be earned working part-time or through flexible work opportunities. A very small percentage of the population may experience having “extra money”; however, there is no such experience for the masses. When income exceeds expenses, the additional income should not be considered “extra.” The positive difference between earnings and expenses should always fuel the savings and investment plan, not the spending plan.
Gigs provide learning. Knowledge can be expanded and even gained relative to something never done before. Skills can be perfected, and confidence enhanced without risk. As we continued to research and study, we also continued to learn and respect the gig economy as being much more than a gig opportunity. We often think in terms of dollars to be gained when one works, especially when the work is part-time. Gig-providing companies are also focused on marketing based upon dollars to be earned more so than knowledge and skills to be tested or mastered while earning a decent return on the investment of time.
As we continued to learn from our research and study of the gig economy, we realized the need to redefine “return on investment” or R.O.I. Measuring a return on dollars earned for time spent or even attempting to compare one gig to another is clearly an unfair comparison that may be a waste of marketing effort. R.O.I. must be defined from the perspective, objective and purpose of the gig worker. This is true for each type of gig worker. Those working transportation gigs will benefit from becoming very customer- and service-focused. Those participating in selling gigs will soon realize that good products seldom sell themselves, even if they are exposed to enough people. Exposure can be purchased in the form of advertising; however, any investment in advertising will increase risks and overhead.
During the writing of the manuscript, it became apparent that gig workers can master what advertising has never been able to accomplish: the building and cultivation of relationships.