The gig economy is a term that refers to an economic model in which people are paid for short-term tasks or “gigs” instead of traditional long-term employment contracts. The gig economy has given rise to popular platforms like Uber, Airbnb, and Taskrabbit, which connect workers with businesses or individuals who need their services.
The emergence of the gig economy and its continued market expansion of it had changed the landscape of freelancing as a whole, and there are ways for you to benefit from this occurrence, regardless if you are a freelancer or are already aware of the gig economy.
Rise of micro-enterpreneurs
The gig economy is having a profound impact on freelancing. In the past, most freelancers were self-employed individuals who worked independently to provide their services to clients. However, the rise of the gig economy has given rise to a new breed of freelancer—the ‘micro-entrepreneur.’
Micro-entrepreneurs are individuals who use platforms like Uber (where median pay can be around $38 000) and Airbnb to sell their services in small increments. For example, a micro-entrepreneur might use Uber to give rides to passengers for a few hours per week or use Airbnb to rent out a spare room in their home for guests.
Knowing that simply owning a car or a spare apartment (or even a spare room) can be used to make money both actively and passively, this new type of freelancer can easily be you. All it takes is to register for an app that suits you best and do the work or rent your resources out.
Getting paid per task
The gig economy is also changing how freelancers are paid. In the past, freelancers were typically paid by the project. However, with the rise of platforms like TaskRabbit, they are now often paid by the task. This change in payment structure means that freelancers now have to be more aware of how they spend their time so that they can maximize their earnings.
For example, a gig economy platform JumpTask seeks to provide the benefit of this change for both freelancers/gig workers as well as businesses. On the business side of things, various companies can relay their big projects to JumpTask, where the tasks at hand would be split into smaller parts and provided to the community for completion.
Needless to say, gig workers/freelancers get paid for doing these tasks. A simple example of how it could work is translating texts or doing research on the state of the market. In the case of translations, a company would need to specifically hire a translator just for this single project.
To avoid this, they can relay the task and ask the community to translate small portions of the text using a crowdsourced effort. As for the research, instead of hiring a research firm or going through a large marketing campaign via email, they can put up a survey for the global workforce to answer for a small reward.
Of course, since the platform is free to use and anyone can join, this means that you can also start earning money by completing small tasks that are offered by JumpTask via their partners.
The future of freelancing
The rise of the gig economy has led to an influx of new workers into the freelance market. This increase in competition has driven down prices and made it harder for traditional freelancers to find work.
It has also changed how freelancers are paid, with many now being paid by task instead of by project. The future of freelancing is likely to be more competitive and task-based than it has been in the past.
Now, whether or not you were freelancing before or are more prone to support this new shift towards the gig economy-based market, which is in constant expansion, this move can be very beneficial either way.
By shifting focus toward concrete tasks as opposed to large projects, it would mean that having specialized knowledge of certain subjects may no longer be a requirement in order to gain some money for your work.
Small tasks and quick payments for them mean that, in order to fully utilize the gig economy, businesses will need to provide tasks that could encompass the largest number of people. And the largest number of people online are the ones that do not have specialized knowledge. When you do freelance work, it usually means having some expertise in one field or the other.
The gig economy is having a profound impact on freelancing. The influx of new workers into the freelance market has driven down prices and made it harder for traditional freelancers to find work. The future of freelancing is likely to be more competitive and task-based than it has been in the past.