There’s an economic boom going on right in front of our eyes, and lucrative opportunities are being created for those who recognize and embrace them. Forbes, Wired and Bloomberg are calling this boom “the Gig Economy”.
This boom is desperately needed. Our modern economy has been plagued by two trends that have been hurting employees–
- The current way people earn a living — dedicating your life to one job that leaves you less than fulfilled, with the hopes of someday escaping the “worker-bee” grind through retirement despite minimal savings — is becoming an unfortunate reality for a growing number of people.
- Due to improved cloud software and productivity tools, businesses don’t need to hire as many employees to get the same amount of work done
The Gig Economy and the companies leading the path are solving both of these problems by connecting businesses willing to pay for specific services with people willing to offer those service. In turn, our economy improves as businesses get the services they need at better prices and people get to earn money in a much more fulfilling, flexible and lucrative manner.
How the Gig Economy will benefit business & startups
Due to limited resources, startups must operate as lean and efficient as possible. Between the rise of cloud software and crowdfunding, it should be no surprise that we have seen a rise in million-dollar one-person businesses. A “one-person business” usually means one owner-operator with no employees, even though most hire outside help from freelancers and contractors. The Gig Economy allows not only one-person businesses, but all startups to find perfect matches for outside help quickly, at a fraction of the cost of hiring a firm or a full-time employee.
“The ‘Gig Economy’ is not a trend,” said Rich Pearson, Chief Marketing Officer at Elance.com, “it’s a new way of working. Startups are regularly tapping into specialized talent on demand, resulting in faster time to market and lower costs. We’re now seeing larger companies hiring teams of freelancers online, creating opportunities that wouldn’t have existed otherwise. By 2020, we believe 1 in 3 people will be hired online.”
This is a trend that will continue to grow. Workers who make themselves available for this sort of work will open up endless possibilities for themselves, including financial freedom and location-independence.
How the Gig Economy will benefit workers
Some people don’t want to start their own business but still want the flexibility of working for themselves. Some people want or need to make some extra money on the side. The Gig Economy will help both of these groups of people. Thanks to new platforms ushering in the Gig Economy, it’s not only possible, but easy for people to make a little cash on the side — sometimes magnitudes more than what they are making at their full-time job– just by making themselves available on these platforms and choosing jobs they would like to do. Imagine having a job where you only do tasks you want to do, and ignore the tasks you don’t want to do– that’s freedom.
Here are some companies that are bringing us forward into the gig economy, and some of my suggestions on how the entrepreneur as well as the average individual can take advantage of these new platforms–
OLD ECONOMY: Monetize your skills with a fixed salary
NEW ECONOMY: Monetize your skills with infinite potential
SkillShare – marketplace for video courses from experts
CreativeLive – marketplace for video courses from experts
LiveNinja – marketplace for video courses from experts
Udemy – marketplace for video courses from experts
AudioJungle – marketplace for audio files, beats, and background music
OLD ECONOMY: Trade time for a salary at your employer’s will
NEW ECONOMY: Trade time for money at your will
Clarity.fm – connects people with various experts for a quick phone call
Odesk — marketplace for freelancers of various virtual tasks
Fiverr — marketplace for services, starting at $5
TaskRabbit — marketplace for local tasks and chores
UrbanSitter — marketplace for babysitters
Mandy – marketplace for videography and photography projects
OLD ECONOMY: Use your assets as you need them
NEW ECONOMY: Monetize assets when you don’t need them
Uber – On-call personal drivers for a fraction of the cost of a cab
Lyft – On-call personal drivers for a fraction of the cost of a cab
Airbnb – Rent out a couch to crash on or an entire home for a temporary stay
SharedOffices — Marketplace for shared office space
OLD ECONOMY: Stagnant Job Growth
NEW ECONOMY: Flexible Job Creation
Obviously different people aspire for different lifestyles– some people want to own their own business, and some people’s dream job involves earning a steady paycheck from an employer. The beauty of these new platforms is that not only are they providing more efficient and affordable labor for startups and small businesses, but they are also providing new ways for people to earn a living. Not everyone would be happy earning their living from these new platforms, but for the people that are, they can. By doing so, they aren’t taking away the traditional salaried jobs from people who are happy with that type of employment. Everyone has a job — more importantly everyone has a job that they are happier with — and everyone wins.
This type of innovation is a perfect example of how great the private sector is at creating jobs– smart entrepreneurs and talented programmers will continue to solve problems, create jobs and grow our economy, so let’s support them as best we can.
Thoughts? How have you used these platforms? Please share your story, or any platforms I’ve missed in the comments below!