How to Make It as a Freelancer in the “Gig” Economy

How to Make It as a Freelancer in the “Gig” Economy

The gig economy definition is a type of labor market where individuals have employment on a short-term period or for a specific mission. Gig workers can include independent contractors, freelancers, and other temporary workers. This type of employment is often desirable for people who are entrepreneurs.

If you ever considered gig labor, you should be aware of the pros and cons. You will also want to follow the best freelance practices should you want to support yourself financially. Check out how to use the gig work to your advantage. 

About the Gig Labor

The gig worker definition includes any worker who receives a 1099-C tax form instead of a W-2. Gig labor is typically temporary, but some contractors work full-time for years with several clients.

The gig worker meaning can depend on the type of work they perform. Types of gig economy workers include the following:

  • Freelancers
  • Independent Contractors
  • Consultants
  • Temporary Workers
  • Seasonal Workers

Almost all types of gig economy workers are self-employed. They can choose their payment rate, the number of hours they work, and clients. However, they are also responsible for paying all of their taxes, whereas employers pay a portion of employees’ tax responsibility.

What It Means to Be a Freelancer

A freelancer is a professional contractor hired to complete a specific project. Most freelancers sell services, such as writing or graphic designs, in place of products. They must follow their clients’ requests and typically work alone.

This type of worker is self-employed even if they work for someone else because they are not contracted like full-time or part-time employees. However, they do not receive employee benefits, such as paid time off, health insurance, or a portion of taxes paid.

Freelancers set their rates, whether hourly, per project, or by another system. For example, a freelance writer may set a rate per word.

What It Means to Be an Independent Contractor

Independent contractors also set their hours and rates, pay their own taxes, and do not have employer benefits. However, they differ from freelance workers with multiple clients. Contractors often only have one client since they perform large jobs that could last weeks to months.

There are independent contractors in several different fields. For example, some doctors are contractors who are not employed by the health care facility where they work. The physician will send the patient a bill for their services, and the hospital or office will send the patient a facility bill for using the resources and equipment, such as medicine and supplies.

What It Means to Be a Consultant

A consultant is a type of independent contractor. Consultants provide professional advice in a specialized area. An organization will hire a consultant to analyze a situation to provide recommendations. Consultants are experts in their field.

They troubleshoot problems, streamline processes, and improve the organization’s functioning. For example, a marketing consultant will offer advice on how to increase sales and conversions while lower costs. Consultants have the experience and know-how to problem solve.

Whereas an independent contractor creates something, a consultant shares their knowledge. A consultant may travel to different areas as part of their job since the hiring organization values their expertise.

What It Means to be a Temporary or Seasonal Worker

Temporary and seasonal workers are independent contractors that usually have employment for a prearranged time. Companies hire them to do tasks, but they are not employees. Often, temporary workers take an employee’s place, such as after having a baby or experiencing an illness.

As the name suggests, seasonal workers have temporary employment that lasts for a season. Some examples of seasonal workers include summer camp counselors, holiday gift wrappers, and tutors. 

Seasonal work could be good for employees who only work a portion of the year. A teacher may pick up a summer job when they are not working during the school year.

Maximizing Income Working Gigs

Working in the gig economy can be tricky if you do not know where to start. The first step in gig labor is to find clients and get them to hire you. Getting clients is similar to apply for a position as an employee.

Many gig workers find clients online through websites like the following:

  • Upwork
  • People Per Hour
  • TopTal
  • 99designs
  • Fiverr
  • Freelancer
  • Fancy Hands
  • FlexJobs
  • Guru

Certain industries have websites dedicated to freelance work in that profession. For example, freelance writers can find work through sites like iWriter, FreelanceWritingGigs, and FreelanceWriting.

Likewise, you can find gig work through several applications, including the following:

  • Uber and Lyft workers drive customers to their destination. The app connects drivers to riders and takes a percentage of the ride price.
  • Instacart, Amazon Flex, and Postmates workers make deliveries like groceries, parcels, and food and drinks. 
  • Uber Eats, Grub Hub, and DoorDash workers deliver customers’ food from local dining establishments. Drivers pick up meals from fast food, casual, or formal restaurants to deliver to the customer.
  • TaskRabbit and Handy workers do small jobs for clients, such as shopping, home repairs, cleaning, and assembling furniture.
  • Dolly workers help clients move items. Workers may assist or solely move personal or retail goods to a new home, a storage unit, or a junkyard.
  • WAG workers walk customers’ dogs.

The gig economy offers opportunities for individuals to work when they want. Individuals can sign up to be a worker and then log into the application when they have the availability to work.

Tips for Working Gigs

As a freelance worker, you will need to prepare for certain situations. For example, you miss out on employee benefits like health insurance. You can get medical coverage through the Health Insurance Market Place or Freelancers Union, Inc. (FU) if you live in certain states.

You should also be prepared for rejection. Certain jobs have a lot of competition, and an organization may pick someone who has more experience or a better portfolio. If you want to transition to freelance work, it is a good idea to have money saved to float you until you pick up enough clients.

As your own boss, you need to hold yourself accountable. Set working hours and stick to them. Although your time is flexible as a gig worker, you only earn when you work. 

Keep track of your earnings. You will need to pay quarterly taxes to the government, and failure to make timely tax payments can result in penalties and fees. 

By Admin