Photo via Pixabay by Darkmoon1968

Nowadays, more and more people are finding that their jobs either aren’t fulfilling their creative desires or they aren’t paying enough; some are turning to start their own businesses, utilizing online tools to get their service or product to the masses. With developing technology going at its current rate, it’s easier than ever to put your business in the spotlight and make it a success.

But what if you’re just looking for short-term or part-time work? That’s something millions of Americans face, either as they retire and find that they just need a little extra to get by or as they look to supplement their current income. Many of these individuals love their day jobs but are looking for ways to make extra money to put into savings or to pay off a large debt. That’s where the gig economy comes in. Whether it’s driving for a rideshare service or doing freelance work online, working a “side hustle” can help you earn extra money and maybe even find a new career.

Here are the best tips on how to get started.

 

Create a plan

Because the gig economy is so vast and has so many people working within it, you’ll need to come up with a good plan for breaking in. Think about what you’d most like to do: if you’re creative and are good with words, freelance writing is a wonderful way to make some extra money from home. Artists can pick up side work doing calligraphy, photography, or creating custom portraits for clients, while accountants can take in some customers during tax season and make a pretty penny. Think about what you’re best at, and look for markets in your area. Is there a need for your services? What is the competition like? Get familiar with the gig economy in your city, and do a little homework before making any decisions.

 

Plan out your time

Knowing beforehand how much time you can put into your new gig is extremely important. Some jobs will require more dedicated time than others, and while you can usually set your own hours, that isn’t always the case. Learn what will be asked of you, and make sure you can fulfill your commitment before taking on any new job.

 

Cut out distractions

Working for yourself–which is essentially what the gig economy is all about–means setting your own hours, working from home or unsupervised, and being responsible enough to get the job done without checking in with an employer. That’s why it’s important to cut out distractions to ensure that you can finish your work, since having a home office can actually make it harder to get things done. Let your family know that when you’re working and when you’re not to be disturbed and keep your professional and personal lives as separate as possible.

Working from a coworking or shared office space can be a very economical way to cut out distractions and still be productive. You can find all possible options at Kowrk.

“People fail because they don’t create a space and time to do whatever it is they need to do,” says one writer at Harvard Business Review.

 

Market yourself

One of the most important parts of gaining followers and clients in the gig economy is to learn how to market yourself. Creating a healthy presence on social media and attracting a customer base is a major step, but you should also have an engaging website that lets people know who you are and what your business is about. An important part of website design is having a logo that gives customers an idea of what you do at a glance and keeps you in their minds long after they’ve left the site. But what if you don’t have fancy graphic design software? No worries. With online services like Oberlo’s, you can create your own compelling logo for free.

 

Be reliable

A huge part of gig economy success is being reliable. Customers won’t come back if they find that you can’t be counted on or if you can’t keep a promise, so make it a point to be on time and commit to your business model. Try to be open and accommodating as much as possible, and go out of your way to wow them. This is important because many companies are wary of hiring someone remotely simply because it takes a huge amount of trust.

 

Get organized

It takes a lot of planning and organization to work in the gig economy. As a self-employed citizen, you have to take special care with your taxes and lay out money for health insurance and startup costs yourself. Make sure you keep all your paperwork neat and that your work area is well-organized so you can stay on top of all your responsibilities.

 

Don’t work for free

That may sound silly, but many people find themselves in awkward positions when they first get into the gig economy or when they start their own business. Friends and family ask for favors or commission your time only to back out of paying you when the job has been done. Clients might even request your services and then try to barter or get you to lower the price. The best way to prevent this is to make your terms of service clear and request payment or a deposit up front. You can also refuse to become professionally involved with friends and family; some people find this is the easiest way to prevent issues.

 

Take time for yourself

Working for yourself can be extremely difficult, and it may even feel overwhelming sometimes. It’s important to take some time to yourself when you can, either by practicing a hobby you enjoy or simply relaxing. Incorporating self-care into your daily life will help you reduce stress and will allow you to be the best version of yourself possible, which will, in turn, help you run your business more effectively.

 

Make connections

Making connections and networking will help you find allies in the business world who can help you when it comes to marketing, finding the right customer base, and making the right decisions in order to be successful, so make an effort to find conventions and other events that you can attend throughout the year. Connect with others on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, and maintain those profiles every day so that potential clients can find you easily.

 

Stay engaged

Staying engaged with your customer base is more than just posting on social media; it’s also about sending follow-up emails, staying in touch with them during the time you’re working on their project, and maintaining a professional relationship throughout the entire process. This will ensure that they return and will help create great word-of-mouth promotion for your business.

 

Getting started in the gig economy is a great way to make extra money, and it can even take off and become something bigger. It takes a lot of dedication to make it a rousing success, but starting with a good solid plan will help you create exactly what you have envisioned.

(This is a guest post by Lucy Reed <lucy_reed@gigmine.co>. If you would like to contribute an original article, just get in touch.)

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