The Gig Economy: How To Make Money Fast

by Menka Dimitrovska, Lifestyle Columnist


Published in Lifestyle and Money on 25th June, 2018


A fourth of Americans are already taking advantage of the "gig economy."

The opportunities for work are endless, starting from being a personal shopper, virtual assistant or even driving strangers in your own car. You can make some extra money, or even make a living working on short-term or long-term "gigs," sometimes without leaving your home.

If you're here to learn how to make money fast online, you've come to the right place. It today's article I'll try to not only cover what the best jobs in the gig economy are, but also the best sites where you can find your first gigs, and start making some serious money fast.

The Changing Nature of Work

Technological change and advancements have really affected employment, productivity, and income inequality. This has created a perfect opportunity for a big change in the nature of work itself.

What does that mean for you?

What these modern practicalities and changes have led to is the evolution of virtually all employment models.

This means more freedom, more options, and definitely more flexibility. The freedom to choose whichever project you want to do, and organize your work load by yourself it's what's made people interested in the gig economy in the first place.

changing nature of work

Here are some of the more significant ways in which the nature of work has changed:

  • Work is now more associated with a specific activity rather than a specific place. Since you can do most jobs from basically anywhere, your office doesn't really need to have a specific location;
  • Workflow can now be less structured, and more spontaneous and natural, which changes the office dynamics;
  • Time and work hours are becoming less structured as well, leaving it mostly up to the employee to make his or her own hours, leaving the traditional 9-5 office hours in the past;
  • BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is now becoming a more and more popular method, which not only saves employers money, but it makes it easier for people who've developed individual preferences and habits, by allowing them to use devices of their choice, and bring them to work.
  • The traditional 9 to 5 schedules have been replaced as more and more people are starting to work on their own terms;
  • And there's so much more that's yet to change. So much so that by 2020, more than 40% of the U.S. workforce is going to be made up of freelancers.

That's because we are all looking for ways to make some extra money, or ways in which we can replace our normal 9-5 job with a more flexible one. That's why a lot of people are starting to get side jobs or gigs that help out with that.

The way we work is starting to change dramatically.

The gig economy is starting to catch people's interest, by creating endless employment options and possibilities to earn some extra cash or even make a decent living.

What Is The Gig Economy?

A gig is a task or project that's assigned to someone. There are short-term and long-term gigs, and some that are just a one-time thing. However, the main difference between a gig and a traditional job is the fact that you are not an employee of the company or individual that hired you; you are simply an independent contractor, which basically means you are your own boss.

independent contractor

Gigs have been around for ages, starting with babysitting, tutoring or even dog walking and are not new to any of us. They are however booming right now, and the reason for that is mainly because of the prevalence of apps and websites that make it easier for workers to connect to their customers, like Uber or Shipt, and sites that help freelancers find gigs in every possible field of work.

Gig Economy vs Traditional Economy

1. Flexibility

One thing you can most definitely count as the biggest benefit of the gig economy would definitely be the flexibility it offers. No other 9-to-5 job can compare.

People are getting more and more into the idea of working from home, and setting their own work hours to fit their schedule.

2. Options

The opportunities for freelancers are endless nowadays, which is why most people choose to leave their steady 9-to-5 jobs in order to build their career as a freelancer. People have the freedom to choose gigs they feel passionate about and fit their skills perfectly.

3. Safety

Opposite to the general opinions of the public, gig-style employment can offer the same safety as any traditional job can. Employers value the rising talent and higher quality of today's freelancers and they often end up collaborating with a lot of them long-term, providing them with a safe and steady job once they prove their skills and value.

4. Income Consistency

Not everything is milk and honey when it comes to gig-style employment. One of the risks that come with not having a "traditional" job is facing periods where you don't get a lot of tasks and projects, therefore less money in your pocket. Those are some of the more common risks associated with working as a freelancer. Your work doesn't always depend on your performance; sometimes the client might decide to give up on the project, and therefore end your contract, or simply might not have any tasks for you anymore.

This means that you'll need to search for new available gigs, have a few interviews and hopefully get some new projects lined up soon enough.

5. Additional Costs

Freelance contractors aren't required to pay additional costs related to their employee's work, like health insurance or taxes, which will be the employee's responsibility, and will take a toll on their paycheck.

6. Job Protection

Sick days, severance pay, disability leave, and other similar benefits and protections go out the window once you decide to quit your job to become a freelancer.

There are a few more risks that are associated with the gig economy, but the most significant of all is the fact that it's much easier for employers to end both full-time and part-time projects, sometimes without even a warning or a notice. However, this is also true for employees. They also have the option to easily terminate a contract with their employer, if they're not satisfied with some of the conditions.

How to Make Money Fast in the Gig Economy

Some fields are a better and more natural fit for gig or tasked-based jobs than others. Here's a list of some of the most popular gig economy jobs where you can make money online fast:

  • Writing
  • Photography
  • IT
  • Graphic design
  • Customer support
  • Social media marketing
  • Virtual assisting
  • Office management
  • Video editing
  • Website development and testing
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Ethical hacking
gig economy

Some of these gigs are especially lucrative, and can make you up to $60 or $70/hour, and won't even require you to get out of your house.

There are however options for those who don't think that working online is the best fit for them:

  • Transportation
  • Shopping
  • Food delivery
  • Grocery delivery
  • Pet care, pet sitting and walking
  • Caring for elderly people
  • Room rental (Airbnb)

Best Sites for Gig Jobs

There are tons of different sites where you can find part-time and full-time gig jobs with flexible hours. You can even work on a few different projects at the same time, as there are a lot of new job offers and projects posted each day.

There are some websites that specialize in particular fields of work, while some are more general. All you need to find is the perfect site that lists jobs that you want, register, create a profile and portfolio (optional) and start looking for jobs that fit your skills.

Don't be discouraged if it takes a bit more time to find a gig at first, as once you start working and building your relationships with your clients, work will find you, and not the other way around.

Here are some of the most popular websites where you can look for all kinds of different gigs:

Fiverr

Fiverr is one of the largest freelance networks, where you can look for jobs in a variety of fields, including graphics & design, digital marketing, writing and translation, video & animation, programming, business, music and much more.

fiverr

Freelancer.com

Freelancer.com offers tons of job opportunities, including graphic design, internet marketing, writing, website development and a lot more. The way Freelancer.com works is job seekers place bids of job listings they like, and if their bid is accepted they get the job.

Upwork

Upwork works in a similar way as Freelancer.com, and has the similar fields of work. You can get paid on an hourly basis or work for a fixed price.

upwork

If you get a job that pays by the hour, you will need to track your time or enter your hours manually in your work diary. It's as easy as that. The great thing about Upwork is that the whole payment process is streamlined, so you won't have to worry about submitting an invoice to your client or anything like that. Upwork takes care of all that for you. The only downside is that you pay 20% of your earnings to Upwork for your first $500 earned from a client, 10% between $500.01 and $10,000 and 5% once you exceed $10,000.

Guru

Guru offers thousands of freelance jobs and gigs and makes it easy for quality freelancers and employers to connect and collaborate safely and flexibly.

Here are some of the fields of work that Guru covers: business & finance, law, administrative jobs, sales & marketing, programming & development, design, writing & translation and a few more fields.

There are a few more sites that are not as general as the ones I mentioned so far:

Behance.net

Behance.net is a website where creative people can showcase their work, including creative illustrations, graphic design, branding, art direction and photography.

behance

You can search for gigs and part-time work by field, company, keyword or location.

Gigster

Gigster has tons of available jobs for people that are searching for IT gigs, especially software development. The sign-up process is a lot harder than on the sites we mentioned so far, and they do have a rigorous screening process before you get accepted as a freelancer, but the pay is a bit more lucrative than most freelance sites.

Toptal

Toptal is another site that offers a lot of gigs for people in IT, as well as in finance. You also have to go through screenings upon submitting your profile, which only a percentage of people pass, but once you're in you can expect to find a lot of nice job positions in IT and finance.

toptal

How Much Can You Earn?

Now, let's get to the question that was probably on everyone's mind while reading through the article.

Although the payment depends a lot from one gig to another, according to a recent survey by Payoneer, freelancers worldwide make an average of $19/h.

Freelancers who work in finance, IT, or provide legal services make an average of $28/h, whereas freelancers in customer support make around $11/h.

The research showed that nearly half of the people who were surveyed work 30-50 hours per week, and around 80% or more focus on up to three jobs at a time.

What are the Benefits of Working in the Gig Economy?

People, who decide to get into freelancing and the whole gig economy, state some of the following reasons and motivations that got them into gig work in the first place:

  • More flexibility
  • Having a better balance between work life and home life
  • Being your own boss
  • Opportunities to grow and learn all the time
  • Better pay
  • Less stressful environment
  • A chance to organize their own time
  • More meaningful work appropriate for their skills
  • Greater respect by their employers

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