Snagajob's Ultimate Guide To Gig, Flexible & Freelance Jobs

Katy Boyles |
Katy is our Social Media Manager at Snagajob, where she loves talking to hourly workers and employers all day long. Her first hourly job was as a hostess.
Categories: Flexible

The modern careers aren't traditional nine to five as people explore the gig economy for more freedom and flexibility. As a freelancer, you can make your own hours perfect for students, parents, or those looking to pave their own path towards a more independent career. Working freelance can be a short-term solution or a long-term career path. Learn more about the gig economy and the best freelance websites for gig workers. 

What is a Gig Worker?

A gig worker is a freelancer, working contract jobs for clients and companies. There are many different types of gig workers, from traditional freelancers, such as freelance web developers or freelance copywriters, to Uber or Lyft drivers or even pet sitters. Freelancers typically get work through freelancing websites sites like Fiver, Upwork, and Guru, where you can get paid to write or work as a freelance designer. The meaning of a gig worker can be a freelancer but also extends beyond remote jobs to temporary contracts or part-time employment, working on-site or in an office. 

What is the Gig Economy?

The gig economy is the labor force of short-term and part-time workers that companies hire temporarily, contracting freelancers rather than full-time employees. When it comes time to look for a job, not every professional is looking to commit to 40 hours a week as a full-time employee for a year. Many people are choosing the gig economy and rather be a freelancer than a full-time employee. As a freelancer, you can work either part-time, temporarily full-time, or project-by-project for different companies. Most people get gig work through freelancing sites and apps. Gig workers are often remote when working on sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Guru. Snagajob is one of the best freelancing websites for on-site gig workers for local in-person jobs. 

Working as a Freelancer

When companies hire Upwork freelancers or Fiverr freelancers, these are contract employees. As a freelancer, you do not typically have benefits and work through a freelancing platform like Guru. You may work on a one-off project like a Fiverr freelance logo or a longer-term collaboration for a freelance web designer on Upwork. By the gig economy definition, these jobs are "gigs," which is different from a full-time job. Typically a freelancer can make their own hours, working on one or more platforms, choosing what projects they want to work on and how many hours they want to work with each client. Freelancers have more flexibility and freedom than full-time employees working for a particular company. Freelancers often can work remotely, as many workforces are not currently in office, and the stigmas around remote work have shifted. 

Best Economy Platforms for Online Work

Fiverr: Best for fixed-price projects, ex. graphic design)

Upwork: Best for building a reputation and working short-term contracts for clients)

Toptal: Harder to join, but best for working with prestigious corporate clients

Guru: Best for different payment options, offering recurring or task-based payment Best for working with small businesses 

Best Economy Apps for In-Person Work

Snagajob: Search a wide variety of gig jobs in different categories.

Petcare: Rover, Wag!

Rideshare: Uber, Lyft

Food Delivery: Uber Eats, Seamless, Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash

Grocery: Instacart, Shipt

Delivery: Amazon Flex, Roadie, Dispatch, Skipcart

On-Demand Jobs: Wonolo, Shiftgig, WorkMarket

Tasks: Taskrabbit, Handy, Thumbtack

Types of Gig Workers

Freelancers compared to gig workers typically work remotely online, such as freelance designers or freelance copywriters. A gig worker's meaning is someone who does non-traditional work, working either freelance or as an independent contractor. Gig workers often work part-time or full-time but under a contract, not as full-time employees. 

Freelancers fall under the umbrella of gig workers, but there are other types of gig workers. The kinds of jobs suitable for a gig career are any freelance or contract job. Many people choose a part-time job that someone uses to supplement their income while they're in school or have entire careers working contract like a massage therapist. 

The most popular types of gig work: 

  • Consultant (marketing, legal, communications, public relations, human resources)

  • Caretaker

  • Tasker 

  • Freelancer

  • Pet sitter

  • Rideshare driver

  • Delivery driver

  • Grocery Shopper

  • Mover 

  • Tutor

  • Virtual Assistant

  • Artist

How Much Can you Make as a Freelancer or Gig Worker?

According to Statista, the gig economy is expected to be worth 455.2 billion U.S. dollars by 2023. More people are shifting to flexible jobs and working outside of the traditional nine-to-five landscape. Some gig workers such as consultants or programmers are highly sought after and could charge $150 per hour or more in the right niche. When working on freelancing sites, typically, you can start charging more as you build your reputation, work with repeat clients, and have positive reviews. A Fiverr freelancer could charge anywhere from five dollars for a logo or $250. Gig jobs like delivery drivers or grocery shoppers working for larger platforms typically make above minimum wage, and the pay is location dependent. An Uber Driver in Los Angeles or New York City will earn more than an Uber driver in a small town. 

Top Five Gig Economy Benefits

  1. Flexibility: Many people choose to work in the gig economy because of its flexibility over when and where you work. 

  2. Work for yourself: Freelancers and contract workers have the opportunity to act as an entrepreneur and work for themselves rather than a company, finding clients and landing new contracts. 

  3. Work-life balance: Gig workers get to make their own hours, leading to a better work-life balance. Gig work is popular for students and parents, as they can create a schedule that works for their lifestyle and commitments. 

  4. Specialize in what you enjoy: Freelancers can choose to do one thing really well and charge more for that rather than working on a broader scale. A freelance graphic designer can work on Fiverr and become one of the top-rated logo designers. 

  5. Test out different companies: Contract workers have the unique opportunity to work for different companies, often part-time, with less commitment than a full-time employee. While you may be offered a full-time job, later on, you get to see what it's like to work for each company. 

Five Biggest Drawbacks of Working in the Gig Economy

  1. Lack of benefits: When working as a contract or freelance employee, companies do not typically offer benefits such as healthcare or paid time off. 

  2. Job Security: Most companies offer set contracts and severance for full-time employees who are laid off or fired, but as a contractor, there is less job security (even though it is often easier to find another job or contract). 

  3. Applying for jobs: Compared to an employee that is regularly assigned work, when working on freelancing websites, gig workers typically have to apply or bid for jobs unless they have established a relationship with a client and are working part-time for a set contract.

  4. Reviews Matter: Many gig workers work on a tip or commission basis as delivery or rideshare drivers. A bad review on a freelancing platform like Upwork or Fiverr can hurt your reputation and your earnings as a freelancer. 

  5. Career Relevance: Depending on what type of gig you choose, it may not be in alignment with your overall career goals. It's becoming more common for freelancers to build their career of specialized contract work. Still, other gigs like dog walking or grocery delivery may be a short-term way to earn an income rather than a stepping stone in your career.