What is the Gig Economy?
Technology has opened so many doors in the world of work. Our tech-oriented lives have led to something called the gig economy.
You might have heard the term thrown around here and there, but what does it actually mean? How does it affect you? Is this “gig economy” thing good or bad?
Let’s pop the hood.
Gigs and the future of work
Instead of part-time or full-time work, the gig economy is based on short-term gigs or jobs. The gig economy is done largely on a freelance basis by an independent contractor instead of, say, an employee of a company.
For example, you’re participating in the gig economy when you drive for Lyft, rent out your extra room on Airbnb, or assemble IKEA furniture with Taskrabbit.
While many people crave the predictability of part- or full-time employment, there are a lot of good things about the gig economy.
Let’s break down the pros and cons so you can see if gig-style jobs are right for you.
Pros and cons of the gig economy
You’re basically your own boss with a gig-based job. If you want to roll out of bed at noon and answer to nobody but yourself, the gig economy is perfect for you.
Heck, you can work as much or as little as you want. You’re not expected to put in a certain number of hours every day; you can show up where you want, when you want.
Keep in mind that, depending on the gig, you might have a little less flexibility if you need to work with regular clients.
Enjoy the sunshine, hear the birds sing and do work that fulfills you. No day is the same as a gig worker. You might drive a millionaire to the airport one day and walk six dogs the next. Every day is full of possibility and adventure, which is more than what you’d get at a traditional 9-to-5.
Great earning potential
Here’s the thing about the gig economy—you earn money based on your work. Dedicated hourly workers can make a full-time living with gigs, sometimes earning six figures! You don’t have to ask for a raise with the gig economy, either; you can give yourself a raise.
As a gig worker, you’re an independent contractor. Platforms like Uber, UpWork, Rover and more don’t give healthcare benefits to gig workers because they aren’t employees.
Legally you’re considered a contractor. So, if benefits are a big deal to you, the gig economy might not be right as a full-time gig. (You can still try a gig as a side hustle, though!)
You have a lot of potential to earn money as a gig worker. However, you only earn what you work for. Gig work is a little scary because you don’t have the security you’d normally enjoy at a full-time job.
If you get sick or injured, your earning potential goes away. This is the reason why many full-time gig workers pay for disability insurance.
Did you know you still owe taxes on your gig earnings? Uncle Sam wants his cut, so be sure you know how to file quarterly self-employment taxes as a gig worker.
Don’t forget to do this! If you do, the IRS will apply a not-so-fun penalty when you file annual taxes in April.
The bottom line
The gig economy is perfect for people looking for flexible work arrangements. Become a gig worker to make a full-time living on your own terms.
As great as it is, the gig economy isn’t for everyone, so make sure you understand the pros and cons before striking out to become an Airbnb superhost.
Pumped to find your next gig? Great! See what gig-style jobs are near you.