Gig workers are on the rise because of the flexibility and profitability of being their own boss. Do you have the necessary career skills to thrive in this work environment? The gig economy has survived Financial Crisis (2008) and Coronavirus (2020) and thrived. While gig workers are rising in Singapore, there is still a stigma about being a freelancer or independent worker because of its association with freelancing or temporary contract workers.
Will it change your perception of the gig economy if you are introduced as a solopreneur? Many specialized consultants and highly-skilled Independent Contractors and Professionals have joined the ranks of the gig economy.
The truth is, the gig economy is not for everyone. To succeed and thrive in the gig economy, you need a specific mindset and career skills.
Sectors that harness gig workers include asset-sharing services, transportation-based services, professional services, and handmade goods, household and miscellaneous services such as tutoring, home services, and online shopping.
Benefits of being a Gig Worker
This post is not intended to advocate for gig workers, but to highlight that the gig economy has its advantages and is beneficial to individuals who want any of the following:
- You want time flexibility to create work and home-life balance for yourself.
- You want to enhance skills that are not supported in your corporate responsibility.
- You want to pursue your hobby/passion.
- You want to facilitate the transition in your career.
- You want to earn a secondary income.
Some examples of gig workers include social media influencers, property agents, financial consultants, technology experts, digital media entrepreneurs, and creative professionals (eg. designers, writers, photographers). If you are not sure if gig work is for you, talk to the ones who are and you’ll be surprised by how satisfied they are with having a career as a gig worker. Here are some advantages:
- Opportunity to work with highly attractive employers
- Acquire new skills along the way
- Connect with other experts
- Gain a wider professional network
Being a gig worker is different from being employed. To thrive in the gig economy, you need different skill sets to be successful in a freelance world.
1. Initiation (Self-Direction)
Working in the gig economy means that you have to be able to work without the guidance of a boss telling you what to do. You have to direct yourself – set goals, create outcomes, and bear the responsibility for both success and failure. (
2. Agile Learning
In the gig economy, skills matter. The more skills you can sell, the more money you can make. Freelance success depends on your ability to continue to grow your skills and to incorporate new ideas and new information into your work.
Digital natives such as Millennials and Generation-Z workers are exposed to various technology growing up. Hence, it seems like they are more adaptable to the gig economy. Gen X-ers who are receptive to learning and adapting to new technology will do well in the gig economy. (Walter)
3. Flexibility & Adaptability
Aside from the need to learn quickly and be open to continuous learning and new ways of thinking, those in the gig economy tend to be adaptable and have a flexible mindset. They like to keep their options open, are creative, and enjoy finding and creating new options for projects.
4. Hustling / People skills
In a regular job, your mind is on doing the work. As a freelancer, you are always thinking about two things–doing the work AND getting the work. How are you creating new opportunities for yourself? How can you generate leads and turn them into paying customers? You need to enjoy direct contact with your customer. Listening skills and empathy are crucial emotional intelligence skills that help you bring in new clients/projects.
5. Asking Good Questions
The ability to ask good questions is a critical freelance skill as it helps you uncover where you can provide the most value. This ability will create clarity for both parties, establish expectations of the outcome and prevent unnecessary misunderstanding during the course of a project.
6. Self-promotion and Branding
In the freelance economy, you always have to market yourself. It’s all about creating your “personal brand” and being able to regularly articulate that brand value. People want to SEE what you can do, even more so than when you worked as an employee. You have to learn to document your work on a regular basis and to create a portfolio of accomplishments that you can share with potential customers. You have to find ways to overcome the challenge regarding self-promotion.
7. Creating and Nurturing your own Team
In a freelance economy, collaboration is key. This means you have to create your own team or find partners who can complement your skills and abilities that allow you to be successful. This means continuing to develop and deepen relationships as while you are also doing the hustling.
8. Stay Focused & Motivated
One of the biggest challenges as a gig worker is getting enough gigs to make it financially viable. Hence, it is essential to keep your motivation and focus on the commercial and financial aspects of your business to be able to sustain yourself in the freelance world. As a solopreneur, you’ll need to be able to work autonomously and accept full accountability for your gigs.