If you’re not into your regular 9-5, then consider joining the estimated 36 percent of the nation’s workforce who are a part of the gig (aka freelance or contract) economy. While it was initially the recession of 2008 that prompted such a change in work structure, gig-based jobs continue to rise as Americans look for more work-life balance and flexible hours.
Research suggests that the majority of the job growth over the past 10 to 15 years was tied to non-traditional, alternative ways of working (technology has a lot to do with this) thus proving that employers are seeking change as much as employees.
To make it as an independent worker, you need to have the characteristics it takes to run your own business. Some of those attributes include tenacity, adaptability, and problem-solving. If you think you’ve got what it takes, read on to learn how to get in the game.
Once you’ve officially registered your LLC (if it applies to your business) with the state of California, you’ve got to figure out if you can take the risk of going freelance by creating a budget. Figure out how much work you need to take on to cover all your expenses — from bills to recreation — keeping in mind that it’s likely that you’ll have good months and bad months from a cash flow perspective. This is why it’s smart to start an emergency fund (three to six months is best) if you hit a dry spell because relying on credit cards will only lead you into a pit of debt. If you make over six figures or are married with kids, you really should save up to nine months in advance as higher-paying jobs are harder to find. Set aside money each month for taxes as they won’t be withheld — pay them quarterly versus yearly so you don’t get off track. Don’t forget to plan for sick days and vacation, too. Invest in a good software system to help you keep all your gigs, invoices, and your budget organized.
When it comes to finding work, you can either choose to do something you know from a previous job (think accounting, writing, graphic design) or something you love based on a hobby you’ve developed. Do some research to see how lucrative your choice is before getting started. If you’re lucky enough to have an expertise in deep learning, blockchain architecture, robotics, penetration testing, cryptocurrency, coding, virtual reality, or Instagram marketing, you’re in luck as data suggests gigs in these areas are among the most lucrative.
Create a Home Environment Conducive to Working
Setting up a proper home environment is the key to your success. Common mistakes include keeping a television in the room (or any other major distraction), inadequate storage, lack of working space, slow and inoperable equipment, and piles of hazardous cords and wires. Your office should have adequate lighting; fast and efficient equipment; a separate phone line; privacy; organizing solutions (setup is different for everyone so find what works for you); and ergonomically designed pieces such as a chair, footrest, mouse, and keyboard.
When it comes to decor, consider painting the room in a soothing shade of blue, green, or violet as these colors have been known to have a relaxing effect on the mind. Make the space your own by adding in a few things that you love such as a piece of artwork and personal photographs. Fresh-cut flowers, greenery, candles (only when you’re in the room), and an aromatherapy diffuser can also enhance the mood.
While it has its perks, running a gig-based business comes with its share of stress. No matter how crazy your schedule gets, take time for self-care. Deep breathing techniques, taking regular breaks, exercise, meditation, yoga, eating a balanced diet, limiting your alcohol intake, and getting proper sleep can help you be more productive at your job.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Written exclusively for our company by Courtney Rosenfeld