The word gig economy on a board

The Gig Economy: Why Small Businesses Should Care

The world is an ever-changing place. Technology drives innovation and pretty much every facet of society is changing. The workplace is also changing fast. The usual 9 to 5 is no longer the status quo. A new type of industry is on the rise called the gig economy and if businesses can react right, they will win a workforce instead of losing employees.

What is the gig economy? Why is it so important and what do you need to know about it to make sure your business stays on top of how the economy operates? We’ve got it right here for you.

So What Is It?

The gig economy established a new way to get work done. Companies often need the advice or services of contractors in specialized fields. And technology allows companies to employ people from outside their walls. These contractors and part-time employees who work on a “gig” basis make up the gig economy.

People who supply labour in the gig economy are no longer employed by a company. They may have an exclusive deal with a single company to supply their need, but they aren’t an employee. Two parties make an agreement in which one (the contractor) supplies a need and the other (the company in need of the service) provides payment.

Jobs typically (but not confined to) performed in the gig economy include the following:

  • Marketing
  • Freelance content development
  • Sales
  • Engineering consultation
  • Freelance labour (like Uber drivers)
  • Business consultation

There are many types of jobs included in the gig economy. This is just a quick list of the most common jobs found in the gig economy. Most of these jobs have the same thing in common. Freelancers usually have the freedom to determine their own office hours. They’ll get paid as long as they supply the need as established by the agreement with their client (the company who contracted them).

Rise of the Gig Economy

Technology is changing and growing at a rapid pace. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a new way in which things connect. Anything that connects to the internet can connect to the IoT. IoT is a network that runs all over the world. In essence, things connect to the internet to communicate. Some of these units have instructions to perform actions without any human intervention in the process.

So imagine how integrated life has become because of this? You can connect to a computer on the other side of the world. You can sit at home and still work in a company that is on a different continent. The IoT enables the gig economy to run across the globe. You can be a stay at home parent and run an international business at the same time. About 36% of US workers are involved in the gig economy and that number grows with between 1% and 4% per year. The gig economy is growing and that brings some opportunities with it.

Opportunities for Growth

Many people use the gig economy as their only means of income. Their full-time job consists of various part-time agreements. But some use the gig economy in their free time. They are employed in a normal 9 to 5, but they also work a few hours per week on a part-time basis as a freelancer.

This grants people wonderful opportunities for financial growth. You have another way to grow your wealth. Your free time and your skills could earn you some additional income. Income that could be invested or used to settle debts faster. You can greatly grow your wealth when you grow your income. The gig economy offers you a way to grow yours.

Jobs Found in the Gig Economy

Everyone’s in it for the money. People take jobs to earn an income. That’s because few things in life are free, and free simply means someone else paid for it. Here are the gig economy’s highest-paid jobs currently available.

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Jobs

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the new tech buzzword. Humans have developed computers that can run themselves to a certain extent. Human intervention is still required in the processes involved with AI deep learning jobs. Some of these freelancers involved in machine learning can earn up to $115.06 per hour.

Blockchain Jobs

Blockchain is the technology that drives cryptocurrencies. It first became famous for creating a new way to store information, but people soon realized it’s potential. It can also be used as a currency. This technology requires the expertise of developers and digital architects to operate smoothly. You could earn a cool $87.05 per hour in this industry if you have the goods.

Robotics Related Freelancing

Robots are amazing tools. Did you ever think your breakfast will cook itself? That is almost a reality. People develop and make these robots. They also find ways to refine the technology by applying all kinds of tech magic. They earn about $77.46 per hour.

The Upside to the Gig Economy

There must surely be an upside to it. Why would so many people choose it? Have a look here at the reasons why the gig economy is such an attractive industry.

Extra Income

You can keep your job and work a freelance gig in your spare time. The gig economy offers wonderful opportunities to both contractors and the organizations in need of their expertise.

Work Remotely

Thanks to technology you can make your office wherever you have an internet connection. Better yet, your office travels with you. You decide where you work. You don’t contend with traffic anymore.

Captain of Your Destiny

You decide what your career looks like. You apply for the contracts you want. You are the captain of your boat. You don’t face unnecessary office politics and you certainly don’t have to ask when you want to take leave.

Job Satisfaction

Let’s call it job satisfaction for lack of a better word. Freelancers usually have more than one client and they do something different for each. This type of work won’t keep you stuck in the same mundane task.

The Downside to the Gig Economy

What goes up must come down. The gig economy may have some pretty cool pros, but it has a side that you need to be aware of.

Zero Benefits

The corporate ladder may require your everything, but it certainly repays in good measure. The gig economy, unfortunately, offers zero company benefits. There’s no company car, you don’t get paid leave, and forget about a sponsored medical aid deal. You get lots of pro’s but lose out on the goodies accompanying a corporate job.

Personal Tax

You are a contractor. You are actually a type of business owner in a sole proprietorship. The company who pays you views you as a service provider. They don’t subtract any taxes before they pay you. You need to provide your tax returns to SARS.

Social Isolation

An office job has a huge social element to it. You are required by your job contract to perform your duties in a space surrounded by colleagues. But a freelancer is a type of lone ranger. You don’t have colleagues unless you’re fortunate enough to have a team of sub-contractors.

Increased Pressure

You don’t have a manager or someone to report to. You bear the weight alone. You bring home the bacon. When you don’t work, you don’t get paid.

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