Nearly one in four Americans are taking part in the booming “gig economy,” according to Forbes magazine. The gig economy includes jobs like taxiing passengers in your car, online work like writing, photography, cleaning, turning a passion into a business, or picking up odd jobs in and around your neighborhood. Side gigs can become a second source of income for a stay-at-home mom or dad or an after-work job for a young single person wanting to earn some extra cash.
It’s also an opportunity to spend more time doing something you love. There’s plenty of intriguing reasons and ways to take advantage of this burgeoning marketplace. Here are some important tips if you’re thinking about getting started in the gig economy.
Make Sure You Have Fine-Tuned Hustler Skills
The former art director for GQ Magazine shared some personal skills that she believes everyone needs to be successful in a side gig. She should know, given she side-hustled her way right out of her GQ job into the gig economy. Here are some of the characteristics that make people most successful.
- The ability to let go of perfectionism. Everything won’t run as expected, so you’ll have to plan on sacrifices and fast-footed changes to be successful.
- Don’t let stress freeze you. Being an entrepreneur requires you to move past anxiety into a constant state of action.
- Set deadlines. No matter how long or how little you have to work on something, set timers so you’re working against the clock. Having a sense of urgency will motivate you.
- Work when you want to. If you do your best work at night, then don’t hesitate to work during those hours.
- Be a hermit when you need to. When you’re up against deadlines, it’s best to hunker down and get things done, even if it means shutting out the world for a while.
Choose Your Gig Carefully
If you don’t have a passion for whatever side gig you pick, you’re going to hit your burnout rate much faster. So it’s important to start with some basic steps.
#1 Write down things you’re passionate about.
These can be skills, hobbies, or even things you’d like to learn. For example, if you’re an animal lover, you could start your own professional pet-sitting or dog-walking service. Make sure your starting list includes everything you love.
#2 Gradually whittle down your list.
Carefully eliminate potential gigs until you come to that one you’re super passionate about and can see yourself spending tons of time doing.
#3 Reach out to friends and family.
Talking to some people to gauge their level of interest will give you a good idea whether your gig is worth pursuing. If your friends will help support your business, it’s a good reason to move on to the next step.
#4 Get started!
Unfortunately starting your business isn’t quite as simple as doing the job and getting paid. You’ll need to establish your business. Here’s a list of eight key considerations.
- Find out if you need an employee identification number (EIN).
- File for the appropriate business licenses and permits.
- Select a business structure, such as sole proprietorship or LLC.
- Legal filing for whatever business structure you’re planning.
- Get insurance.
- Develop a financial accounting system.
- Figure out how you’ll handle taxes
- Get started with your business.
Listen to Your Customers
Kimberly Palmer, author of “The Economy of You: Discover Your Inner Entrepreneur and Recession-Proof Your Life,” suggests that customers will let you know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. And listening to them will be critical to your success. By being open to their needs, you’ll better be able to shape your business.
Following your dreams and working hard to be your own boss is an exciting and rewarding experience. You’ll still be working hard, but you’ll following your own dreams instead of someone else’s dreams. Use your imagination to start your own dream business!