The new “Gig Economy” is evolving and growing every day.  In fact, it is thriving more now than ever and is the way of life for millions of people.  Thanks to contemporary technology, 0-hour contracts and the rise of freelance platforms (e.g., Splice, Uber, Etsy, Airbnb), ditching the traditional 9 to 5 has never been easier.

So yes, the gig economy is on the rise but is it the best fit for you and your business?

Why don’t we bring in the experts. Professional Development Specialist @ uOttawa, Gabriel Ramsay, wrote a great article on his thoughts on the Gig Economy and where he sees it going in the next decade. Here is what he had to say.

 

So, What’s your Side Gig?

 Everybody is doing it these days. For better of for worst, the Gig Economy offers a variety of opportunities to stretch your dollars. From selling an old couch through online classifieds like Craigslist or Kijiji, to renting an extra room on AirBnB or selling artwork on Etsy, the commercialization of your hobbies, passions, resources, knowledge is possible through the variety of online services now. Some side Giggers have become so successful at side Gigging that their side Gigs are now their full-time Gigs. In the olden days we called those folks entrepreneurs, we’re cooler now and being your own hip boss with the promise of start-up success is all the rave. Question is, is having a side Gig right for you? What could it be? What skills do you need to develop a successful side gig? How do you talk about or describe your side gig story?

The Gig Economy, also known as the Agile Workforce, the Freelance Market and my personal favorite
the Hollywood Model, is an entrepreneurial driven job market propelled by big data and new forms of communication (ei. the Internet) to connect Clients and Service Providers in relatively short term or temporary contracts. Put another way, if you’ve ever patiently sat through Superhero Marvel Movie credits for the special teaser scene, you might have also noticed the anti-pirating message that states that the production and distribution of the film supported over 15,000 jobs. Of those 15,000 jobs, most are short term and highly specialized contracts, and since Hollywood never ever stops making movies, there’s always work.  Therefore, even though the curtain drops on one production we know another will rise, hence the Hollywood Model. In a sense, that is how full-time freelancers thrive and don’t fret the stress of jumping from contract to contract.

If you don’t think you’re ready for the Gig economy, take for instance, your very own LinkedIn participation. By logging on and crafting your professional profile, you’re showcasing the many talents, skills and accomplishment that you bring to any team and company. Is there a glimmer of hope that a recruiter might magically poach you from your current employer and double your salary? Of course not, that’s silly. But since you’re here on LinkedIn, you are controlling and promoting your brand and therefor, you are technically, a potential side Gigger. Wondering how to improve your profile? Click below!

LinkedIn and your Online Reputation Management (short version)By CO-OP Programs University of Ottawa

Now, although this article isn’t about crafting your perfect linkedIn profile a takeaway from my Prezi exploring linkedIn and your Online Reputation Management, is understanding that your profile isn’t just another resume but a marketing tool that represents your entire professional portfolio and not just your education and accredited title. Use clickable mediato build credibility in your brand and communicate your values and strengths through all of your activities. By building a detailed profile focused on the storytelling of your accomplishments, your side gig takes a rightful place in your professional identity and highlights some of your very valuable skills which can help future proof your career.

As explored in my Robots are Coming article, the #FutureOfWork predicts the most useful skills as creative, human centered and continuous learning abilities, which happily coincide with the entrepreneurial/Freelance mindset. Many are betting on the Gig Economy as a model for employment as it reduces costs for employers by helping them fulfill specific time sensitive projects by specialists and it’s attractive to freelancers as it offers flexibility and independence. In a recent Globe and Mail article,

“According to staffing company Randstad Canada, if you add up all the contingent workers, freelancers, independent contractors and consultants, you are talking about 20 to 30 per cent of the Canadian workforce being “non-traditional workers” already… Eighty-five per cent of the companies surveyed by Randstad figure that they will increasingly move to an “agile workforce” over the next few years.” 

Knowing that employers are adopting Gig Economy practices, how can we effectively convey our untapped potential to current employers and potential clients? How can clients find our service offer? Better yet, how can our HR professionals better manage their existing talent pool to fulfill short-term priorities? One of the reasons why the Gig Economy currently works so well is that it’s powered by AI doing all of the Big Data crunching grunt work. It can find niche market inefficiencies, missed opportunities and better manage Talent by connecting them to clients. For instance, in my current position I teach and coach university level students in building winning strategies to find employment, for fun, I also write these great articles. As a specialized communicator, I really enjoy motivational speaking gigs. When the university fires up a group of employees by hiring a professional motivational speaker, they could be saving a few bucks by looking at their in-house talent. Without proper data collection and analysis, that talent finding exercise can be quite challenging.

One such recruitment service has found a way to share this wealth of information and untapped potential. SPLICE, a new Ottawa based recruitment firm, is unlike traditional head-hunters as they specialize in the Gig Economy. On the gigger side, you can build a profile describing the professional services you offer such as motivational speaking and apply to gigs. On the Client side, HR and employers can search the database for specialists that fit current project needs. When a larger organization participates, they can actively see the many hidden talented gems that already exist within their organizations.

The Gig Economy relies on entrepreneurs to imagine and create new opportunities and the proof is in the myriad of online services from Shopify, to Ruckify, to SPLICE (yes I just shamelessly plugged 3 Ottawa gig players). Gigs won’t replace all jobs, they’re just alternatives to the traditional job market. So as the summer season is upon us, or fill in *Blank Networking event, meeting new folks and telling your story to complete strangers can be somewhat of a challenge. My suggestion here is to simply ask “Hey, What’s your side Gig?” If they stare blankly like a deer in headlights, just tell them yours. You never know, they could be your next gig!

 

Gabriel Ramsay , Career Coach @uOttawa, Social Worker MSW RSW, Comical Space and Politics Nerd. Exploring art, #FutureOfWork and social justice.