How the Gig Economy Benefits Small Business Owners and Freelancers

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: May 20, 2017
Photo credit: Foxy burrow/Shutterstock

It’s a side hustle world and we’re just living (and working) in it. Here’s a look at some of ways the gig economy is strengthening and benefiting everyone in the SMB landscape.

Before I owned my own company, I was a member of the gig economy.

Back then, it was a little different. I didn’t drive for a rideshare company or host travelers in my home because Lyft and Airbnb didn’t exist yet. I was still a lawyer at the time and in between, I taught courses as an adjunct professor and Pilates classes. Each day was busy from start to finish — which I thrived on — but it was also interesting and filled with lessons to learn and new faces to meet. All in all, these side hustles helped keep my mind alert and fresh.

Today, three in 10 American workers are part of the gig economy with between 54 to 68 million in the United States alone. Independent positions are transforming the working landscape and increasing opportunities for new types of employment, ultimately in the favor of small business owners and freelancers. Here’s a look at some of ways the gig economy is strengthening and benefiting everyone in the small business landscape.

Increased opportunities for employment

It’s a side hustle world and we’re just living (and working) in it. Thirty-five percent of the U.S. workforce freelances, a number that isn’t limited to just millennials alone either. The broader gig economy includes individuals of all ages, genders, and educational backgrounds. It’s also shifting its workload. Aside from creative and IT jobs that the independent workforce is known for, there’s also been a rise in traditional positions like accounting and finance. For freelancers, all of these available avenues increase opportunities for employment.

Enter the small business owner, who may be looking to hire a temporary employee to complete a project or assignment on a per diem basis. In the eyes of an entrepreneur, the freelancer’s expertise is a huge help for a role that might have gone unfilled otherwise. For creative and technical independent workers alike, they’re able to complete the job and get the word out about their services without huge marketing expenditures. It’s a win-win for everyone involved when gigs are what truly help both the business and the gig master.

Embracing a flexible schedule

As time progresses, it’s becoming more and more obvious that the needs for many workers do not fit into a 9 to 5 schedule. Having a lucrative side hustle has paved the way for flexible scheduling, allowing contractors the ability to work and enjoy their personal life comfortably on their own time. Workers who otherwise have situations that would not allow for full-time employment have found the gig economy to offer an opportunity for part-time, as-needed work.

Agility is also the name of the game for freelancers. Independent assignments give workers the ability to work remotely and provide quick, skillful services with a fast turnaround time both locally and internationally. While this benefits businesses around the world, it’s also a reminder for freelancers that they still need to remain on top of their game when telecommuting. They’re still responsible for getting the job done and must be responsive when working with clients without dropping the ball on anyone.

Finding talent (and employers) is easier than ever

Websites like Fiverr, digital storefronts like Etsy, and apps like TaskRabbit allow independent freelancers the ability to post their services from anywhere making it easy for potential employers to find and hire them in real time. Independent work has also made it easier for small business owners to save on hiring costs when bringing on new talent too.

Where will the gig economy take us in the future? While the answer is up in the air (although many predict we will all work multiple jobs), the rules of the traditional workforce are being rewritten as we speak. Skill sets are being emphasized for jobs, schedules are becoming more flexible, and freelancers and entrepreneurs are finding it easy to get the work they need. Just as it did when I was employed in the gig economy, these new opportunities are giving workers everywhere the ability to pursue their passions and keep learning and growing in their craft.

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