Employment Ain’t What It Used to Be
The 9-5 is on it’s way out.
You can’t ignore the facts. That traditional model of employment so many Americans sought in the past, is giving way to something new. Fueling that change: dissatisfaction, loss of opportunities, and stagnation. Each forces people and the economy to adapt.
The expectations people have for a job have changed as well.
People want more than just a job. Yet many large businesses and corporations act as stewards of traditional employment. They push the same model of employment on people, but with fewer benefits than in the past.
Not likely. Finding security within one company is decreasingly viable. Many people now piece together full-time employment through multiple part-time jobs.
Almost non-existent. These benefits used to attract employees. Now the government has created so much red tape, healthcare is a liability for companies. They try only to meet the minimum government standards.
What is left to expect from traditional employment?
Monday through Friday, eight hours a day, if not more, your life is given to a company. This, in exchange for moderate financial security and the privilege of spending two days each week as you see fit.
There is no room for taking an afternoon off to reconnect with friends. There is no option of working from an exciting space. And there are not many opportunities to grow as a person.
And people are no longer willing to accept this.
The statistics suggest how this situation drives people to a new kind of employment.
An estimated one in three Americans has given up on the traditional model of employment, opting instead to become freelancers.
The way America views employment has changed.
So, the next question is…
How do you change with it?
Joining the Gig Economy
By 2020 experts believe nearly half of the American workforce will be employed within the gig economy.
What that means varies, but it boils down to one main thing: leaving behind a traditional job in favor of small jobs, or gigs.
People become freelancers, no longer tied to a company but self-employed professionals within an industry.
So how do you join?
Simply put, you find an area of work that is in line with your skill set and start building a client base. You can make almost anything into a freelance job.
And with so many opportunities available, the question is…
What do you enjoy doing?
Finding where you fit into the new market will take a bit of introspection.
But there’s freedom in knowing the choice solely lies with you. You are taking control of your financial freedom, instead of relying on institutions out of your control.
Just browse Craigslist or Freelancer to start seeing all the gigs available. You might be surprised by the range of skills people are looking for.
If you are feeling really adventurous, try to get one of the gigs. That is how you start. By experimenting. How do they respond? What can you do differently next time?
Adapting To Change
For all the freedom and control the gig economy offers, it is not without new challenges.
You can’t be content with work coming to you. You can’t wait out the clock for the end of the workday. Instead, you must take an active role in seeking out opportunities and income.
And while this may be a bit challenging to those just joining the market, with time and practice, it becomes much easier.
As you start…
There are many ways to market your talents and attract high paying clients.
There’s the standard route of building a portfolio and cold pitching potential clients. This takes time but overall leads you to the greatest possibility for success as you continue to develop your skills and land more clients.
Putting in the effort to collect and create an effective portfolio simply will not happen overnight, nor will mastering the perfect cold pitch.
With concentrated effort, the opportunities provided by having a solid portfolio and well-crafted approach to landing new clients will vastly outweigh the energy spent perfecting each. Start now, and in a couple years, you will be happy you did.
There are also freelance marketplaces, like Freelancer and Upwork. These marketplaces and platforms give you an opportunity to engage with clients directly while setting your prices. Sign up and you’re ready to start earning.
These are competitive places. They plunge you into the pool of modern workers. And this is some of the best training you can get.
These marketplaces allow you to further develop your business and marketing skills but in a more conducive environment to landing gigs. And they also offer reliable income, giving you a great place to start building while earning within your field. It’s easier than cold calling.
It is up to you to put in the effort. You may need to cultivate new skills until finding clients becomes easier.
But that is what this new economy is all about.
Experiment, try things out, and most of all, be ready to adapt.
Be prepared to put in more effort than you may have to in your previous careers.
That is the one thing that many people fail to mention when discussing the gig economy. It requires a lot of effort. Being able to set your schedule, set your prices, and be your own boss does not come easy.
But that makes it that much more rewarding. You aren’t a mindless office drone. You are a modern renaissance man.
Expanding your skill set
Once you’ve found an area of interest, the next thing to do is hone your skills.
Whether that means joining a coding academy to learn backend development, enrolling in online writing courses, or simply getting out there to work with clients, finding a way to improve your abilities should be your main focus early on.
So find what drives you, then simply begin working on developing those skills to carry you forward in your new career.
Entering a competitive marketplace…
To make your venture profitable, you’ll have to set yourself apart from others within your industry.
This could mean putting in extra hours learning the latest breakthrough within your industry. Or it could mean continuously enhancing your ability to produce quality work quickly.
Remember, joining the gig economy is a long term decision that requires you to look towards your future while making those plans possible today. It is nice to think that you’ll have several high paying clients down the road, but unless you build the skills to develop those relationships, that plan will be nothing more than simply an idea.
But the gig economy does reward effort. It gives back what you put in.
Putting the effort into mastering your craft will lead to more clients, which in turn will lead to greater opportunities as you progress and advance your skills within your industry. Whether this leads to you developing a smaller group of higher-paying clients down the road or the beginning of your own firm, is your decision. It begins with doing and learning.
At times it may feel like a slow climb, this is natural. Though the time spent improving upon yourself within the gig economy is rewarded more quickly when compared to the traditional employment model.
The opportunity for advancement will come at you much quicker than simply waiting around for a promotion at your old job.
Freeing Yourself and Finding Fulfillment
There certainly are huge benefits from being ahead of the curve in terms of a changing your employment model. But letting go of a 9-5 does something all the more important, it frees you to decide the course of your life.
No longer are you trapped in an environment you dislike, performing work in which you feel no connection.
Instead, you are able to pick and choose the direction of your life.
So, if you are sick of working for the weekend, for two weeks in the summer, or God-forbid retirement, you should consider the gig economy.