Gaga about Gig Economy

The economical effects of the recent Lock-down
Source: Berkeley College

Knowledge is indeed power, then you have at your disposal the most powerful tool in the history of mankind. I have heard many writers bemoan the fact that technology has not impacted the world in the ways depicted in so many science fiction films. There are no flying cars and very few silver jumpsuits. And yet, in my view, the many ways that technology has actually changed the world are actually even more interesting. For example, the Internet has changed how we communicate with one another, how we entertain ourselves, and how we work. Nobody could have predicted it.

If you want to work four-hour days and are willing to take the cut in income that comes with that, then that’s your call. If you want to finish work early one day “just because,” then most of the time you can. If you want to work an extra hour a day and stop working Mondays, then that’s an option too. There are limits to this flexibility, of course. If you continually shirk on your deadlines, then people are going to stop working with you. And if your contract requires you to be online during certain hours, then you can’t pack in early without telling anyone.

I also believe that, in many ways, being self-employed is actually a more stable and reliable way to earn money versus working for an employer. Think about it: If you are employed by just one company and that company goes under, you’re out of a job. No more income. The same goes if you get let go. But if you have ten ongoing clients, what are the chances that all of them are going to up and leave you at the very same time? Very slim, one would hope. Not only that, but more and more people are going to be turning to freelancers as word gets out. Why would a company limit itself to the local pool of talent when it could go online and find the very best in the business to do the job? Why would a company spend resources and office space on a permanent member of staff when it can get the same work done with no overhead, no administration, and no commitment?

Now I’m being purposefully contrary. But the point I’m making is that you will be working on your own much of the time. That means a lot of isolation, and for some people, being part of a “team” is one of the big perks of work. For that reason, this type of career is arguably better suited to introverts(yay). That said, when the time comes to speak with a client in person, it can help to be a bit more extroverted (there is such thing as an ambivert!). If you feel you will suffer as a result of not being around co-workers, then you need to make sure that you make up for it by jam-packing your free time with social alternatives.

But again, this comes down to personal preference. There is also a fair amount of admin and “fiddly stuff” to contend with when setting up any business. While a sole proprietor has less to worry about than a limited liability company, you do still need to consider things like filing tax returns, logging your expenses and income, dealing with clients, investing in marketing (maybe including trademarks), and more. You’ll need to sign up for websites, and you may wish to create your own business website. All this can be a headache and it is often a considerable “barrier to entry.”

In other words, if you’re not 100% sure about working as a freelancer, potential admin tasks may be enough to deter you from diving in. The good news is that you can take these responsibilities on slowly and eventually automate or outsource a great deal of them. But in the interests of balance, let’s consider risk. At the end of the day, you won’t be employed. You won’t have a long-term contract. There is no guarantee that the work will keep coming.

That’s a shift in the way we have been brought up to view work, and for some, that’s bound to incite just a little anxiety.