4 Keys to Making the Gig Economy Work For You

Author: Lucy Reed

When I got one of my first "big girl" jobs as an accountant, I was so excited! Finally I could afford a nice apartment and start saving. Unfortunately, less than a year later, the company went through a downturn and my salary was chopped by 20%. OUCH.

Thankfully, I was teaching Zumba on the side and the money I was earning made up that 20% difference.

Money & Mimosas

I am a firm believer that the biggest money skill you can learn is how to create wealth. Everyone should have a side hustle. And thanks to the gig economy, picking up a side hustle is easier than ever.

Whether you want to overhaul your career or just start a side hustle, getting into the gig economy takes some work, but the rewards are totally worth it. If you’re thinking of starting a side job or just want to work for yourself for a while, make sure you keep the following points in mind.

Self Employment Takes Self-Discipline

One of the benefits of taking on a gig job is being your own boss. There’s no one to tell you how or when to do your job, and you can pretty much decide your own schedule. Just be careful of letting that freedom go too far because you are also solely responsible for earning your paycheck. Set up a schedule that’s productive and comfortable and hold yourself accountable for sticking to it. If your gig has you working from home, it’s also helpful to set up a dedicated workspace. Working from your couch may seem like a good idea, but it can be distracting with the TV or pets and children right in front of you. Find a corner of your house and make it a cozy little area for completing work tasks.

Finding Work Takes Some Work

With a regular job, you typically know you’ll come in to tasks every morning and get a steady paycheck every week or so. With freelance or gig work, that isn’t always the case. You’ll need to network and market yourself like crazy if you want this to be your main source of income, but even securing side gigs takes work on your part. Build solid relationships with your clients so you can turn to them for references and reviews. When you’re out in public and meeting new people, don’t be afraid to mention your work! You never know who could be your next client or who has connections that may be useful.

You May Have More Skills Than You Think

Money & Mimosas

When you think of freelance or gig jobs, you may think you need to learn a specialty craft or skill. One of the best parts of getting a gig position is that you can make money doing a variety of things you love and already know how to do! Fluent in another language? You may be able to get paid for something as simple as having a conversation with someone looking to become more fluent. Like dogs but can’t get one of your own? There are tons of pet parents looking for dog walkers and pet sitters to care for their furry family members while they’re away. If you love to do something or have a skill, you can typically turn it into a profit. So think about what makes you happy and what you can offer to the public, and get to work making it your new gig.

Financial Planning Is a Must

Freelance and gig work may come with constant benefits but rarely brings in a constant paycheck. This may not make a difference if your gig is a just a side job, but if you’re looking to work for yourself full-time, you’ll need to be prepared for the financial ups and downs. One simple step you can take is to open up a checking account that pays you interest on your balance. While most checking accounts pay zero interest, Radius Bank’s hybrid checking account not only offers interest payments but it is also free to use.  

Money & Mimosas

Once you have your bank account in order, it’s time to get your financial house in order. Set aside thirty minutes to prepare your budget for any scenario and try to tuck away a few months’ worth of savings before you really strike out on your own. Don’t forget about taxes either and save at least 25 percent of what you make in case you owe a payment to the IRS at the end of the year.  

Snagging a freelance or gig job can be a wonderful way to add some padding to your finances or a way to add some freedom to your life and schedule. Succeeding still takes work and patience, but the opportunities are endless. You could be getting paid to do what you love, and what could be better than that? So get to work, and good luck landing a gig of your own!

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This post is sponsored by Radius Bank.