Do I have what it takes to work in the gig economy? In all honesty, this is probably one of the biggest questions a person should ask themselves before diving in, but they often don’t. I myself didn’t even check to see if I had the fortitude before diving into what would become my passion, and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t regret it.
Now, that doesn’t mean I regret the decision to pursue my dreams, but I wish I would have planned it out better. Furthermore, I wish I would have taken the time in the beginning to learn some of the lessons that I would have to figure out the hard way. Believe it or not, though, these kinds of problems can be avoidable by simply planning from the start and that starts with a gut check.
So are you ready?
#5 Can you handle rejection?
Whether artists or gig economists like it or not, rejection is a major part of the overarching game. I am not exaggerating when I say it takes a while to find a decent paying gig and that will likely only come after a plethora of rejections. Again, that’s just the name of the game, and the sooner you accept it, the better off you will be navigating this landscape.
With that being said, getting rejected a lot can become numbing, which is why it’s a good idea to not think about your career in terms of wins or losses. Instead, try to think about it from the perspective of experiences. Think about what you learned from that application you filled out.
Beyond that, look at the feedback and put it in the back of your mind for next time. Just make sure you handle rejection healthily, otherwise, you might want to find something else to do.
#4 Are you willing to work for little pay at the beginning?
Another harsh reality of the gig economy is accepting the fact that it doesn’t always pay very much. In fact, when you start, it will most likely be for little to no money. If you aren’t making any money, try to use it as experience for your resume. While it will take time to build a resume worthy of payment, look at these free gigs as learning experiences as to what you can expect from the industry.
. If you are making a little change, however, it can easily go towards hobbies and entertainment for yourself. As you move up the ladder though, you can easily move your way up to a couple of hundred dollars a month. This will likely take a while. Maybe even a year or two, but if you keep making connections, it is a possibility.
#3 Are you willing to devote time to finding work?
It’s no secret that finding a job takes work and the gig economy is no different. Not only will this include days and weeks of combing through job boards for work, but also staying up to date on new projects. This is why a simple google search could be the difference between not knowing where to start, and having a list of places you are interested in working for.
It all comes down to relentless searching and dumb luck. The best places I’ve observed for finding jobs are Craigslist, Facebook jobs, Indeed, Twitter subgroups, and the aforementioned google searches. Again though, it’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of searching, which is why you need to ask yourself if you can put up with that or not.
#2 Are you willing to try new things?
As much as I loved sports writing when I first started in the gig economy, that wasn’t always enough to keep the dream alive. In fact, after my first four years of working in the gig economy, social media changed its algorithm and effectively brought the industry I was to a screeching halt. This eventually forced me out of a job and left me looking elsewhere to satiate my writing fix.
This is when I started to look for other jobs such as voice acting and writing other subjects. It was very uncomfortable at firsts, especially since I had no idea what I was doing in either case, but it was a great chance to grow. It also taught me bits and pieces of how other industries work and how I could thrive in them. It all centered on the desire to learn new things though.
#1 Are you willing to hate what you love?
While you might not believe it yet, there will come a time where you hate your gig economy job in the same way that you would a regular job. This doesn’t mean you should quit or anything, but you need to be able to recognize these periods where you are unhappy with your work. Furthermore, you need to break down the reasons why.
For me, it was the fact that I was so afraid of being edited that I stuck to bare bones sentence structure and a very monotonous tone. Of course, this only made my work worse, but It took me forever to realize it. In all honesty, the sooner you recognize the fact that you are in one of these stagnant patterns, the you need to do everything you can to get out of it.
Whether that is a self-care break to recharge or trying to find ways to enjoy what you are doing again, it’s all about striking some kind of balance. A balance that will allow you to enjoy what you are doing and avoid these stagnant holes that will ultimately hurt you. Just remember to always keep it fresh, try new things and figure out reasons why you might not be happy with your work.
It's all a part of the process.