It’s a great time to venture out on one’s own, as more employers than ever are looking to hire contractors and freelancers for a variety of work to save money rather than investing in full-time employees (with benefits) for work that can readily be done by independent professionals. Working in the gig economy means working on your own terms, according to your needs, strengths, and desires.
If you have a marketable skill and experience, the gig economy can provide you a route to financial and professional independence — or a whole new rewarding career. One of the wonders of the gig economy is the sheer number of available opportunities, anything from pet sitting to website design.
DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation, Inc. knows that getting started can be a challenge, so consider the following tips if you believe the gig economy is for you.
If you’re looking for a niche that suits your particular skills and offers excellent profitability, consider opening an ecommerce store. In fact, there are plenty of opportunities available to people who want to get started. Dropshipping, for example, puts you into the retail marketplace without needing to maintain a physical inventory. To get the ball rolling, write an engaging CV based on a professional-looking template that enhances what you have to offer prospective clients. As Network Solutions explains, you can either choose to do business-to-business transactions or business-to-consumer — it just depends on what product or products you wish to offer.
Ready to Roll
If you're ready to get your business set up, an important early step is to create a legal business entity. The business entity is controlled by the state in which it's set up, and each type of business entity has its own requirements.
One popular method to going legal is forming a New Jersey LLC. LLCs typically offer the most flexibility while still providing security to the founder(s). Other business types include LLPS, S-Corps, and C-Corps, but because an LLC can usually be formed in about 5 steps, it's often the 'go-to' for solopreneurs or those that plan to keep their team (and overhead) small.
Establish a Presence
So you’ve selected your business — now you need to let others know about your expertise and capabilities. That means creating a strong online presence, a place where potential clients can find you and get the information they need to make a decision.
There are several excellent ways to do this. Most people begin with a website that contains background, CV-type information, a rundown of past work with samples (i.e., a portfolio), contact information, and more. You can build and maintain a website cost effectively by using a free website builder such as Wix to design your website, and inexpensive hosting plans are available as well.
Social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are also good ways to get your name out there and begin building a following. And word-of-mouth can be invaluable as you get started, so reach out to former clients, colleagues, and employers — anyone who could put you in contact with potential clients (or offer you work themselves).
Employers look to the gig economy for very specific needs, so make sure you’re offering a very specific, niche-oriented service. Remember, you’re no longer in the corporate world offering to be a generalist in the interest of good teamwork; that’s not what companies are looking for if they’re going to contract with you. Do the best work you can within the parameters of your niche.
To do your best work, TechRepublic recommends setting up a home office with minimal distractions (no TV screens, no video gaming) and decorated with elements aimed at providing a calm and soothing work environment, including green houseplants and photos of family and past vacations. It’s best to keep things sparse so you don’t lose focus at times when you really have to dig down and concentrate.
The gig economy can put you on the road to an exciting new career or provide a means of generating supplemental income. The best part is that you can do it in your own time and pick and choose the type of work you’ll do. However, remember it’s important to maintain the same professionalism that made you successful in previous positions.
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