Real People. Real Stories. Real Business.
Chris Bell

Thriving in the Competitive Gig-Economy Market

Max Keiser of the Russian Television (RT) show, THE KEISER REPORT perhaps explains its pitfalls best in making reference to the so-called gig-economy, where Millennials in particularly jump online, on platforms such as Fiverr, to fight it out with other skilled, creative, qualified and even talented individuals for “micro” jobs projects. To a certain extent the same could be said about outright freelancing platforms such as UpWork (which used to exist as the two separate entities of Elance and oDesk), Freelancer, People Per Hour, etc. – freelancers are essentially fighting it out for very little remuneration which they could never really sustainably live off of, certainly not in the long term.

Many may argue that this is simply an online iteration of what the free-market system is all about, but either way, competition is stiff and if you’ve decided to take this route then naturally you want to fall into that bracket of the more favourable statistics, don’t you? It takes a lot to merely survive in the gig-economy, unless of course you’re part of the team who owns the platforms, let alone thrive.

Here are some tips to help you gain the upper-hand and work towards actually realising some progress with regards to your financial health as well as career advancement:

Isolate and master a specific skill or area of expertise

Do not present yourself as a Jack-of-all-trades – you will lose to those freelancers who are focused on isolating a specific skill or expertise area to master and specialise in. It’s not even enough to just say something like you’re a Content Writer – you need to isolate a specific niche which you want to specialise in, which would perhaps naturally be around a set of topics that evolve dynamically and constantly require fresh content.

That’s just one example – a graphic designer can specialise in a specific type of logo design, for instance, etc.

Get busy building a growing portfolio

Fortunately most of these online gig-economy platforms you’d source your work from allow for the work you produce to be added to your portfolio, but it’s good practice to perhaps create another portfolio outside of these platforms, such as your own website showcasing your work or referencing the clients you’ve worked with.

Establish yourself as an authority

Now, this is where you set yourself apart and make the money everybody else wishes they could make! Zoning in on the example of a graphic designer who specialises in the a specific design area, when you’re not busy with a paying project you have to constantly work to establish yourself as an authority in your field. For example, out-the-box thinking such as making use of a save the date postcard creation platform to populate your catalogue with many different, professional options will definitely set you apart from the average graphic designer indirectly competing with you for the same selection of clients.

Additionally, you could always provide extra value by perhaps showcasing the creative process you go through to create your offerings, without giving away your trade secrets, of course.