There’s a new term when it comes to self-employment, it’s called “the gig economy“. What is it? Well glad you asked. It’s just the new Millennial way to say you’re self-employed, a freelance worker or an independent contractor. Gigs include Uber or Lyft drivers, people who perform odd jobs, people who work from home or have jobs that are short-term and on an as-needed basis.
More than 55 million Americans are “gig economy” workers. If you live in South Florida, you might be surprised to learn that the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area ranks at the top of non-employer establishments with 855,500 gig businesses.
A recent survey says the number of gig workers in South Florida skyrocketed by 142 percent, which is more than twice the rate of the national average. That’s the good news, but the bad news is that while there are more gig workers in South Florida than anywhere else in the U.S., the amount of money made per gig is lower than the national average. If being a gig worker is for you, here are some tips to grow your business in the new Gig Economy:
- NETWORK – Operators of small businesses and independent contractors know that the hardest part of being self-employed is hustling for your next gig. If you want to be successful in the gig economy, make sure you network to keep your name out there. Try to join organizations in your field or connect with other “giggers” (that’s what freelancers and independent workers are calling themselves these days). Isolating yourself could lead to indifference or a lack of enthusiasm for what you do. So get out there, meet other people and say “yes” to the gig if you want to make money.
- LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION – So I told you that while South Florida is a leader in self-employment, you won’t make the most here. Statistics show gig workers make more in other parts of the U.S. So if you decide to go the self-employment route, keep that in mind.
- ALWAYS INVOICE – When you start your own business, clients or potential clients are more likely to ask you to “help” them with a project in exchange for introductions to others or for exposure. Don’t do it; you should NEVER work for free! If someone says, well my nephew will do it for free, then politely suggest to that person to talk to their nephew. Don’t get talked into doing a project to see if you’re a right fit for it or for set stipulations. Set a price, stick to it, then send the invoice.
- DO YOUR BOOKS & TAXES – Just because you take a job here or there or work freelance, doesn’t mean your books don’t need to be in order. Make sure you do your books at least once a month and pay your quarterly taxes. Ignoring these tasks will make doing your taxes before the corporate tax deadline, a huge mess. Ask a tax professional or hire a bookkeeper to help you keep your finances in check and to project any estimated taxes before it’s time to pay the tax man.
The gig economy is growing and according to a Pew research survey, about a quarter of all Americans are part of it. So now is the time to stay on top of your gig. If you need help keeping track of your books or want help with your estimated taxes, then call or email me. At Brigade Bookkeeping, we love gig workers and will do everything we can to help your business grow.
Have a great week!