How to Make Money in a Gig Economy

(Last Updated On: March 31, 2022)

Many people want to know how to make more money so that they can save enough for a vacation, pay their monthly bills or pay off their debt faster. It could even be to save for retirement.

Whatever your reason, a side hustle might be just the thing that you need to achieve your financial goals. More and more businesses are closing their doors because of health reasons.

This also means that many are wondering how to make more money without having to seek employment in person. The solution to this dilemma? The gig economy. This started out as a small trend that has exploded into fulltime careers for many individuals.

What Is a Gig?

The gig economy is an employment market that is defined by the high ratio of freelance work or short-term contracts in contrast to permanent and traditional jobs. The whole idea of the gig economy is for one to earn more money or extra money with part time jobs and freelance work.

The best part about this is that you can pursue the kinds of gigs you want at a time that works best for you. The flexibility of the gig economy not only allows you to schedule your own work, but to also dictate how much you want to do or how little.

With the awesome technological power that comes with the Internet, there are many short-term gigs that one can complete for the clients who hire them. Gigs have become more frequent as technology permits users to connect linearly with people who are willing to hire them for a project based on their expertise, time availability and skills.

Short-term gigs or side hustles have now become a legitimate means of earning income if you don’t have a job and act as a supplement income for those who already have a career.

Here are some facts that may sway your opinion about choosing gig work if you’ve been skeptical about its legitimacy:

Over 37 percent of American adults (that’s roughly over a third of adults) have at least one side gig that they are engaged in. So, yes, it is more common than you think.

Almost 40 percent of those who have side gigs use the earning received from it to afford their daily living expenses. This means that side gigs are necessary for a budget that breaks even.

They may not be extremely lucrative for part-timers, as the average monthly earnings for side gig workers is $690, and most side gig earners earn $210 or less. But it all depends on what type of gig you choose and how much you want to charge and work.

You’re in complete control of your hours and commitment to the gig work available, so if you need to earn more, you can simply accept more jobs to earn the amount you need for whatever purpose you choose.

Who Would Be the Best Candidates for Gig Careers?

Gig careers are great for men and women of all ages. From college kids who need to earn money while in school to senior citizens looking to supplement their retirement or social security funds – gigs can help.

If you’re someone who has a hectic schedule that makes it hard to get hired by traditional employers, such as a college student with scattered classes, then gig work can allow you to earn between classes or on off hours.

Moms and dads who have kids they want to spend more time with may find gig work an attractive option to a traditional employer. Instead of having to ask a boss for permission to take off and care for your child, you’ll be the one in charge of when you work and when you don’t.

Senior citizens who either hate the idea of retirement and want to maintain a career – or those who need more money but who can’t work in a traditional workforce, will love the idea of using gigs to earn the money they need or want to fund their lifestyle.

People who love doing gigs might be creative people. They love putting their writing or artistic skills to good use. They might be laborers who don’t want to have to expend a lot of mental energy on a job.

Some people love the idea of listening to a podcast or music while delivering groceries or restaurant meals. Introverts love gig work because they don’t have to show up every day to a room full of coworkers and clients.

Extroverts love gig work because it gives them the opportunity to meet people. Uber or Lyft drivers get to meet new people, chit chat and see new places as they drive. But introverts can work from the privacy of their own home and only deal with clients via email or messages.

Start as a Side Hustle and Build a Fulltime Career

When it comes to working in the gig economy, there are a lot of factors that you need to consider, from skills and hourly rates to time management and the other important little details.

This is a business you can start out doing here and there as time allows, and snowball it into a fulltime career if you want to. But you need to know a few ins and outs of how to start and expand your gig work.

In the beginning, you may not know exactly how much time and effort a gig takes. Or you may need to master certain skills, tools or even learn the right route to take. As you gain experience, you’ll become faster and more capable of delivering for your clients, and this can help you build repeat business in the future.

Before you begin, there are some important things to consider. Number one is to choose the right side gig. One may be a dream and one a living nightmare to you, depending on an array of components, such as skills, goals, and personality.

Ask others performing certain gigs (as well as those buying them) what they think about the service – if their needs are being met, any mishaps they have to endure, etc. Spend at least a couple of days to take a good look at the gig and all of the advantages and disadvantages associated with it.

This is to ensure that you make the right choice. Choosing the wrong one may discourage you from ever trying this line of work again. For example, if you think rideshare driving might be right for you, but you read about the extensive wear and tear on your car, you might think twice.

However, if you take out time at the beginning to research all about it before you choose it, you might as well be saving yourself a whole lot of headaches. Look at forums and social media to see what others are talking about regarding what they experience.

Second, take a look at the type of side gig that you have chosen to pursue. If you are going to be launching an actual gig business by yourself, then you should consider registering as an S Corporation or an LLC (Limited Liability Company).

However, before you rush in and do all the paperwork, you should try speaking with a lawyer to understand whether it’s necessary or not. If you’re just working off of a third party platform for part-time pay, you may not need to.

You also want to prepare for taxes. The last thing you might think about when you start a side hustle is that you need to pay taxes on those earnings. However, this should be one of the first items on your list because you don’t want to be hit with an unexpected tax bill at the end of the year.

When preparing for your gig tax, make sure that your personal bank account is kept separate from your business bank account. This ensures that your finances do not get mixed up and you can report expenses correctly.

Another thing to do is to get a certified accountant and speak to them about how you can prepare yourself for the tax season – and how much you should be setting aside. Speaking to a certified public accountant will help you figure out whether or not you are breaking even with your side gig or whether you are losing profit with it.

While gig work may not provide the same degree of job security as traditional employment, there are many different ways to earn on your own, so you’re not restricted to just one method of work.

Some other gigs might require you to develop the necessary skills you need in order for you to gain more profitable work in the future. While you may not need it for ridesharing or food delivery, you may need to gain experience writing or creating graphics before you do those kinds of gigs.

What to Know About Working with a Gig Platform

There are various online or app platforms for on-demand work, such as DoorDash, Fiverr, Upwork, Uber, and other freelance jobs. With the power of the Internet backing it up, the gig economy is able to connect side gig searchers directly with individuals and companies that need their skills without them having to go through the conventional offline means of dealing with certification and applications.

Working on a platform, keep in mind that you operate at the mercy of their rules. If you want payment up front, but they only require funds in escrow, you have to abide by that. Or, if they require certain customer service elements, you must deliver on their regulations, so make sure you know what they are asking of you before you sign up and agree to anything.

When working on a gig platform, your success or failure may be dependent upon what those who have hired you have to say about your performance. Your reviews and ratings will often determine whether or not you are able to maintain a consistent flow of income on that site or app.

These platforms allow sellers and buyers to exchange their services and payment at a faster rate. The gig economy is fast becoming a deeply rooted and significant part of the overall workforce economy.

So, if you have the right skills and develop an excellent work ethic, you can start earning and making a living just by working gigs and being a stellar provider. Also, if you are able to develop healthy relationships and a good rapport with some particular clients and customers, you could end enjoying full-time earnings.

With that said, let’s take a look at the gigs that you can start doing now to start earning ASAP. If you are talented in a field or you have the skills that allow you to earn a living at a traditional job, you can decide to sell your expertise online.

Here are examples of a few fields where you can put your talents and skills to work without leaving the comfort of your home…

Freelance Writing

Freelance writing can also include editing, proofreading, and translating, if you are proficient in those areas. It’s also important to note that freelance writing is one of the most popular ways of earning extra money in the gig economy, so if you have the skill to convey a message, consider this option strongly.

On some platforms, a skilled freelance writer can earn anywhere from $10 to $250 per hour. This is dependent upon the type of writing that they specialize in, their qualifications and also, their portfolio.

Freelance writing include a range of specialized types of writing, such as medical writing, technical writing, academic writing, and legal writing – and more entertaining types of writing, such as informational content and blog posts or even fiction!

Another amazing thing about freelance writing is that, most of the time, it requires nothing more than a strong Internet connection and a gadget with a word processing software.

This means that you can make use of your laptop, desktop or even your smartphone. Also, you can earn money as a freelance writer from anywhere in the world as long as you are online and you have a computer or a smartphone.

Are you fluent in multiple languages? You can earn a living with that skill through the freelance gig of translating. There are not many multilingual people in the gig economy, so a freelance translator can earn steady money from gigs.

Also, if you are fluent in an in-demand and difficult-to-learn language, such as Japanese or Mandarin Chinese, you have a whole lot of opportunities open to you. Zip Recruiter assents that a freelance translator can earn up to $29 per hour as average pay.

Coding

Coding, otherwise known as computer programming, includes several popular programming languages, such as Java, SQL, and Python to name a few. The difficulty it takes to learn coding can ensure that a freelance programmer earns a high rate.

According to Career Karma, a freelance programmer can earn up to $60 as an average hourly wage. You can find work on gig sites or launch your own site to accept on-demand projects from individuals and companies who need your skills.

Ridesharing

Another popular job in the gig economy is the ridesharing service. This service allows users to transform their cars into taxis. Some popular ridesharing services include Uber and Lyft, and they are more convenient and cheaper than traditional taxis.

For this, all you have to do is own a smartphone and a car and go through some compulsory background check and application processing (depending on the service) to become familiar with the rules and regulations of the company.

There is flexibility in work hours and one can earn an average hourly wage of about $15 to $25, depending on the location. It’s possible to sign up with more than one company to earn from, too.

Delivery

Not every restaurant has delivery options. However, with the gig economy and its option of food delivery, a lot of restaurants can now offer home deliveries using these third party platforms.

A list of food deliveries are Postmates, Uber Eats and DoorDash. These platforms operate like the ridesharing services and let you earn cash for delivering food to customers.

Upwork

Upwork is arguably the largest freelancing job structure on the Internet and offers a wide array of fields for gigs. So if you are a writer, designer, sales marketer, legal service provider, business analyst, data scientist, brand expert, translator, or other freelancer, you can use Upwork to earn money.

The platform takes a cut of all earning as a service fee. When you earn up to $500 of lifetime billings, they apply a fee of 20 percent. When it’s $500.01 to $10,000, it’s 10 percent fee, and when it is over $10,000, the fee is reduced to 5 percent.

Fiverr

Fiverr gives you the variety of having writers, artists and programmers all on the same site. The site also offers you the option of add-ons, which lets you charge more when you complete additional tasks for each job.

Like Upwork, Fiverr also uses a customized profile and portfolio and takes a 20% fee on all jobs completed. This is a good starting point for the newbies in the freelancing gig economy.

How to Succeed as a Gig Worker

There are several apps and gigs that you can use to earn some cash, but not everyone will succeed. You want to consider several things before you get started so that you’re able to maximize your earnings.

First and foremost, you never want to take on a gig that you’re unsure you can complete, either due to your schedule or desired skills or talent. It’s better to pass up an opportunity than to accept a gig, fail with it, and ruin your reviews and ratings.

You also want to make sure that you carefully abide by all of the customer or client’s requests. If they hire you to write a report and give you an outline, don’t stray from it to do something else.

Whenever possible, go the extra mile for your customers. You may have seen rideshare drivers who have snacks and phone chargers in their care for customers. This creates a nice experience and ensures they get tipped well and receive a nice rating for future work.

But even if you’re doing something else, such as freelance writing or graphics, you can go above and beyond and throw in something extra to seal the deal that you’ll be the one they come to in the future for more work.

If the gig is something where you can be chosen specifically, like ghostwriting, then ensuring your customers’ happiness will translate into more work via word of mouth recommendations.

If you’re someone who is currently sitting at a job you hate – or worse, unemployed and in desperate need of money – then you need to look at gig work as a solution to your problem.

With gigs, you can create a listing and have money deposited into your account within hours – or even minutes. Of course, there are no guarantees, either. Sometimes there’s a bit of a lag between when you create a profile and when you get hired.

So you don’t want to walk out on a steady paying job before you’ve started building momentum with your side hustle. If you’re in a situation where you want to leave your 9-5 job, then start doing gigs in your off hours.

Learn the ropes and gain a favorable rating. This gives you time to ensure you’re happy with that type of work, too. Then, you can submit your two weeks’ notice to your employer once you’ve gained your footing as a reliable gig worker.

In time, you might decide to move from a platform offering gigs to the creation of your own business entity dealing directly with customers and clients and cutting out the middleman altogether!