6 Things to Know Before Getting Into the Gig Economy

Looking to be a gig worker? Here are six things to keep in mind.

  • Don’t resign from your current job yet.

  • Figure out what you want to offer, and where.

  • Bah, baiktah sediakan payung — and budget!

  • Your brand and goals are yours, and will help solidify your place in the gig economy.

The gig economy is constantly a hot topic of discussion — especially today, when openings for traditional job positions have decreased, and more people are beginning to consider the industry as a way to find something that will pay them for their passions, or their need for a more flexible work-personal lifestyle.

Perhaps you might be one of them!

And that’s great, because with just Internet access and the necessary tools, you’re no longer limited by location in terms of your potential market. But before you take your first steps into the gig economy, here are six things you should know to help prepare you.

1. Have a day job? Don’t quit (yet!)

If you are fortunate enough to have a 9-to-5 job, don’t resign as soon as you decide to start becoming a gig worker. As more people enter the gig economy, you’ll need to make sure your skills and expertise are payable.

Looking to be a Dart driver? You’ll have a ready market of people looking for transport — all you need is to be certified for your skills. But if you plan to work in the creative industry, you have to put in work in finding out what the market rates are for your skill, and who your potential customers may be.

2. Know your corner

What’s the best resources and platforms to help you get started?

Again, you can be part of an existing business like Dart, or a delivery service; those are established platforms that will ensure you can reach your customers. If you choose to go into freelancing, you’ll have to figure out what platform would work best for your work.

Instagram or Facebook? Twitter or TikTok? YouTube or Twitch? Would a website work better, or do you want to be a vendor on eBay or Etsy? Learn how you can use your skills and abilities to stand out from the crowd. Also, make sure you don’t mind spending long hours using them!

3. Sediakan payung sebelum hujan

In other words, build a rainy day fund! If you want to be self-employed, the Tabung Amanah Pekerja (TAP) Supplementary Contributory Pension’s (SCP) scheme for the self-employed works as a retirement fund when you contribute $17.50 from your monthly income, and that amount will be matched by the government.

But you may be limited in your options for insurance, coverage or loans without the backing of an employer. The best way to deal with this is to have a sizable emergency fund, especially when things might take a while to get started. The fund serves to help with actual emergencies and lighter income months. Make sure you have about 6 to 9 months worth of expenses at least — but honestly, no amount is too much for an emergency fund.

4. Track those dollars

Have a hard time budgeting? It’s only going to get harder with a fluid income.

The first step is to learn to only spend on what you need, and see where you can cut costs. One way to do this is to focus on what you can control, such as food, entertainment and fuel. If you’re still living with your family, that can also potentially help with the bills. Create a budget and ensure you consistently contribute to your savings fund. It will be a huge help and you won’t be caught off-guard in case you need it.

5. Build your brand

Very few transactions in the gig economy happen face to face, which might be a plus for some! But that also means your reputation needs to be a good one, especially in a very competitive environment. Build a trustworthy and reputable online presence through your website, blog or social media.

Also, be clear and make sure it’s easy for people to find you!

6. Set those goals

Where do you want to be in six months’ time? One year? Three years?

Here is where you determine why you want to be in the gig economy. Whether it’s to add to your current income, or you want to go full-time as a freelancer, setting goals will help to determine what you need to do to achieve them. As you set them, make sure your financial goals are flexible, in line with your projected income.

And let other people know! They can help to give you feedback, and perhaps even help you improve as you reach for your goals.

Stay focused

Discipline, and continuing to improve one’s self are key to working and staying in this industry. Despite the obstacles, being a gig worker can be incredibly rewarding! Now that you know these tips, perhaps it’s time to learn how to reach out to your first customers.