The Job Seeker
Tired of being broke until Friday? There’s an app for that. In fact, there are several apps for that. So many apps, that they have sparked a movement—the “gig economy.” If you don’t know what that is, let us explain.
What’s the gig economy?
OK, to be honest, there isn’t one set definition, but we like what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says: “A gig describes a single project or task for which a worker is hired, often through a digital marketplace, to work on demand.”
In layman’s terms, it’s a side hustle. Which leads us to our next point.
Nowadays, the Internet, and the rise of mobile apps have given people the ability to request services on demand. And let’s face it, you don’t need to be some groundbreaking innovator to make money performing services or selling goods. You just need the time and a little skill.
There are two types of gigs.
The digital platforms that support the gig economy are divided into two categories – labor and capital. Basically, those who participate in labor platforms get paid to complete a task like walking a dog or driving a car. Those who participate in capital platforms get paid for access to their assets, including renting apartments or selling old clothes. Two different types with the same end result: income.
Can I sustain myself on a gig?
Well, some do, but most can’t. In JPMorgan Chase’s analysis of one million customers, they found that gig earnings were relatively sizable, but rarely accounted for more than a third of an individual’s total income. On average, someone participating in a labor platform earned $533 per month, compared to $314 for capital platforms.
Already looking to sign up on Babysitter.com or Uber? Hold on… pump those brakes. The study also found that labor platforms are largely associated with replacing lost income, while capital platforms supplement income. In other words, you have a choice to make based on your financial situation, before you hit the accelerator.
1) If your primary job has cut your hours or reduced your pay, then check out labor platforms like:
- Uber or Lyft
Findings show that these gigs are effective at replacing lost income.
2) If you’re looking for a way to earn extra cash in addition to your steady paycheck, look into capital platforms such as:
- Airbnb or HomeAway
Findings show that these gigs are better at building on top of steady income.
To gig or not to gig?
Money helps make the world go round. Although U.S. unemployment is at a seven-year low, many of us are still looking to earn extra cash. Fortunately, gigs provide us with legit, flexible ways to boost our income and live more comfortably. Oh, and did we mention you won’t have another boss breathing down your neck? Yeah, your boss might be terrific, but you know what we mean.
We recommend exploring your gig options, slowly trying them out and assessing how it’s working for you. Weigh the pros and cons—namely income and time spent gigging. Then go from there.