The gig economy, or as it is sometimes referred to the “freelance economy,” is often a source of frustration for people used to the 9-to-5 employment system with employer-provided benefits.
With the gig economy, it can sometimes seem like the Wild West to those on the outside looking in. There is certainly no middle ground with detractors.
Take this article from Wired’s Jessi Hempel, who believes that gig economy workers “need benefits and job protections. Now.”
Unfortunately, many of the “benefits and job protections” that Hempel calls for would destroy the motivation that makes hiring a gig economy worker so attractive to companies. As a result, workers would be ushered back to full-time jobs and glass ceilings.
As someone who has survived and thrived in the gig economy for seven years, full-time, here are the things doomsayers fail to realize.
1. The gig economy allows workers to have a lot more control over their careers and free time.
With the gig economy, individuals have the ability to mix-and-match the jobs that they wish to take. This results in the benefit of not having to place all eggs in a single basket. If something goes wrong with one job, there are several possibilities or opportunities in place that keep one from going hungry.
Depending on when jobs pay, it is also possible to get a weekly cash flow, which is greatly helpful to family finances and not all that common in the full-time employer industry.
2. The gig economy allows families to spend time with one another in a way that maximizes benefits both emotionally and physically.
Something else that the gig economy allows workers to do is structure how they spend time with their families in a way that provides the most physical and emotional impact.
Freelancers in the gig economy are able to work flexible hours, thus allowing them to be present for major life events that might otherwise go missed due to a traditional 9-to-5 job.
They can also work longer hours than the 40-hour workweek allows. While that may not sound like a benefit, many companies refuse to pay overtime thus cutting a worker’s hours short and limiting their earning potential.
3. The gig economy often results in workers making a lot more money than they could under normal terms.
To extend what was mentioned in the last item, the earning potential greatly improves for a gig economy professional.
For starters, you are not going to go full bore into it unless you have a proper foundation of clients in place. And when you do, it becomes easier to leverage those clients for better opportunities.
You can choose to refuse or take on work based on what pays the most. The heavily-driven gig economy professional can earn three or four times as much as they would in a traditional job without working a whole lot longer per week.
While the responsibility of healthcare and retirement and benefits all rest on the freelancer, they also have more income to make it work.
4. The gig economy encourages entrepreneurship.
One typical “side effect” of the gig economy is that many who enter it as professionals become entrepreneurs, and quite successful ones at that, according to The Next Web. It’s just a matter of knowing when to make the switch.
That’s because they often have the experience of working one-on-one with startups and that spirit (and expertise) rubs off on them and helps them realize that entrepreneurship is a logical step that they can actually take advantage of, thus making even more money than they would as a freelance professional.
For these reasons, the gig economy is not the end of our economic system but a vibrant new beginning. But what do you think readers?
Are you a part of the gig economy, or do you aspire to be? What are your experiences? Share them in the comments section below.
[Featured Image via ShutterStock]