I recently finished reading The Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want! by Diane Mulcahy. In case you’re wondering, the gig economy is one based on independent workers contracting with organizations for temporary assignments. As a sign of its growth, a study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors.
The Gig Economy is based on a popular course Mulcahy created and that Forbes.com named one of the top ten most innovative business school classes in the nation. She also exemplifies the gig lifestyle by serving as an adjunct lecturer, conference speaker, and author. Listed here are what she calls the Ten Rules to Succeed in the Gig Economy:
1. Define Your Success
3. Create Your Own Security
4. Connect Without Networking
5. Face Fear by Reducing Risk
6. Take Time Off Between Gigs
7. Be Mindful About Time
8. Be Financially Flexible
9. Think Access, Not Ownership
10. Save for a Traditional Retirement
…But Don’t Plan on Having One
According to the Center for a New American Dream, life has become less about square feet in our homes, the cars in our driveways, and dollars in the bank and more about experiences, relationships, and personal fulfillment. “The emergence of ‘digital nomads’ is one example of this new, less-materialistic version of success,” writes Mulcahy. “It’s the antithesis of the traditional life centered on an office building, a mortgage, and a commute between the two.” In other words, mobility equals technology plus liquidity.
Another way of participating in the gig economy is by creating what I call the portfolio life, which is what I have been in the business of doing ever since I started Lightpost Communications more than fifteen years ago. The key is maintaining flexibility through diversifying the portfolio of gigs, which in my case includes writing, editing, speaking, and consulting. If one area lags, I gotta rev up others.
Yet another key is limiting the fixed costs of operating a business and a life. For example, I used to use a lot of paper and ink in my business until I went paperless and got rid of my printer, saving me hundreds of dollars a year. And my wife and I lease furnished places that include utilities, as well as our crossover vehicle. Fixing our personal and professional overhead lessens the financial pressures of the gig economy. Wherever you are on your journey, the gig economy is likely to be a part of it, so prepare yourself!