Some workers will have long term independent contracts or ‘freelance’ contracts in their respective fields of endeavor, however, many of those that are unable to find positions in their preferred arena or have the need for flexibility have joined the bandwagon of doing ‘whatever it takes’. Some workers attempt to ‘work’ 25-30 hours per week hoping to have an average income of say, $25.00/hour. This may mean working upwards of 40 hours per week if a set weekly income is expected and those hours may begin at 4:00am and end at 11:00pm, depending on the type of work available and the type of work that one is willing to take. These workers may work over this span of time so that they can be available to get their children off to school, be home to have dinner with their family and even to attend the neighborhood yoga class. Maybe it is because they have returned to school in order to obtain a degree or procure an advanced degree.
There are also APPS available for smart phones where individuals looking for freelance work can register. Once a job is available, someone with the APP can accept the assignment through the APP and can also receive payment through the APP. Pretty interesting, isn’t it? Can you imagine not knowing where you are going to work or what you will be doing day to day….and most importantly, if you will have anything to do or any income at all?
Recently, the New York Times Sunday Business Section highlighted a few individuals that work Freelance. One woman was registered with a driving service that allows people to summon drivers via APPS and a task service called TaskRabbit that allows customers to ‘order’ helpers. In a given day, she may pick someone up at their home to drive them to the airport, weed a garden, deliver fast food to a client’s home and spend an hour in a grocery store with a client’s list for delivery to the respective client’s home. This independent or freelance work is affectionately referred to in 2014 as the ‘sharing economy’. This woman is registered via APP with every Freelance service in her general area.
In the promising phraseology of a sharing economy, whose sites and apps connect people seeking services with sellers of those services, the workers are micro-entrepreneurs in their own right. That is, an independent contractor who earns money by providing his/her skills, time or property to consumers in search of a lift, a room to sleep in, a dry cleaning pickup, a chef, an organizer of closets. For individuals seeking a sideline, these services can provide extra income. Beyond the ride services, there are businesses like TaskRabbit and Fiverr; on demand delivery services like Postmates and Favor; and grocery shopping services like Instacart (catchy name, don't you think?).
Individuals offering services such as requested by most clients are best to diversify. People are doing this in the midst of wage stagnation and income inequality and they need to do these things to survive, for either financial or personal reasons. There is certainly a growing trend to utilize what is now referred to as GIG technology in order to find work; we’ve been using the internet for years for job hunting, etc.
There are no definitive statistics on how many people work in the ‘gig’ (these jobs or tasks are referred to as ‘gigs’….more words for next year’s Scrabble dictionary) economy but apparently approximately 17.7 million Americans last year worked more than half time as independent contractors, among them project workers. With piecemeal gigs easier to obtain than long-term employment, a new class of laborer, dependent on precarious work and wages is emerging. One may be able to paint someone’s shed this week but they don’t know what will be happening next week. Some have steady customers that they work for on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This type of work makes those of us in the Temporary/Permanent Placement business actually focus on the meaning of the word Temporary.
I have a great deal of respect for those that work doing what needs to be done, however, the worker has a great deal of competition out there and it is best, if someone wants to begin doing freelance/independent piecemeal work until a temporary/permanent position in their respective field arises or until a steady position with more flexibility aries, to spend a little bit of time analyzing what services are needed in one’s physical location and what is the best way to tap into those that will pay for the services.
For those that are interested in running a company that ‘hires’ the individuals that provide these services, please note that there are a number of companies that have locations across the United States and the developed world and there are Venture Capitalists that have money to invest.
Fifteen to twenty years ago Freelance work was synonymous with ‘can’t get a job’ or ‘unfocused’. There was a quasi-negative stereotype to Freelance work and that could not be further from the truth today. Now, freelances are largely regarded as enterprising and entrepreneurial for making an independent career path work. Many freelances are met with intrigue as others try to figure out what it really takes to make it as an independent worker. Being a small business owner is very similar to ‘freelance’ work since I really don’t know day to day or week to week what the business world has available for me and SCB Services, LLC!
One can always attempt to utilize Craigslist to find work. I recently placed an ad on Craig’s List for someone to walk my rescue puppy 2 – 3 times per week. My response was great and I ended up with a few that did not want to work through the commitment but now I have a young girl who is a college graduate looking for full time work and helping me out a few hours per week while cleaning houses at the same time. Again, we do what needs to be done in most instances. My mission in life, since I realized that I wanted to be in the Human Resources profession, is to help individuals find work…whatever it takes!!!