If you’re an avid news watcher, you may assume it’s mostly doom and gloom right across the business sector due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. There is no doubt some businesses and industries are really doing it tough out there. However, for a good number of businesses, there is confidence in the air.
At OnTalent, we’re seeing a number of businesses seeking out talent and given the unemployment rate is low (it dropped to 4.9% in June 2021 from 5.1% in May), it's safe to say we’re dealing with a hot market at the moment. This also means that the Gig Economy is red-hot. At OnTalent, the recruitment arm of our business has seen a significant increase in 2021; particularly within Human Resources (HR) where there is currently high demand.
So, what is the Gig Economy and why is it so popular at the moment? Oxford Dictionary defines the Gig Economy as, “A labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work as opposed to permanent jobs.” Think of companies like Uber, UberEats and Airtasker.
With contractors and freelancers being in such high demand, for those out of a job or looking to make some extra money outside of their day job, your personal brand is more important than ever before. Regardless of whether people realise it or not, we all have a personal brand that communicates to others what we’re all about. Our personal brand is made up of our ethos — our goals and mission. High profile individuals such as Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs immediately spring to mind when I think of known people with a strong personal brand.
Let’s break down what’s important if you’re an aspiring contractor or freelancer in today’s super competitive market. As a starting point, you need to have clarity around your:
• Skills and what you can offer.
• Worth in the current market.
• Ability to be flexible and adaptable.
• Point of difference. What sets you apart from others in the same line of work? Don’t be beige!
If you are looking for work, be sure to use your network effectively. Understand that networking isn’t a set-and-forget exercise. You need to maintain your momentum to ensure you have a steady flow of work coming in constantly. Compile a list of people you’ve worked with in the past who you can call to touch base with. Use social media channels such as LinkedIn to your advantage. Create a simple website that clearly communicates what you do and build on your portfolio (for example, if you’re a photographer, showcase your best images or if you’re a writer, maintain a blog). Don’t assume that people know you’re looking for work. One of the keys to being successful in the Gig Economy is to put yourself out there and to realise that you’re likely going to need to engage with people across multiple touchpoints. Word of mouth is invaluable as a contractor or freelancer.
Have a think about how much work you can take on and deliver to a high standard. This may require a bit of experimentation to begin with but establishing your capacity will be vital to your success as a contractor or freelancer in the long-term. Ensure you reach out to your accountant to cross-check that you’ve set your business structure up in a way that best suits your needs.
Are you ready to introduce the world to your ‘Brand Me’ and to step out of the shadows? If you’ve been pondering whether to offer contracting or freelancing services, this is the perfect time to test the waters as the market is red-hot and demand is currently exceeding supply. Put together a strategy and keep in mind, you don’t need to go it alone. Invest in your future now and reap the rewards.
Deborah Wilson is a Thought Leader and a Career Strategist. She takes a personalised approach to strategic career coaching and career transitions, mentoring and leadership development. Deborah provides expert guidance for individuals while supporting organisations through change and connecting people and purpose. Call Deborah on +61 403 779 746.