Ways to find success in the “gig” economy
By Edith Moricz, MBA
The current employment situation can enable people from diverse backgrounds and professions to build a successful career as contingent workers and consultants. While the “gig” economy has its downsides, it can, nonetheless, provide opportunities for financial security and for achieving long-term goals if one sagely employs his or her skill sets.
I know this runs counter to what many people say they face in their work lives. But if they properly leverage their talents, their work experience, and even their life experiences, they can succeed in the “gig” economy.
The most important step is to understand one’s talents, skills, and experiences – to examine what one has to offer and how this can be used to help others solve their most urgent problems. I have recommendations (see below) on how this can be done.
But first, I want to say my own experience can serve as an example of successfully making the transition to working independently. For many years, I was employed by some of the largest companies in the country. I’ve also worked in smaller mission-driven organizations. But then I realized my strongest skills could be used even more directly to help others and impact their lives.
One example of something I have loved doing since working as an entrepreneur (taking best practices from my many years in corporate culture and incorporating them into my own programs ) is career coaching. I developed a custom career-coaching program called FastTrack2YrDreamJob, which is how I coach professionals around the country toward landing their dream job. For my program and its success stories, I was named Best Career Coach 2017 by LinkedIn. My techniques and strategies in coaching are inspired by what I learned during my own job transition several years ago.
In addition to being a coach, I also am an educator, fundraiser, and entrepreneur. It was by embracing the “gig” economy that I’ve found success in sharing my passions, skills, and experiences to improve the lives of my clients and my students. But before I started coaching talented, motivated professionals, I needed to identify what skills I had to offer and how these skills could help others.
So here are some actions I recommend to get you to the point where you are ready to “go live” with your talents and help others.
1) Join mastermind groups and attend workshops.
A mastermind group basically is peers getting together to mentor each other. I’ve found such groups stimulate insightful ideas that each participant can use in their careers.
2) Absorb new ideas like a sponge.
To absorb new ideas, you need not just to be open to new ideas but be participating in professional activities that provide these ideas. Read professional books, magazines, web posts — go to seminars and wherever else there are good ideas being shared.
3) Set realistic timetables for achievements.
Work thoroughly and thoughtfully to build your business; don’t expect to instantly be the featured presenter on professional roundtables.
4) Get access to coaching.
This is critical. Be it through online social media groups, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, or other sources, the support, inspiration, and motivation provided by like-minded, accomplished, and visionary professionals can be a tremendous help. Of course, you also can find and hire your own personal coach.
Coaching can push you to do what you need to do to be the best professional you can be. It helps you think big and turn your vision into reality by, once again, establishing timetables for your goals. Over the long term, coaching also can encourage you along a path of constant improvement and continual learning. It’ll also help prevent you from second guessing yourself. This is crucial.
5) Use the SMART method for achieving goals.
SMART is a system that employs an acronym for setting professional objectives. Specifically, the letter “S” means “specific.” “M” means measurable. And, most commonly, “A” means achievable, “R” means relevant, and “T” means time-bound.
6) Get involved with the PDC — and its workshops.
This is a great way to learn new skills, network with other professionals, and build your vision for professional growth. PDC workshops work well for people on a tight budget because its workshops are very reasonably priced. As a PDC instructor myself for the past six years, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the networking opportunities this organization provides, and the benefits of partnering with a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster and encourage learning, and to sharpen professional skills.
7) Partner with a “virtual assistant.”
A VA is someone who provides office assistance — tasks you are too busy to do — from their own home. If you’re not good at typing, or bookkeeping, employ someone skilled in these areas to do it for you, and spend this time growing your business. A VA can banish limitations you think you have and expand your expectations about building your future as you power through nitty-gritty tasks in a budget-friendly manner.
8) Establish monthly income targets and then list the activities you need to do daily and weekly to make this income a reality.
Some examples of consistent activities you need to do may be to:
- Network online and offline.
- Brand your expertise and your skills on LinkedIn, Facebook, and/or Instagram (to name a few) focusing on your target audience(s).
- Be very clear with everyone you speak with about your business on three types of problems you solve for individuals and/or businesses. Clearly identify your value based on your “intellectual property” — your experience, skills, and expertise.
In addition, here are five ways for you to conceptualize the big picture as you build your consulting program:
- What problems do you solve?
- How do you add value to projects you are called to work on?
- Examine your audience — the people to whom you will be talking about the services you have to offer. Ask yourself questions as you seek to understand the depth and complexity of their challenges.
- Offer a menu of options to prospective clients – ways you can help them solve their problems. Remember; you are using your skills to be the problem solver.
- Determine your optimal fee structure based on your research of your market. Remember to always focus on the value you provide, on the ways you can help individuals and companies within your target market.
Edith Moricz is president and CEO of rocketYOUR nonprofit. She is a career coach, fundraising coach, adjunct professor, and author. Edith began her career as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch. For 13 years, she was a philanthropic advisor, doing fundraising for local and national charities. Then she began coaching non-profit leaders and their teams on maintaining a healthy cash flow. She currently provides on-site and remote coaching to non-profits around the country. She was named LinkedIn’s Best Career Coach in 2017. Edith can be reached at 617.755.1772 or on LinkedIn. She offers 20-minute complimentary phone consults on career and fundraising coaching.