After growing slowly for several decades, the gig economy has taken off in a big way. The availability of high-speed internet service has made it possible for freelancers and gig workers to connect with the employers who need their services. At the same time, specialty websites have sprung up, allowing individual homeowners to subcontract everything from putting together a piece of furniture to mowing the lawn.
If you are a participant in that gig economy, you already know the freedom and flexibility this lifestyle can provide. At the same time, you worry about the uncertainty of your income stream as you wonder where your next corporate assignment or adhoc gig will come from.
Being a freelancer or full-time member of the gig economy is not for the faint of heart, and it can be difficult to cobble together a solid income. If you want to succeed in this brave new world, you need to take a proactive approach to marketing your services and demonstrating your products.
Even if you are not used to tooting your own horn, a little self-promotion can pay off big time in the gig economy and the world of freelancing. Here are some practical tips to get you started.
Market Yourself on Social Media
Do your Facebook friends know that you are moonlighting as a handyman? Do the subscribers to your Twitter feed realize that you are also an accomplished photographer? Your existing social network could be the key to landing more and better gigs, so let the world know what you have been up to.
You do not have to turn your Facebook page into a steady stream of ads; in fact doing so could be counterproductive. Simply sprinkling a few mentions of your freelancing or gig work could be enough to get the attention of would-be clients.
Do not forget that every Facebook friend, Twitter follower and other social media contact could connect you with dozens of potential clients. So do some bragging; it might mean more money in your wallet.
Use Video to Showcase Your Expertise
The beauty of freelancing and gig work is that it allows individuals to benefit from their expertise and profit from what they know. Whether you are a wiz at assembling those baffling furniture pieces from IKEA or a genius at computer programming, showcasing your expertise on video is a great idea.
Whether you set up a formal YouTube channel or just post a few random videos, the visual format gives you the opportunity to show off what you know and advertise what you can do. Just add your contact information to the content you post and wait for clients to beat a path to your door.
Tell Your Own Story
Every freelancer has a personal story to tell. Every member of the gig economy is there for a reason. Yet few members of this brave new world of work take the time to tell those stories.
If you want to land more clients, build repeat business and establish a solid personal brand, start by telling your story on your terms. What made you abandon the security of a full-time career for the exciting but uncertain world of freelancing? What do you love most about freelancing? What drives you crazy? Connecting with would-be clients on a personal basis could be the first step to a lucrative new career.
Recognize That You Are Your Brand
In the corporate world, companies spend millions of dollars to build and maintain their brands. In the gig economy and the world of freelancing, each individual is responsible for the branding they do.
When you work as a freelancer or participate in the gig economy, you are your brand, and you need to take that responsibility very seriously. Developing a solid brand identity and working hard to maintain it are integral parts of your business, and they should be treated as such.
No matter what happens to the economy at large, the gig economy is here to stay. If you want to profit from that brave new world, you need to make marketing a priority. The tips listed above can help you get started - the rest is up to you.