They set their own hours. They have control over their earning potential. And, for the most part, they appear to love their work. Meet the new cohort of on-demand, self-employed workers who are engaged in flexible jobs thanks to new tech-driven platforms and apps.
Here’s the low down on this growing marketplace and some pointers for those wanting to join the fold.
What is an on-demand self employed worker?
Smartphones and apps have created an environment for the on-demand economy, in which customers demand products and services at the touch of a screen. This smart way of matching demand and supply hinges on an army of freelance or self-employed workers who can make a career out of it.
Whether people drive their own cars for ride-share services such as Uber and Lyft, or sell their products from home through sites like Etsy, these workers have one thing in common: job flexibility that makes traditional workers jealous.
Why is the on-demand self employment trend thriving?
The on-demand workplace, a digital extension of the freelance community allowing people to turn ‘side jobs’ into a business, is growing quickly in an era when many people seek relief from the nine-to-five grind. More than that, they want to pursue work opportunities that match their skills and lifestyle.
Like most employees, on-demand workers want an income for themselves, but they have an ability to make choices and plan their own schedules in a way that many workers can’t. Their time is their currency, and they can work when and where they want. Think of an Uber driver, who can pick up passengers during a lunch break, at night or on weekends – the choice is theirs.
How can you become an on-demand self employed worker?
The options are endless. Online marketplaces including eBay and Etsy represent a major form of on-demand work; transportation jobs through services such as Uber and Lyft currently dominate the headlines; and food and grocery deliveries via players such as Instacart are increasingly popular.
As an independent contractor, you can become an instant hotelier through Airbnb, a courier using platforms like Postmates, or engage in pet sitting, cleaning and homecare services, childcare, odd jobs, errands and handyman tasks – you name it.
How do you sell yourself?
Just as people in a ‘regular’ job record their experience and add it to their CV, many on-demand workers who move from project to project may benefit from keeping a work portfolio.
Through digital ratings systems that monitor customer feedback, workers have a chance to sell their skills and enhance their networks – not unlike employees in the mainstream workforce.
What business tools can help?
While many on-demand workers don’t strictly see themselves as business operators, they are engaged in an endeavour that makes them money and pays for their wants and needs. As such, it’s important to be as organised as possible, especially with finances.
You can take advantage of QuickBooks Self-Employed, a new mobile app for sole traders and the self-employed that makes tasks such as invoicing and bookkeeping a breeze. It also takes the headache out of preparing for tax time.
While certain traditional industries protest the rise of Uber and other market disruptors, on-demand work is here to stay. Consumers want it, and the workers are willing to provide a relatively cheap and highly flexible form of labour. When do you want to start?
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