WhatIs.com defines this term:
A gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.
The gig economy I want you to consider is being a consultant or contractor where the length of the gig is measured in months or possibly years. Rather than being a full-time employee, you are hired to manage a project, develop a piece of content or software, or work on a project until completion.
You are probably saying to yourself, “Why would I want to do that? I want a full-time job with benefits.” The gig economy is going to make full-time employment a thing of the past. Even if you have a full-time job, you had better start thinking like a contractor or consultant. Your job may not be around next month.
The last thing you want to be is a turkey in this gig economy.
How to not be a turkey
In my last post, Looking at Your Career from a Turkey’s Perspective I discussed how a turkey is born into a safe environment. It is fed and taken care every single day. Life is good. Life is really good…until the 4th Wednesday of November when it is not so good to be a turkey.
In the gig economy, you cannot afford to be a turkey. Whether you are an employee, contractor, consultant or freelancer, you should ALWAYS be looking for your next gig.
As a freelancer, contractor, or consultant, you are hired to solve problems.
What problems do you solve?
Get clear and make sure you can articulate the problems that you solve. You may want to document these in your LinkedIn profile in the summary section as part of your brand story. Use the keywords that will attract people who are looking for people to solve the types of problems you know how to solve.
Look for companies that have the kind of problems that you know how to solve. These are the companies that are capable of hiring you as an employee, contractor, or consultant.
From this day forward, I want you to consider yourself a free agent. As a free agent, you will need a marketing plan. I do not care that you are currently an employee and you think you will be an employee for the rest of your career. Only turkeys think this way.
Create a personal marketing plan that includes the following:
- Target markets
- Target companies within each target market
- Methods for you to promote your talents
- Social Media
- Personal website
It is no longer enough to tell me what can do. You need to demonstrate what you can do. You need examples of your work. You need to publish posts that demonstrate your knowledge.
Show me, do not tell me. Your marketing plan should have a strategy for you to promote your talents and skills.
Building a portfolio career
I have started interviewing baby boomers who have made successful career pivots. Some have created portfolio careers. They have created multiple income streams from different kinds of clients by solving various kinds of problems. A good example is a gentleman who set up a consulting practice where he provided one on one executive coaching, taught leadership classes at a university, taught leadership training workshops for a training company, and consulted for major corporations on HR issues. Each service ebbs and flows during the year.
You have to be prepared to offer services that match the current market demands, which can change from month to month and year to year.
In the coming gig economy, the days of having a safe secure job are over. You need to plan for uncertainty.
Is this shock?
Are you ready for the gig economy or will you be a turkey?
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