What Is A Gig Worker? And How To Become One (With Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 October 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Project-to-project and freelance job opportunities are expanding as gig work becomes more commonplace in the workforce. The expansion of the gig economy allows professionals to explore nontraditional career options and discover opportunities across diverse industries. With this work, you can take on various roles on a freelance basis within a gig framework, from technology and sales to construction and education. In this article, we define a gig worker, discuss their types, look at key benefits of a gig economy, enlist steps to become such a professional and provide tips for finding gig work.

What Is A Gig Worker?

A gig worker is a professional who, instead of receiving a regular income, receives payment based on completing one-time projects or gigs. In this flexible work environment, employers offer payment on a freelance or contractual basis for work opportunities that are available temporarily. For example, a company may hire contract staff to help with an unusually large project for a client. Such professionals often work with multiple clients instead of with a single organisation as a regular employee would.

Related: What Is The Gig Economy? Definition And Career Advice

How To Become A Gig Worker?

To pursue gig work and find job opportunities regularly, consider the following steps as a guide:

1. Understand the gig economy

Before pursuing this role, understand the gig economy and gig service in the sector of your interest. Researching what companies look for in gig professionals, such as qualifications, certificates, education and experience, can assist you in acquiring the skills for various gigs. Learning how to organise your work life as a gig service provider can help you complete projects and tasks more efficiently.

You may also find establishing and adhering to a regular work schedule useful. Ensure that you have the required resources and technology for offering your services, such as a home office with a computer setup and a high-speed internet connection. Many gig professionals approach this type of work as a small business, so adopting such a mindset from the start can help you achieve success.

Related: What Is A Business Cycle? (Definition And Important Stages)

2. Build a portfolio to show your notable work

The next step in becoming a successful gig professional is creating a portfolio of your work. Employers who hire employees on a project-by-project basis are typically more interested in reviewing a work portfolio than a resume, so having a well-designed portfolio can increase your chances of getting the job. A portfolio acts as evidence to support your credentials and abilities. You can include previous projects, clients, customer testimonials and samples of your work.

For instance, suppose you are a web designer. Your portfolio may contain a selection of websites you have created for other businesses and their feedback regarding each website and your work. If you are a construction professional, you may have a different type of portfolio, including documentation of the various projects you have worked on, copies of your trade and safety certificates and client testimonials regarding the quality of your work.

Related: How To Make a Portfolio: A Step-By-Step Guide

3. Look for gigs on online job boards

Use online job boards to browse gig work in your field of interest. When using these boards, create an account and fill out your profile information. Including your skills, work experience, education and other relevant details about your professional background and qualifications may help you easily find jobs matching your interest. A well-filled profile can allow employers who may look for your services to easily find and connect with you.

Related: How To Find A Part-Time Job

4. Utilise online platforms and applications to join communities

Joining specialised networking communities, frequently comprising individuals with various types of expertise, is an additional step towards becoming a successful gig professional. In such an environment, you may discuss potential job opportunities, refer gigs to colleagues, and make professional connections to support your work. As many freelancers and independent contractors work alone, having a support system can help you manage any stress and difficulties you encounter at work.

Tips For Finding A Gig Work

Here are a few helpful tips to consider when looking for gig jobs:

  • Develop your skill set. Continuously commit to learning and developing industry skills. For example, if you are a freelance writer, commit to learning new writing styles, reducing your error rate and enhancing your work performance.

  • Build a professional network. Network and communicate with other professionals offering similar services or working with similar clients as you. This can help you build professional relationships that may, in the future, help you get more gig opportunities.

  • Consider your transferable skills. Consider the range of skills you use to complete your gigs and how they may apply to different jobs. For example, if you have honed your communication and customer service skills, explore opportunities where you can put these capabilities to use, such as a remote support representative for a tech company.

  • Share your work portfolio. Find ways to share your portfolio and discuss your work, especially with potential clients who may benefit from your services. To additionally market your skills, keep copies of your portfolio on your personal websites, gig profiles and job board profiles.

  • Ask for referrals and recommendations. When you complete a project or job for a client, consider asking them for a testimonial and a future referral to their networks. This can improve your reputation in the domain and connect you with potential clients.

Types Of Gig Workers

There are a wide variety of gig services across industries and employers. Some of the major types include:

Freelancers

Freelancers work within industries like technology, marketing, consulting and writing. These professionals often complete one-time projects, such as creating content for a website, building a web app or offering consultation services. While some of these professionals have long-term clients who pay them project-to-project, others contribute to projects on a client-by-client basis.

Related: What Does Freelance Mean? Definition, Tips And Popular Jobs

Tutors and teachers

The education sector is also expanding into the gig economy, allowing teaching professionals to find unconventional employment opportunities. Teachers who have excellent presentation skills on camera may work for an online learning platform for one-time course recording. Similarly, private tutors may also work per assignment or course. Such diverse opportunities in the education field allow them to choose where, when and how they want to work.

Construction employees

The construction industry offers a significant number of gig jobs. From electricians and plumbers to welders and carpenters, many employees find high-paying jobs in construction and similar trades on a project-to-project basis. Specialised professionals, like architects and site engineers, can also earn income as gig employees.

Related: Construction Skills: Definition, Examples And How To Improve

Finance professionals

Accountants, financial planners and stockbrokers are just some of the professionals who may enter the gig economy. They may assist clients with improving accounting practices, building investment portfolios or conducting financial planning. As gig professionals in the finance sector develop their specialised expertise, they have the potential to earn a respectable income.

Related: Build A Career In Finance By Applying For One Of These 12 Jobs

Administrative support professionals

Administration service professionals may also work temporarily. Gig employees in administrative roles include virtual assistants, administrative assistants, data entry specialists and appointment setters. The work available to gig professionals in administrative support can depend on the type of organisation and other employers' requirements. These employees may staff an office's information desk, organise files or help with human resources activities.

Foodservice and hospitality professionals

Many candidates seeking gig work find opportunities to earn a substantial income in the food service and hospitality industries. Caterers, personal chefs, bartenders and food preparers are just some professionals who often find work in the gig economy; for example, a bartender may work only at special events like weddings. Some other gig jobs in the hotel, restaurant and food service industries include hotel concierges and maintenance employees.

Related: Careers In Hotel Management: Skills, Jobs And Salaries

Transportation service professionals

There are many types of jobs available for drivers in the gig economy. A driver may work to deliver packages and food. They can also find work opportunities through ride-sharing platforms to transport people to their destinations.

Key Benefits Of A Gig Economy

Here are a few key benefits of working in a gig economy for a professional:

  • Low entry barrier: It is comparatively easy to work in the gig economy than to find a regular full-time job. There are many gig jobs that are simple without requiring mandatory qualifications or previous experience.

  • Flexibility: Professionals in the gig economy often have the option to decide on their working hours and clients. Many gig professionals offering remote services in the gig economy choose to work from home.

  • Variety: Gig economy professionals often work on multiple tasks for various projects and clients, which can keep their work interesting by increasing the job diversity of their work.

  • Opportunity to test: Many individuals may have a small business idea they wish to test, but it may not be suitable for them to quit their primary job to do so. Working in the gig economy is an excellent way to try various side jobs with minimal risk.


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