I’ve gotten some feedback of recent articles via Twitter lately. I’m enjoying it, so keep it coming. The most common question asked of me is what are the different types of employees of the Gig Economy. Many people seem to think it’s just people working limited hours to make a little extra income. That’s certainly a big sub section of the gig economy, but I’ve found what I believe to be five independent type of gig economy employees. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel hesitant to call them employees, but we’re stuck with that until a better name comes along. If you have any ideas, tweet at me. I’ll give you full attribution. In honor of Family Guy, my early nomination for the name of gig economy employees are: “Giggity’s!”
OK, let’s move on! So here are the five types of gig economy employees:
1: Supplemental Income
The Gig Economy probably works best for those who use it merely to make a supplemental income. They generally have another job that is their main source of income, or potentially are retired and just want a little more spending money. They are not reliant on the gig economy for their well being. It’s a bit of an easy come/easy go scenario for them. If anything ever happened with their job, they would be OK, so they have the peace of mind that their job isn’t vital.
A recent study found that 86% of Lyft drivers work 1-15 hours a work. This would lead me to guess that people in the supplemental income category, far out number the people using the gig economy for their main source of income.
2. Main source of income
For those who use the Gig Economy as their main source of income, there has to be some anxiety. There is the worry over whether you will continue to have enough work to make a steady income. There’s the concern about whether technology/a better app/robots could make your job obsolete. There is also the stress of being on your own when it comes to insurance. With all the advantages that being your own boss brings, not being insured by your “employer” is one of the big drawbacks.
The gig economy doesn’t always supply 40 hour a week jobs, so some people working for the gig economy as their main source of income are underemployed. I don’t include UBER in this, because you could work 40 hours if you’d like too. However, people who write, do delivery’s, etc. may not be getting a full workload.
3. The Social Butterfly’s
Believe it or not, in this world of social media overload, there are people who enjoy the good old fashioned face to face conversation. I try to talk to every UBER driver I get a ride from, and there’s been many who have told me that they do it for the social aspects first, and money second. These could be retiree’s, empty nesters, or widowers, but they are generally some of the older drivers of UBER. They are probably secure financially but enjoy the conversation that comes with driving someone around. Like the ones in it for merely supplemental income, they would survive if their job went by the wayside.
4. “Something is in the Works”
Think of this as comparable to the waiters and waitresses in Hollywood who need to pay the bills as they reach for their dream. I would probably put myself in this category. I enjoy getting paid for my writing via gig jobs, but if I become a successful author, I don’t think I would go back to writing blog posts or previews of upcoming college basketball games.
As I said, I talk to the high majority of my UBER drivers, and many have also told me that they are just doing this temporarily, because “Something is in the Works.” This could be an actor, a writer, an artist, someone applying for other jobs, or someone who routinely plays the Lottery. OK, hopefully it’s not the last one. But you get the idea. These UBER drivers will drive because the opportunity is there to make enough money to continue pursuing their dreams when they aren’t working.
5. The Money Makers
Obviously, the big money makers of the gig economy are the people who start these apps themselves, and bring speed or security to the masses. But there are others who make darn good money using the economy and they don’t have much to do. I’m thinking largely of people who rent out luxury items via an app, whether it be property, a boat, a jet ski or something in a similar vein.
Airbnb is the obvious example. If you own a property and travel a lot you can make really good money on your home/apartment for the times you are on the road. I have a friend who has a beautiful 2 bedroom condo in San Francisco overlooking the Bay Bridge and got $1,000 a night for three nights when a recent huge conference was in town. Before Airbnb, if you left town the only thing you might get at your abandoned place is a burglary. Now you are making money hand over fist. Owning property truly is king, and that’s more true now than it’s ever been.
These are the five main types of people who work in the gig economy. There are obvious sub sections of each, and Veryfier is helping launch one of those subsections: The expert. Next week we will find out more about Veryfier with an interview with their founder Laurent Piani. It will hopefully bring into focus exactly how Veryfier works and the ups and downs of launching your own app. Should be an interesting read for all you entrepreneurs out there…..
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.
90% responsible writer. 25% juvenile delinquent.
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