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What Spawned This New Gig Economy?

Kalen Bruce | December 12, 2016

The new gig economy is taking off.

Technically, independent contractors have been around for ages, but this is something different.

With the rate of growth the gig economy has experienced since 2000, something is obviously happening.

But what? What is the cause of this? How did it all start and why is it just now getting so big?

Let’s start with the most basic question…

What Exactly is the Gig Economy?

The term “gig economy” is easy to understand.

Think about a musician. They’ve always called their shows “gigs,” because they’re independent contractors.

They may play at a different place every night or they may play in the house band at the same club for 10 years, but they’re still independently contracted. They work for themselves.

The uprising gig economy is just like that, but it would be more fitting if the musicians used an app to book all of their gigs. Because the uprising of this new gig economy is all about technology — apps and websites mostly.

Look at how the gig economy has been growing over just a couple of years.

The most popular gig companies deal with rooms (Airbnb) and rides (Uber, Lyft), and since they’re easy to compare to employment companies like hotels and taxi services, this chart shows just how much the gig economy is growing:

Why the Sudden Surge?

It’s apparent that the gig economy is growing, but why? Why the sudden growth over the last couple decades?

I’ll go ahead and state the obvious and then we’ll dive deeper. Technology is the underlying reason behind the boom. Technology grows at an exponential rate, so anything that is feeding off of it will see exponential growth as well.

Thus, the gig economy is expanding rapidly.

But it may not only be advances in website capabilities and app features that are taking the gig economy to the next level.

The truth is, the entire business world is changing. It’s a paradigm shift that started with the popularity of the personal computer, but then exploded after The Great Recession.

Instead of beating you to death with a bunch of boring economics (which I would love …”Hi, my name is Kalen and I am an economics nerd” …”Hi Kalen!”), I will give you a personal example from the CEO of a company that is heavily involved in the gig economy:

When I started my career, things were already different. If you weren’t changing companies every three or four years, you simply weren’t getting ahead in your career. But back then, if you said you were a consultant or freelancer, people wondered what was wrong with you. They would likely assume you had problems getting a job or weren’t a stellar employee.

Today, consulting or freelancing for five businesses at the same time is a badge of honor. It shows how valuable an individual is. Many companies now look to these “ultimate professionals” to solve problems their full-time teams can’t. Or they save money by hiring “top-tier experts” only for particular projects.

Working at home or in cafes, starting businesses with teams of consultants and freelancers you’ve met only online, and even launching business ventures that eventually may fail, all indicate “initiative,” “creativity,” and “adaptability,” which are very desirable traits in today’s workplace.

-Micha Kaufman, CEO, Fiverr (Source)

That sums it up in a few paragraphs, and you didn’t even have to learn new terms that are only in the Dictionary of Economics (yes, it really exists).

The point is, the gig economy is the new economy, and it’s still becoming the economy of the future, which means it will only get bigger. It got here, in short, because: millennials. It’s a new mindset. It’s a new economy.

How You Can Take Advantage of the Gig Economy

You might as well jump on board.

Of course, you can give rides or rent rooms, but that’s not the only way to get involved.

You can become a host at Airbnb or become a driver for Uber if your area has a need for more rooms and rides, but why not consider something more unique.

You can become a Veryfier and be apart of the gig economy without leaving your home or meeting with people in person.

Or why not consider starting your own business in the new gig economy?

The beauty of the gig economy is little to no startup costs. Start thinking.

kalen bruce
Kalen Bruce is the founder of MoneyMiniBlog.com. He defies millennial laws by having no debt and four children.