Working in the Gig Economy by Thomas Oppong [Book Summary – Review]

You can have the chance to live and work freely as you wish. This thought is the driving force that causes many people to quit their jobs and start their businesses. Technology has become a tool for people to work in short-term jobs.

The gig economy is the name given to this growing team of freelancers and to the pool of companies that recruit them. And it is quite easy to get lost in this economic network with so many people. But you will be able to find your way easily in the next chapters.

Have you been planning to leave the company you don’t like or are having trouble keeping the balance of money and the people you serve? Then in this book, you will read valuable advice on matters of money before you make difficult decisions.

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Chapter 1 – With the development of technology, many people prefer to work from the comfort of their home instead of spending most of their time working in a company.

We have all been raised with the same thoughts about the methods by which success in business life is achieved. First of all, you get a full-time job that pays a satisfactory salary to cover living expenses after your compulsory college graduation. This ranking is still valid. However, as the working order changes, many opportunities arise that can be utilized.

The driving force of this transformation is technology. Of course, some jobs have lost their function with technological development, but new job opportunities created by technology cannot be denied. People all over the world can now communicate effortlessly and immediately. People’s rigid thoughts about the way they work also became flexible. Jobs, where they do not spend most of their time at work and can work whenever they want, are now more popular.

Thanks to this convenience opportunity, the vast majority of people are involved in the gig economy.

The resilient economy discourages people from spending the whole day in a full-time job. Instead, they prefer to be freelancers. They derive their income from various job opportunities that they call gigs and that were completed in a short time.

Using the internet, freelancers can scan with a screen the search for jobs they can do. They can scan through online sites like Upwork, TaskRabbit, or AngelList. These job platforms offer jobs in many fields and all jobs are expected to be done by experts in their field.

Finding a job has made it very easy in this way. It is therefore quite normal for the gig economy to become more and more common among a large number of people. The job application site indeed surveyed the world’s well-known economies. Between 2013 and 2015, the inclination towards gig works was found to almost double in three-quarters of the countries included in the survey.McKinsey Global Institute, a survey company, found that 5 million people in the UK were in the gig economy in 2016.

For those millions of people living in the UK and many people in the rest of the world, the gig economy provides irresistible opportunities.

Freelancers can do their jobs whenever and wherever they want without designated working hours or a specific workplace – whether they are drinking their coffee in a cafe, exploring an interesting place, or lying on a sofa in their own home. Thanks to this comfort provided by the gig economy, people can devote more time to their families and themselves. The lives and jobs of those involved in the flexible economy are very satisfying.

Chapter 2 – Success in the gig economy is achieved by identifying the area you are good at and the subject you are interested in.

Flexible working opportunities seem quite tempting to get involved. But making a breakthrough and joining the gig economy might scare you at first.

What are the services you can offer people? Will you be able to meet the right buyers? And will you be able to earn a good income for the work you do? These are questions that will get in your mind. Luckily, for all these questions there are satisfactory answers. Let’s answer the first question that I think is the most valuable. What can you serve your prospective employers?

Most people think that all working arrangements should be perfectly suited to the job described. However, to succeed in a flexible economy, you must broaden your perspective. You need to take advantage of all your core abilities and fields you are interested in, not just what you use when needed.

If you are curious about your talents and interests, check out what you have done in your work life so far. Which feature did you benefit the most? What were you good at? What was the most satisfying for you in doing it?

You may be very enthusiastic to do something, but you may find that you are not talented enough of doing that thing. This won’t ruin everything. Once you understand what you want, you can acquire or develop the skills necessary for it. Thanks to the internet, you can find courses to enroll in, read tutorial articles, and produce related projects.

You also need to know what you want your life order to be. Perhaps you want to have a full will to determine your working order, or you have some goals you want to achieve. The work plan you have created should help you in matters you prioritize in your life.

Now, it feels good to have the necessary expertise and be aware of what you want to do. But there are some challenges to creating a work plan within the flexible economy. Learning methods from other people benefits you in this work environment. You can build your career by following the footsteps of the people who already run their business in your interested field.

You can connect with these people through your communication tools or websites such as LinkedIn and exchange ideas about what you wonder. You can listen to the stories of these people about getting started in the flexible economy and the problems they were dealing with. What advice do they want to give you? The main goal here is to get detailed information about their work and the living conditions that the gig economy provides them.

Thanks to this detailed information you have learned, you will be sure when you decide whether the job you want to do will benefit you or not.

Chapter 3 – With the brand value you create and reliability that gives people confidence, you will be on the radar of people who want to work with you.

How can people with an important reputation on social media help you?

These well-known people called social media influencers have valuable information about the way of life and some social issues. These famous people reach out to fanatics who adopt their thoughts by providing useful content. That is, they form a dependent community of followers. Thus, they attract the attention of important leaders in their field. Thanks to this interest, they have income-generating nomenclature, visibility in the media, and more.

It’s not too hard to understand that these people strive hard about how they should present their work to be noticed. If you want to be involved in the gig economy, you have to do it this way.

You have to make your difference so that people who want to get their job noticed among freelancers with the same expertise. Therefore, it is very useful to increase the recognition of your name.

The first step is to find out what you want to be known for. So if you don’t know what you are going to sell, it is not possible to sell it. It is important to determine what you want to be defined as and the goals you want to achieve. What impact would you like to have on a customer who is the first to connect with your work? You can answer it in the way you present yourself.

Once you are sure what you want to be known for, you can prepare to spread it. Today, this spread is mostly done online.

Presenting your personal information online will be a lucrative method. You can use social media tools for this purpose or you can set up a special site for your business. You can provide data flow about innovations in your field, problems you are dealing with, or some projects that make a difference. Useful and solid data will put you in the view of potential customers.

The author of this book has a similar experience. For a year, he wrote articles that focused on productivity and published it on his site. After a while, his articles began to appear in places such as the Huffington Post and Business Insider. Thus, the possibilities for writing about productivity increased.

In addition to blogging, you can publish podcasts or organize online webinars to get your name heard. The focus of each effort you put in is to ensure that people who want to hire you in the future are aware of your work and specialty.

Announcing your credibility is as valuable as announcing your name. People who want to work with you look for permanent employees who can get a job. These people need to be sure of you. They need to be confident that you can complete tasks exactly when you want them and in the best way possible.

You should always consider your confidence in your relationships with potential customers and colleagues. As your reliability and quality become more known, your opportunity to do business with new people will also increase.

Chapter 4 – If you can take advantage of various means and be patient, you can find yourself a good place in the gig economy.

Whenever a new product is launched, you have seen it spread everywhere, right?

Let this product be an energy drink. You will see pictures of the energy drink on billboards. You watch the promotional film on TV one after the other. It is distributed free of charge for promotion at the places where you shop. Magazines distribute discount coupons for this drink. This product can support some sports games. In other words, anything necessary to reach as many people as possible and make them purchase it is done.

Freelancers who want to get any job should apply a similar strategy.

Many freelancers will look for job browsing and sites that post-gig jobs, as described in the prior sections. However, this is not as easy as going online on platforms and deciding on an attractive task.

It is imperative to create a perfect profile and deliver effective sales speeches. Instead of going through all the things you can do, just focus on the client of a field and your skills that are useful to them. Then, you can offer your customers skills that will work well for them. If you can add your admirable projects, your business profile will be stronger.

Don’t forget to include a short but attractive headline. This will easily tell you what you can offer for your customers. The author of this book met with a reputable copywriter a while ago and his online title was “Storyteller: Expert in Words, Mandatory Edited.”

Also, when giving a promotional speech for products, emphasize that they reach the right person. Describe all the memories that led you to success in similar work you did before. Show how to go about doing the job you demand. Remember that you will repeat these introductory talks several times to get accepted for a job. Imagine you have the chance to improve these conversations even if you are rejected.

While your search continues, try to get the job by other methods. First of all, to be visible, increase your interaction, and expand your network, you can do things for free or less. You can submit your reports or method guides as a free download. Or you can do some small tasks for people who could be your clients. If people are satisfied with your work, they can choose and pay you for more comprehensive jobs.

Finally, the best way to attract customers is through an interaction network. Always take the opportunity to promote your work by participating in promotions, events, and webinars organized locally or online. You could meet people who want to work with you and other freelancers wishing to collaborate with you.

Chapter 5 – You are not obliged to do every job you come across, but you should know how to do the rejection.

Since you know that getting work that brings money takes a lot of work, you realize that it is very difficult to reject people who will give you a job. However, sometimes you may have to refuse incoming work.

Some jobs will not match the work you are known to. Some of them cannot be put into your working order. And it’s good to remember: If you attempt to get all the jobs, the time you spend on your family and personal growth will decrease.

You may encounter the problem of which works you should not accept. This is when the useful screening filter comes into play. If you have a rubric to analyze the works requested from you, you will have no trouble figuring out which works are unacceptable.

You should be excited while doing the work you have committed to doing. They must be eye-catching and important to your CV, and you should get a good amount of money back for your effort while doing the job. It is also helpful to do the work that you are likely to get more work from the same client.

Sometimes you may have to accept works that are not on your rubric. This could be because the economy is stagnating or your money is running out. But instead of including them in the list, you should consider them as exceptions.

If the job you are offered to do falls outside your criteria, you should consciously reject the client.

You should give your refusal as quickly as possible because the time of the person who brings you to work is also valuable. You must clearly state your reasons for not accepting the job. You should respect your client and make them feel important and indicate your willingness to work for other jobs in the future. You can even go a little further and say that there are reputable freelancers that you can suggest about the work.

You can create an email template to alleviate the hassle of turning down potential customers. An email that starts with a sincere, thanks to clients for their proposal, and includes a statement supporting your rejection is okay. At the end of the e-mail, you can give advice that you think might be helpful and want to stay connected with other jobs.

Customers who offer works can easily accept the rejection response expressed in this way, and you will not lose your connection with them completely. Later on, these links can bring you more business or pave the way to recommend you to others.

Chapter 6 – Clear requests and transparent communication are valuable for building solid connections with clients.

If you are a freelancer, you should be careful about your communication with clients because although this communication boasts your business, sometimes it can completely disrupt.

If a person became satisfied with the work they have requested from you, they will have the potential to do more business with you in the future. They can even say good things about you in their business interaction community. However, a customer dissatisfied with your work and communication can greatly damage your reputation.

Fortunately, we can mention some ways you can reduce the likelihood of things going backward.

You should make a contract with your customer for every work you commit to doing. You should talk about, accept, and confirm in writing about important issues such as start and end dates of the work, cost, and time of payment. Most importantly, you should decide exactly what the work you promised the client to do and keep a record of your agreement. In this way, everyone can clearly understand the way the work is done and what the expectations are. Instead of complicating the things by preparing contracts over and over for each job, you can create a sample contract text. Then, for each job, you can edit the contract text according to the customer’s and your wishes.

Of course, contracts are essential for a job. But a clear and honest interaction is the most vital. This precise communication should be established between you and the client as soon as you receive a job offer.

Do not disappoint clients’ expectations for your skills or deadlines. After a while, this situation will result in disappointment and both sides will be dissatisfied. Your client has the right to know how and when to learn about updates. The thing you fear the most is calling from your clients and disturbing you on weekends when you spend time with your family and hobbies.

You should be open to receiving positive or negative reviews from your clients from the time you start to the moment you finish the work. In this way, you can solve any problem that may arise at the first moment and ensure that the job is completed exactly as your customer wants. The most constructive method of getting the clients’ review is to present and discuss this part with them when you have finished 30 percent of the work. You should use this method of discussion until 70 percent of the work is completed.

If customers are unhappy with your work, you shouldn’t try to defend yourself immediately.

Instead of defending, think positively, remove their concerns, and try to find ways to address them. So you can transform an unsatisfied customer into someone loyal to you. And you can learn your lesson from this situation and become more specialized.

Chapter 7 – Organized time schedules, determined working hours, and remaining time are the factors that increase your productivity.

Working hours between nine and five are considered to be unfocused. Freelancers may also have trouble focusing. This situation may be more difficult than others. If you are a freelancer, you will not have colleagues to support you in difficult times, a workplace where you can put in to do your work, and no boss to observe you.

This is not something to be aimed at. You cannot earn a lot of money and devote extra time to yourself without improving your productivity. And of course, your delayed deadline and sloppy works can cut your ties with your employer and damage your reputation.

Using time efficiently and doing work effectively is essential for success in the gig economy.

Let’s consider the last days of work you need to complete. You may miss deadlines if you don’t take the time needed for work. That’s why you rush to get the job done quickly. And the standard of the work done quickly may decrease inversely with speed. For this reason, you should tell your customers an appropriate time frame. You can measure the time interval you will complete the work by breaking the work into pieces. If you have done similar projects before, you can easily determine the time to complete the work. You can immediately understand what is necessary and unnecessary for the project by just examining the similar work you have done.

The next step is to come up with a plan for your commitment. So, you can complete your work just in time without sacrificing your sleep or getting tired.

Have certain working hours during the day and maintain full concentration during these hours. Muting all notifications from your phone or computer is the most useful way to do this. Have a certain time frame where you can control notifications and do not get distracted other than this period. To arrange your work time, you should prepare to-do lists. The to-do list should throw you directly into the center of the work, free of time-wasting details before starting a project. Also, if there are new requests suddenly raised for the project, you will not leave the list behind.

It’s a good idea to set a good list and focus timeframe. However, it is also important to leave short breaks for rest. These breaks are precious for your peace of mind. You can use these times with meditation or reading a book. During these breaks, you can make the requirements for your personal development.

You can be inspired by the famous British writer Charles Dickens. He had a specific work routine: he was dealing with writing only five hours a day, and the rest of his time was taking long walks.

You can use the rest of your time walking or dancing. Whatever happens, you should try to do something for yourself outside of work. Thus, your productivity will boast and your job satisfaction will increase.

Chapter 8 – To ensure your financial comfort, you should save money during periods of recession and strike a balance between your expenses and taxes.

Many people with a stable job of nine to five are jealous of freelancers. Rightfully, the gig economy provides good opportunities for freelancers. You can set working times according to your life order, decide which work you do, and complete your project wherever you want.

However, those working with a certain amount of work between nine and five have a certain monthly salary that freelancers do not always get. Freelancers get paid for the work they complete. But when they get no work, they may have financial difficulty. What’s more, it can take a long time for employers to pay you even if you deliver the work properly on time.

Therefore, the financial stabilization clause should be at the top of your list as much as the clause to not miss deadlines.

You will have bills to pay. You may want to take some time, or you may come across an emergency. To deal with all of this, a good savings account wouldn’t be bad. You can be comfortable with such assurance. So, even if you haven’t done any project for at least six months, you should have enough money to meet all your expenses. Therefore, you should save some of the money you receive for every work you complete.

To save money, you should have two accounts: a work account and a personal account, so you will have no trouble keeping track of the flow of money.

Money from projects you have done should be deposited into your work account. You should also make the necessary expenses for the business from this account.

You should use your private account to pay your rent or cover expenses for entertainment. You can now easily calculate the amount of money you need to transfer to your private account and the amount of money you need to earn each month for your expenses.

There is another important thing to be careful about money: taxes. People who have a regular job of nine to five have their taxes cut from their wages, while the freelancers must separate their taxes from the money they earn.

People don’t want to think that they have more taxes than they can afford. That would be a devastation. Fortunately, you can prevent this. You can open a separate account for tax payments. With the help of an accountant, you can find out how much money you should save for tax. But if you don’t have an accountant, you may need to set aside 30 percent of the money you get for each work, as the author of the book suggests. You should also record the money you earn and spend. You can benefit from these records at the time of tax payment. That’s why you should take note of your incoming invoices and expense receipts. You can also take advantage of using some apps for recording.

If you are in good financial condition, your stress level will decrease. This gives you the freedom to refuse unwanted projects to cover your expenses.

Working in the Gig Economy: How to Thrive and Succeed When You Choose to Work for Yourself by Thomas Oppong Book Review

Having a comfortable working condition has many advantages. To truly experience this comfort, you have to do a good job, constantly promote your skills, and manage your time and money well. If you achieve this, you will be completely free. You will have the freedom to choose works that give you great impatience. Thanks to this peace of mind, you will have time to focus on your development, take care of the people you love, and have activities you enjoy doing.

To increase the number of your works, you can get support from your customers who are satisfied with the projects you have completed.

Making speeches promoting your work, publishing the articles you write on your site, and marketing your skills online are some of the most useful ways to catch work. You can also get support from your clients who have completed their work with a great standard. You can ask every client you satisfy to recommend you to others and to be a reference for you. Thanks to these efforts, you will be able to establish a solid business network, increase your reliability, and persuade people with the project to give it to you.

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