The life of the independent worker, although rewarding, has always been plagued with uncertainty. Whether one has decided to embark on a more flexible career path by choice or has arrived there unwillingly (through loss of full-time work or the inability to find a full-time job in their field), the struggle to find steady gigs and earn a decent living while doing what you're passionate about never really ends.
According to a study conducted by Intuit, there are an estimated 3.7 million independent workers vying for jobs in the market right now. This number is expected to grow to more than 60 million people by 2020 in the U.S. That's more than 40 percent of the U.S. workforce.
The good news? This steady growth of the independent workforce has fostered the rapid growth of the on-demand economy and the emergence of hundreds of exciting startup companies that exist to deliver timely and efficient services to the masses. This means hundreds of companies need to hire candidates in pretty much any field in order to meet the demands of users.
The results of a Burston-Marsteller survey show that 45 million Americans (22 percent of the adult population) have offered their services in the on-demand space, and 51 percent of those people have said that their financial situations have improved in the past year, which suggests that the on-demand economy is helping people earn more.
It is fair to say that the days of calling in every week to see if X company has freelance work available are slowly dwindling. Now, with the mere push of a button in an app, one can be connected instantly to a paying job – or two, or three.
The even better news is that these on-demand companies have fairly easy vetting processes. All one needs to be considered for most jobs is a pair of sturdy feet, access to a computer or a car, and, of course, a strong desire to provide excellent customer service. Once they're on the platform, these independent workers have 24/7 access to on-demand jobs rights at their fingertips, choosing when to respond to a request and just how many requests to respond to in any given day. Independent workers can offer their services across several platforms to maximize their exposure and their profit.
Crowded.com spoke with active independent workers and gathered intel on how they are taking advantage of the on-demand economy to find work and maximize their earnings. The following are three ways these workers are getting ahead in this new economy:
1. Lean on HR Tech Companies for Help
Emerging HR tech companies are making it super fast and easy for job seekers to stay on top of on-demand and hourly job postings, with some even going so far as to match independent workers with hiring managers.
Many of these companies also aim to educate job seekers on all things related to the on-demand economy. For example, independent workers struggling with affordable health care can turn to Stride Health, an awesome tech startup that offers affordable health benefits previously denied to the independent worker.
2. Market Yourself in an On-Demand Marketplace to Increase Visibility
Freelance marketer, yoga instructor, graphic designer, and plumber? One-stop shops that offer all these services and more are popping up all the time. Fiverr, Thumbtack, and TaskRabbit, to name just a few, are growing their task forces every day – and you can join these platforms to sell your talents to the world.
You may be surprised by just how much a person can earn in these marketplaces: One freelance worker, for example, makes full-time money while working part-time through Fiverr. It's not unheard of for a freelance worker to gain a loyal following of clients just by providing fast and efficient services through these platforms.
3. Be Creative
This jewelry designer figured out a brilliant way to reach potential customers: by perfecting his sales pitch on his Uber passengers. His $250,000 a year in profits is proof of how the on-demand economy is bringing immeasurable opportunities to the independent worker.
The rise of the on-demand or "gig" economy has brought with it a way a new way of living and earning money for the independent worker. Stats and surveys have shown that there are legitimate opportunities to earn a decent living by putting yourself out there on multiple platforms, getting creative, providing excellent customer service, and leveraging the help of HR tech companies geared towards the on-demand worker!
Joe Rubin is cofounder and director of corporate development at Crowded.com.