What is a “gig” economy, and how does it affect you? A gig economy is one in which temporary job positions are common, and one in which organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. In the web design sector, and in other business sectors as well, a gig economy has either arrived, or the trend is in that direction.
According to an Intuit study, 40% of American workers will work as independent contractors by 2020. In the digital design sector, movement toward a gig economy has been hastened by the fact that the work that needs to be done, can be done from almost anywhere.
If your work in web design is that of a freelancer, you are already a part of this new economy. If you work for a small design agency, both you and the agency are nearly so. We are, in fact, in the midst of a paradigm shift in web design.
A thought-provoking Forbes article asks the question, Does Your Personality Fit the Gig Economy? – and outlines three personality traits you should have if you want to succeed as a freelancer or “gig worker”.
Risk and Adventure, or Security?
You may have what it takes if you have a thirst for adventure, and you are motivated by change, uncertainty, and a need to take risks, and in fact, you thrive on risk-taking, and sailing into uncharted waters. Freelancers and solopreneurs do not like failure any more than anyone else, but they are not afraid to fail. This does not mean that, as a web designer, you should take on new tasks without a plan in mind. It simply means that your work habits, and indeed your lifestyle, is characterized by a constant desire to improve, learn new skills, search for and use the best tools, and explore more creative ways in which to do what you do best.
When you are a part of the gig economy you set your own goals. You have to. There’s no one to do it for you. You’re the CEO of your own franchise. You get to make the decisions, which means you also have to assume the risks. No one is prodding you to work harder, to work later, or to work stronger. Any need to do so comes from within. In the corporate world, an ability to work towards big goals is a key to advancement. As a freelance designer, a willingness to work towards big goals is key to your success. It can be helpful to remember that the way to achieve big goals is to strive to achieve smaller but important goals during your journey.
In a gig economy, you don’t have to be the leader of the crowd or strive to be a crowd favorite. You are the crowd. Being achievement-driven means you have a tendency to dislike work that’s too routine or too easy. Instead, you are attracted to assignments that offer a challenge, and to assignments that you can learn and gain valuable experience from. You may justifiably take satisfaction in the design of your first web app, but you also have an intense desire to make the next one much better. To excel in a gig economy takes the right mix of ambition, goal setting, and improving your web design skills and performance.
Do you have what it takes? If you are already a freelance, and you are enjoying some success, you probably do. If you are continuously striving to improve in all aspects of your design work and your business, and you are willing to take risks and try new things, you definitely have what it takes.
The First Steps Toward Becoming a Successful Freelancer
The very first step is to set up a good portfolio. We suggest you read this article, where you’ll find our best recommendations for setting up a beautiful Portfolio on WordPress.
The second thing is to start small. Being eager to take on a challenge should not imply taking on more work than you can handle, or accepting assignments for which you do not as yet have the skills to complete.
You also need to be able to work with clients, work under pressure and stress, and above all, meet deadlines.
Additional suggestions to help you become a full-time freelancer:
Improve the Way You Work – Take the concept of continuous improvement seriously. Read, research, experiment, and create and test your own design concepts. Try your best to learn from everything and from everyone.
Choose the Right Tools – Experiment with different tools until you find those that save you time, while delivering quality. Once you’ve done that, keep on experimenting. Pre-built websites are excellent to work with, and these Be website concepts will continue to improve, just as you should plan to do. Since they cover a wide range of niches, you can be assured of finding concepts that lend themselves to delivering the best possible solutions to your clients.
Identify the Best Ways to Land Clients – There are many ways to promote yourself. Having a social media presence (Facebook, LinkedIn) is one way; publishing or contributing to a blog is another. Writing about what you enjoy doing and how you apply your skills isn’t usually all that difficult.