What Is the Gig Economy? How Can You Make the Most of It?

The gig economy might seem trendy and new, but it's actually a time-tested system with many benefits. Read the article to find out if gig work is right for you.

As we continue to go through The Great Resignation (an ongoing trend of people voluntarily leaving their jobs), there’s a great shift toward gig work. In this gig economy, people are taking on more temporary and part-time work as freelancers rather than regular employees. 

Whether you’re looking to get into this line of work or are an employer considering hiring freelancers, the gig economy could offer considerable benefits. Still, there are some drawbacks to review before you jump in. We’ll cover both, as well as how you can make the most of the gig economy in this article.


What Is the Gig Economy?

The gig economy refers to the sector of our labor market in which people earn money by offering on-demand, temporary, and part-time work. In this type of market, businesses hire freelancers and independent contractors rather than taking on permanent, full-time employees. 

Many industries operate within the gig economy. As freelancers offer almost every service, including branding, delivery, transportation, marketing, customer service, graphic design, and more, the gig economy actually represents a large portion of the workforce. 

The Benefits of the Gig Economy

There are some huge benefits of the gig economy for workers and employers. One of the biggest motivators for freelancers and contractors is the flexibility and independence that this type of work offers. 

As a gig worker, you would get to choose how much work you take on – if you want to earn more, you can pick up more work. If you need time off, you can pick up fewer jobs.

Most gig workers also work from home, so if you have children, you could stay home with them and save on childcare. In many cases, you also get to choose your working hours, unless you’ve agreed to set hours with your clients. 

Gig workers are also able to focus on a single skill. Rather than working a job in which you must wear many hats, you can focus on becoming an expert in just one area. Additionally, this allows some freelancers to charge a premium for specialist knowledge. Some employers are also willing to spend more money on a contractor as they’re ultimately saving on hiring a full-time employee.

Freelancers also don’t have a set boss that they must answer to. As a gig worker, if you don’t love working with a client, you can simply complete the job and never work with them again.

Employers get this same benefit – if they don’t love a freelancer’s work, they don’t have to hire them again. Additionally, gig work tends to be more efficient, as gig workers want to get work done quickly so they can move on to the next client.

The biggest benefit for employers is how much they save on employee benefits, like health insurance and paid time off. Although some do offer similar benefits to incentivize freelancers to work with them, it isn’t expected.

The last benefit to note is the adaptability of gig work. It allows companies to be flexible to the needs of the moment rather than maintaining employees during both busy and slow seasons.

The Downsides of the Gig Economy

While there are many positives to the gig economy, the downsides are sizable and worth considering. First, as a gig worker, you have no little to no job security. You can create long-term relationships with clients and even sign a contract. However, there’s still the possibility that you can lose that client and a large chunk of the income you depend on.

Gig workers also need to get their own health insurance, which can be a confusing and stressful process. While financing your own health insurance can be affordable, it’s hard to match some of the stellar benefits of employer-sponsored coverage. 

Additionally, you won’t get any paid time off. That means you’ll need to factor in how much vacation time you want to take as you’re setting goals and taking jobs, then save enough to accommodate your plans. On that same note, you’re also in charge of maintaining your own work-life balance and not taking on more work than you can manage.

It’s also important to point out that you’ll need to plan for retirement, as you won’t have a work-funded retirement account. Again, you’ll need to plan appropriately and manage this aspect of your finances on your own.

For businesses, the biggest downside of the gig economy is the breakdown in employer-employee relationships. Traditionally speaking, it pays to create long-lasting relationships with employees as it is expensive to attract and train new hires. Additionally, without consistent employees, companies may have a hard time creating strong relationships with clients and vendors. 

Common Gig Economy Jobs and Industries

The gig economy spans a wide range of industries. Put simply, it involves any job that a freelancer can find and access using online platforms. 

Common gig economy jobs include:

How Can You Get Into the Gig Economy?

There are various ways to get into the gig economy. If you don’t have much prior experience, you can start out by using virtual-only freelancing platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. These sites host jobs and protect both the employer and freelancer from scams. However, the platforms take a percentage of each sale, so they aren’t ideal in the long term.

Alternatively, you can create your own website and social media accounts to advertise your work and get clients. With this approach, you’ll need to sign up with a payment service provider like Pay.com. You’ll likely need to spend a good portion of time reaching out to prospective clients in order to find work. As you gain more experience, getting clients will be easier.

You can also apply to jobs directly, as many employers post their contractor roles on their own job sites. If you’re looking to offer rideshare services, you can use an app like Uber or Lyft. If you want to offer delivery services, you might use Uber Eats, Instacart, or DoorDash. There are also apps for dog walkers, like Rover, and apps for house sitters, like TrustedHousesitters.

The Benefits of Using Pay.com to Accept Payments

You’ll earn the most in the gig economy by working with clients and billing them directly rather than using an app or third-party service. This doesn’t have to be difficult – in fact, you can easily accept online payments with Pay.com

Using Pay.com, you can accept a variety of payment methods from your clients, including credit cards, debit cards, and digital wallets. You can easily set up a customized checkout page that looks and feels just like the rest of your website. Even if you don’t have an official website, you can use Pay Links to send invoices directly to your customers. 

Click here to get started with Pay.com now!

The Bottom Line: Does the Creator Economy Hold Opportunities for You?

The gig economy offers some exciting benefits for workers and employers. It’s been around for many years and it’s only gaining popularity. Whether you want more flexibility with your hours or more control over your work location, you can find gig work that suits your needs. Meanwhile, employers can hire according to demand and save money on benefits.

If you’re concerned about the lack of job security and benefits, you might be better off sticking with a more traditional job. Likewise, employers who depend on long-term relationships with vendors and clients may be better off with full-time employees. 

Still, the gig economy provides a unique opportunity to hone your skills and take control of your earnings. If you’re ready to take the leap, make sure to have an easy-to-use payment service provider like Pay.com so that you can start accepting payments online right away. Click here to get started now.


What's the best way to accept credit card payments as a small business?

Pay.com is the best way to accept credit card payments. You can get set up in just a few clicks and create a customized checkout page that matches your website branding. Plus, you can send payment requests directly to your customer with Pay Links and track payments on the Pay Dashboard.

Click here to create your Pay.com account now!

Why do they call it the gig economy?

The term “gig” refers to a job that lasts for a short time period. “Gig economy” is a nod to the fact that the market runs on these short-term jobs.

What are the pros and cons of the gig economy?

The gig economy provides independence, flexibility, and control to freelancers. However, it also provides no job security, health insurance, or paid time off to workers.

Who benefits the most from the gig economy?

People who are highly skilled in their given industry will benefit most because they can charge a premium for their services and increase their earning potential. This allows them to get their own health insurance and other financial perks that a traditional job would normally offer. People who work less skilled jobs, like rideshare services or food delivery, tend to earn less and therefore struggle more with these drawbacks.

Are gig workers happier?

Are gig workers happier?

According to research from McKinsey, gig workers are among the most optimistic workers in terms of their opinions on economic opportunity. People who do independent work by choice also report higher levels of satisfaction and happiness with their level of income.

Meet the author
Ginny Dorn
Ginny Dorn is a finance and business copywriter specializing in credit card processing and fintech. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor's degree in family and consumer sciences.
The Best Way to Accept Online Payments as a Freelancer

With Pay.com, you can easily set up a website checkout page or send direct payment requests with Pay Links. Give your clients the option to pay however they like, whether that’s with debit cards, credit cards, or an alternative payment method.

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