By Lucy Reed
As the cost of living keeps rising, more and more people are turning to gig jobs to generate income. A gig can be temporary, short-term work or a long-term financial solution. Whether you want to earn a little extra money on the side or find more permanent freelance work, there are a few pieces of advice you’ll want to keep in mind to get started and be successful in setting up your own gig-based business venture.
Build a Budget You Can Live With
If you’re working a gig simply to earn some extra cash, you may not need to worry about a budget. But if freelancing is your sole source of income or you need to pay off bills, you’ll want to set some pretty strict budget rules. Unlike those weekly paychecks, gig income can be inconsistent, and clients may not always pay on time. Exercise caution when spending and be sure to tuck some funds away for slow periods.
To stay within your means, take advantage of the many free online business tools that will help you launch and promote your business. For example, Oberlo offers a business name and slogan generator, logo maker website calculator that can help give your new company a professional look and show you how many people are visiting your website. You can also create a free website via services like Wix and Weebly, or simply create a Facebook business page to get your name out to your social circles and beyond.
Create a Comfortable Workspace
If you’re starting a gig, you’ll likely find yourself working from home a bit. While it may be more comfortable to send emails from your couch, your productivity surely will suffer. It’s important to set up an organized, quiet area in your home where you can focus on your work. Pick up a comfy chair and take care to keep distractions, including pets and children, out of your workspace, if possible.
Break Up Your Workdays
Once you start working full time as a freelancer, you’ll realize that staring at a screen or working for hours on end can wear you down. Just like in a traditional job, it’s important to take breaks and get out for some fresh air. Go for a run to take advantage of brain-boosting endorphins, or relax outside with a cup of coffee. If you simply must work throughout the day, think about spending an hour or two in a cafe or park to help keep you from feeling like you’re stuck at home all day.
Take Advantage of Time-Management Tools
When you’re in charge of your own work schedule, it can be hard to stay on track. Without managing your time, you could find yourself wasting way too much time binge-watching Netflix and viewing social media. Luckily, there are some handy time-management tools to keep you productive. Use a planner, Kanban board, or app to stay on task and meet deadlines.
Know State and Federal Tax Laws
It’s exciting to think about starting your own gig business, but don’t forget to check in with the IRS and your state before you begin. Depending on how much income you generate, you may need to pay taxes on a quarterly basis or be ready to hand over your payment at the end of each year. Look into the rules that affect you or ask an accountant for advice to avoid penalties or time-consuming and potentially costly audits.
Don’t Overcommit Yourself
Working for yourself means deciding on a schedule for yourself. For many people, this means having some flexibility, but it can be tempting to take on too many projects to generate more pay. Create boundaries for your business, and don’t feel like you have to accept every job you are offered. It’s important to only take on what you know you can efficiently complete to avoid burnout or turning in poor work for your clients.
Find Time for Fun
Whether you are working your gig full time or as a supplemental source of income, you’re schedule is likely to fill up fast. Running your own gig job takes work, but it’s also important to set aside some time to unwind and practice self-care. Make time to meet up with friends for lunch or coffee. Attend a local yoga class or book a monthly massage. Working in the gig economy is tough, so don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself every now and then.
The gig economy is more popular than ever, so take advantage of the flexibility and financial perks it has to offer. Getting started takes some effort, but if you keep these tips in mind, the opportunities can be endless.
About the Author: Lucy Reed has been starting businesses since she was a kid, from the lemonade stand she opened in her parent’s driveway at age 10 to the dog walking business she started while in college. She created GigMine because she was inspired by the growth of the sharing economy and wanted to make it easier for entrepreneurial individuals like herself to find the gig opportunities in their areas.
Photo Credit: Unsplash