How to Thrive in the Gig Economy

Recently, I was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA speaking to the coolest group ever – Disc Jockey Think Tank. I needed to get to the airport and—thanks to Uber—I was scooped up by Georgie, a 28-year-old gentleman from New Jersey. At first glance, it didn’t look like Georgie and I had much in common. He has a lot of tattoos and gauges in both ears, and I was wearing a suit, but it turned out that we had a lot more in common than I might have guessed. During this Uber ride, I learned from Georgie that we are in the Start-Up You economy where you are not depending on anyone else but yourself. His story made me realize exponential thinking is where we need to be.

Georgie had been driving for Uber for 4 months. He started driving after he lost his job as a glass blower and still needed to survive. A friend told him to start driving for Uber. He did and was now able to pay his rent.

However, he didn’t stop there. Another friend told him about driving for Lyft, so he did that too. Then he learned that one of his best friends has a YouTube channel that has over 4M subscribers; he makes $5,000 per day. He told Georgie to launch a YouTube channel and that he would mention his name on his channel.

Well, he did and, according to Georgie, he picked up 150,000 subscribers in five days. He does a regular update on YouTube about whatever is happening in the world. The moment he went over 100,000 subscribers, he started receiving a check from Google for $1,000 per 100,000 subscribers. He said YouTube sent him a plaque congratulating him for his accomplishment.

Another buddy told him about Instacart, an online platform that allows people to order groceries from local stores and have them delivered to their house by a driver. His buddy boasts that he is making $500 a week, including tips, for delivering the groceries.

Georgie says he could survive just fine having created several streams of earning income thanks to Uber, Lyft, YouTube and potentially Instacart.

Furthermore, Georgie said that he will never again work in a company that has the potential to eliminate his job in a split second, especially after hearing passengers in his car complain on their cell phones about how much they hate their jobs. He also said his greatest satisfaction was having his Uber income direct deposited into his bank account after 6 car trips instead of waiting for two weeks to get paid.

As we pulled into the airport, I got out of his car shaking my head, wondering “where in the heck have I been for the last five years”. Georgie found a way to hack a job and make it in the digital economy.

Based on this experience, here are two observations:

  • Married to the Job but Looking - Word has spread throughout the world and people now realize they no longer need to have a ball and chain relationship with their employers. They can survive outside the matrix of uncertainty. Watch and see more employees start cutting the cord just like cable subscribers have been doing thanks to Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Amazon.com, etc.
  • Be a Gigpreneur - Forget being an entrepreneur and dealing with how you’re going to make ends meet. What’s the difference between an entrepreneur and a Gigpreneur? An entrepreneur risks everything to start a business. They take out loans, use savings, seek investors, etc. A Gigpreneur signs up with a company that already has a platform to push customers to them via their smartphones, and they can get paid instantly. Goodbye net-30 or net-10 payment terms. They don’t have the stress or nail-biting moments wondering if they will work. They don’t pay for advertising. No hoping and praying that someone will buy the products they are hawking at the Saturday morning flea market when the weather outside is hot as h-e-double hockey sticks.

Off the top of my head, I can think of 7 ways to make money by hacking together a series of jobs using someone else’s platform. Today, you can:

In an uncertain economy, you can make digital dollars 24/7, 365 days a year. It might be time to quit your job and gig, baby, gig!