If you’re part of the gig economy, you should evaluate your career goals and how gig work can help you reach them.
1. What do you want to do?
This question is broad and your answer can be broad. We challenge you to think past the easy answer of, “I want to make money.”
Independent workers can spend a few hours on a project or be working over 40 hours at different gigs. You get to choose how your schedule is filled. This means you can decide what kinds of work you do or where you do it. Think about tasks or projects excite you. Consider where you see yourself enjoying your job.
Don’t limit yourself to only thinking of job titles or industries. If you like working with people, you could be a customer service representative, brand ambassador or a call center associate. If you like working on projects alone, you could do data entry or warehouse inventory or a sanitation job.
Think about what you want to do, not what you want your title or hiring company to be. It can help you think outside of the box while focusing on what you actually want. You might be able to put yourself closer to your career goals in unexpected ways.
2. How often do you want to work?
Flexible work is a well known benefit of the gig economy. You can find jobs or projects to fit your schedule because you have control over the opportunities you apply for. This gives you the ability to pick up jobs that get you closer to your career goals or designate the free time you need to pursue your passions.
If you need a full work schedule, you can try to find one job at one company or piece together work across different gigs. Students and working parents can look for jobs that don’t conflict with classes or family schedules. Job seekers looking to make a little extra income can be picky about when they work and what they do.
The schedule you want or need today may be different from what you need in a month or a year. With gig work, you can constantly reassess how often you want to work. Some gig workers try to find consistent work throughout the year. Others might work more during the summer or holidays if they pick up seasonal jobs. Your needs can guide your schedule, which is unique to gig work.
We recommend accomplishing your gig work career goals by prioritizing the work you want to do when you build your schedule. There’s plenty of gig work to fill in the blanks, but if you’re able to, choose opportunities that further your career.
3. What is your income goal?
Income goals are meant to be things you aspire to achieve. It’s important to differentiate that from your minimum necessary income which is the amount of money you need to earn to maintain your current lifestyle.
When you’re choosing gig work to help you achieve your career goals, you’ll want to keep the job’s earning potential in mind. You might be willing to earn a little less in exchange for the exposure to a future opportunity if you’re able to get a job in an industry or company you’re interested in. On the other hand, you might consider a higher paying job that you’re not interested in if it helps you build up your savings.
To hit your income goal, you might have to consider working more than one gig or project, and that’s okay! You are in control of your goals and what you do to achieve them.
So, what does this actually look like?
I am a full time employee but I have a side hustle. Here’s an example of how I identified my goals:
What do I want to do?
I decided to start a Poshmark account because I enjoy thrifting and thought it could translate well into becoming a clothing reseller. I like spending time listening to podcasts while shopping at thrift stores and the Facebook Marketplace to find great deals.
How often do I want to do it?
Since I have a full time job, I can only work on my Poshmark side hustle in the evenings or on weekends. I have other hobbies, so I decided I could dedicate a few hours a week – anywhere from 2 to 8 hours – buying clothes, photographing them, posting them to my Poshmark closet, and packaging sales.
What is my income goal?
I had to stop and think about how much time and money I wanted to dedicate to the account. Because I had to spend to earn, I put aside a couple hundred dollars to start. As my closet grew and I sold more, I made back my initial investment. Now, I aim to only source (or buy new clothes) with the profits I’ve already made. That way, the money I make is just extra income and it doesn’t dip into my finances reserved for things like rent and bills.
What your goals are and how you achieve them are ultimately up to you. There are different paths and strategies you can use to accomplish them, and gig work can play a pivotal role in finding success. If you can give serious thought and honest responses to the questions we included here, you can find yourself in a better position to get what you want out of your work.