The gig economy is booming. If you’re not already taking advantage of this growing culture, you are missing out. Whether you are just looking to diversify your income or are hoping to become a full-time freelancer, beginning with small gigs is a great way to dive in. Read on for more information on how to get started out on the right foot.

The Satisfaction of Freelance

It might seem like almost everyone is working a side hustle these days, and you’d be right. According to statistics, nearly 45 percent of Canadian workers ages 18 to 34 are involved in the gig economy in some capacity, and this economy is growing around three times faster than the traditional workforce.

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What makes this nature of work so appealing is its flexibility. Unlike a 9-5 or a more standard part-time job, you are free to set your own hours and make your own schedule. That’s not to say it’s easy. You are the boss, client services and responsible for the product — it’s a daunting thought, but incredibly satisfying in practice.

Finding Your Gig

gig you want to participate in, it’s best to play to your strengths and interests. If you love dogs, dog walking and pet sitting can be perfect for you. If you have design or marketing skills, consider working with an agency like Verta Marketing to have direct access to diverse clients. Collaboration with agencies like ours will also allow you to gain exposure to an agency lifestyle without the commitment that comes with working for another company as an employee.

It’s also important to keep in mind what type of work you would like to do. Are you the type of person that wants to fulfill on-demand requests such as ride sharing or delivery jobs when you have the extra time? Or, would you rather take on short-term projects such as coding or copywriting gigs to work into your schedule?

Dive Right In

The easiest way to get started is to sign up for an on-demand service like Uber or Rover and check out sites designed for the gig economy. When accepting gigs, U.S.News points out that many of these services and sites charge convenience fees and take a cut of what you earn. Remember that your time is valuable, so you should be wary of low-paying jobs and high fees.

As you start to get gigs, stay professional and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. There is always room to improve and landing your next gig is always easier if you have clients to sing your praises for you.

Treat it as a Business

Treating yourself like a business will put you in the right mindset to take yourself seriously, and in turn, make clients take you seriously. You can further stand out from the crowd by polishing off your approach. Invest in a set of cheap business cards, an invoice template, and refine your elevator pitch. You might even invest in flyer distribution services. These small things go a long way towards generating buzz!

Be sure to set a working schedule and stick to it. Do not let friends and family distract you. Setting strict hours will also help prevent you from burning out. You also need to determine whether you need to register your business as a limited liability company, or LLC. It’s important to learn about the local regulations and restrictions by doing some research online. You can also work with companies to help streamline this process.

Tap Your Network and Stay Patient

It takes time to build up a lucrative client list and a steady stream of work. Fast Company recommends reaching out and joining network groups of others working your gig. Not only will they prove to be an invaluable resource of advice, but also it could potentially lead to more jobs.

As you start to refine your skillset, narrow your audience and create a tailored service to set yourself apart from other freelancers. In time, this will let you increase your rates. Be sure to build a focused portfolio of your work and collect references as well. Reputation is everything.

What Happens Next

People take up gigs for many different reasons. Some to supplement their income to help make rent, build up their savings, or take that nice vacation. Whatever the reason, it’s not unheard of for people to abandon their 9-5 in favor of freelancing. You never know where it could take you.

For more tips and advice on how to get your business growing, connect with Verta Marketing today!

This Article was contributed by Lucy Reed