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Gig Definition, Use, and Examples: All You Need to Join the Gig Economy

Explore the gig economy, offering insights into the definition of a gig, use, and examples of gigs for flexible, self-paced earning opportunities.

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What Is the Definition of a Gig?

A gig refers to any temporary job or a short-term project done by independent contractors for a set fee. It can be any task from manual labor to education and IT consultancy.

Gigs go by several names. For example, they’re also called platform economy. Other gig synonyms include the sharing economy and collaborative economy.

What Does Gig Mean in Slang?

The word gig is a slang term in American English. It was originally used by Jazz musicians during the 1920s to refer to live performances.

Later, the word evolved to mean jobs in the entertainment business in general. A gig can refer to a concert, commercial, photo shooting, or even a movie.

How Do You Use the Word Gig?

The word gig can be used as a noun or an adjective.

You can use it as a noun and say: “I landed a gig for an IT company” or “My band has a gig in Atlantic City.”

You can also use it as an adjective by saying: “I’m looking for a gig job” or “My job belongs to the gig economy.”

Why Do People Say Gig When Referring to Work?

Now, the scope of the word gig has widened to include all short-term jobs in any field. People use the word gig to refer to any work that has to be done within a specific time frame without any long-term commitment.

With the rise of companies that rely heavily on freelancers, the word gig has gained more scope. That’s why you hear it more often recently.

Parties Involved in a Gig Transaction

To further understand what a gig is, we should ask who are the parties involved in a gig transaction and what makes somebody a gig worker.

vector graphic showing an illustration of what is a gig worker

Any employment transaction, typically, involves an employer and an employee. Gig transactions aren’t any different.

A gig transaction involves a client and a gig worker. The client is the employer who hires an independent contractor or a freelancer to finish a specific project.

The client, or the employer, can be a large company or an independent employer. For instance, Uber is a huge company dependent on the gig model. The company hires employees to perform short-term projects, paying them after each ride or delivery.

The client can also be a person looking for a service that a freelancer offers. You can be an employer if you decide to hire someone to do some translation work or give you private music lessons.

Who Is a Gig Worker?

The gig worker is a freelancer, consultant, or independent contractor who can work for several clients simultaneously.

Some gig workers are considered self-employed as they have no boss and choose their gigs. Those workers usually have certain skills that qualify them to get such temporary jobs.

For instance, they can be freelance writers, translators, designers, etc. In this case, it’s crucial to stand out among the crowd as the competition can be fierce.

The good news is that gig workers are now considered employees with all the ensuing benefits as a direct outcome of the AB5 Bill.

The Difference Between Gigs in Entertainment and Gig Economy Gigs

In essence, the word gig means the same across all fields, including entertainment. To realize the difference between gig economy gigs and entertainment gigs, you have to know the basics of gig economy.

By definition, gigs in entertainment are more creative and pertain to performance. Yet, gig economy gigs depend on less artistic skills, such as teaching, graphic design, marketing, writing, etc.

Another major difference lies in the duration of the project. Entertainment gigs tend to take longer than economy gigs. 

Gigs economy gigs can be as short as delivering a package or marketing a product, but entertainment gigs can go as far as filming an entire movie or several episodes.

Types of Gig Economy Gigs

When it comes to gig economy gigs, there are many gig work options available. You can choose your gig depending on your skills and knowledge.

Here are examples of the gig economy gigs to choose from:

vector graphic showing an illustration of a lady working on a laptop and money floating around her to show how to become a freelancer

1. What Is a Freelancing Gig?

Freelancing gigs are project-based jobs that require special skills. That’s a large category of tasks, including tech jobs, teaching posts, language projects, etc.

Freelance workers are self-employed. They get to choose the clients and projects. Freelancers aren’t committed to one client. Instead, they can work for several clients and on various projects simultaneously.

2. What Is a Delivery Gig?

Delivery gigs are the most common types of economy gigs. They entail using your vehicle to transport goods from one location to another.

These gigs include delivering packages or food. Delivery workers usually choose their projects and schedules as they own the vehicle.

3. What Is a Rideshare Gig?

Rideshare gigs are similar to delivery gigs except that you transport passengers instead of food or goods. For this type of gig, you need to have a vehicle and some free time.

The good news is that there are plenty of rideshare gigs out there with companies such as Lyft and Uber. You can even turn this side gig into a full-time gig if you’re willing to drive for long hours.

4. What Is a Social Media Gig?

As the name implies, a social media gig entails performing a task related to social media, including:

  • Social media marketing
  • Editing posts
  • Managing social media pages and accounts
  • Content creation

Regardless of your skill level, you can find plenty of social media gigs on various platforms, such as Fiverr and Upwork.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to help you grasp the idea:

What Does Gig Mean on Craigslist?

A gig on Craigslist means pretty much the same as everywhere else. It’s a short-term job offered for a set fee. A gig listed on Craigslist can range from a small task, such as editing an article, to long-term projects.

Is Gig an Informal Word?

Yes, the word “gig” is originally informal in American English. It used to refer to live performances by musicians, but this has changed. The can be used in more formal situations to refer to any type of short-term work.

Wrapping Up

Gigs are short-time projects that entail a business transaction between clients and freelancers or independent contractors.

In the past, the gig definition related to the entertainment field, but it has recently grown in scope to include any type of temporary job that doesn’t require long-term commitment.

There are different types of gig economy gigs, including delivery gigs, rideshare gigs, and freelancing.

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section. We’re here to answer!

The gig economy has risen fast, altering the entire job market. Sharpen your skills and clear your schedule if you want to be a part of it.

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