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Gig Work Basics: Types, Best Places To Find, Pros & Cons

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About 16% of American adults currently work in the gig work sector or have worked in the gig economy.

Of those who still use gig work platforms, three-in-ten state it is their primary form of income.

The good news about gig work is that there is always a need for odd jobs or temporary jobs.

There are many places to find gigs online, including websites and companies devoted to gig work.

Check out the need-to-know information on getting started in the gig economy below!

What is Gig Work?

Gig work is defined as work completed by someone on a freelance or independent contractor basis.

It is usually temporary work, and many jobs are in the service sector.

Anyone who engages in this kind of work is defined as a gig worker no matter the company, service, or person they work for.

What Are Notable Characteristics of a Gig?

Unsure if the job you are looking to begin qualifies as a gig?

Here are a few characteristics that make it easy to determine what makes a task a gig.

  • They are project-based
  • May be hourly or part-time jobs
  • Could have an ongoing contract
  • It might be a temporary position
  • You receive a 1099-NEC from the employer for tax purposes
  • Responsible for self-employment taxes
  • Not eligible for benefits packages from employer

Are Gig Workers Independent Contractors?

In general, gig workers are classified as independent contractors.

However, in some states gig workers are not always considered independent contractors.

For instance, in California gig workers are not classified as contractors, thanks to AB-5. AB-5 states that companies like Uber, Lyft, and others like them, must use a three-pronged test to prove workers are independent contractors instead of employees.

Types of Gig Work

Freelancing, part-time work, task-based work, and the sharing economy are all types of gig work.

Though they all fall under this umbrella as examples of the gig economy, they are not the same.

Task-Based Gig Work

Task-based work requires that the worker completes a task within a specific time frame instead of working on a full-time basis.

Most of the time, task-based workers complete the tasks assigned to them and then get paid per task.

Part-Time Gig Work

Part-time work includes working half or less than half of the time that an average full-time worker does.

Sometimes people work part-time with gig work alongside their conventional 9-to-5 job.

Though it is part-time, these people will likely have to file taxes on a self-employment basis.


Freelancers are defined as people who pursue one career area without committing to a single employer.

Writers, artists, graphic designers, website designers, photographers, and videographers are common freelance jobs.

Sharing Economy

Lastly, the sharing economy is a perfect side job for most people, though some have turned it into their full-time job.

Websites like Turo, Airbnb, and VRBO are part of the sharing economy.

Where to Find Gig Work

Gig work is available in more places than you may realize.

There are designated websites and apps specifically for this purpose.

Gig Work Marketplaces

Gig work marketplaces include things like TaskRabbit, Upwork, or Thumbtack.

These marketplaces are exclusively online and have app integration.

Marketplaces allow prospective users to browse a wide variety of gig workers, see their work, and compare pricing.

Gig Work Websites

Gig work websites are similar to gig work marketplaces.

These websites allow prospective customers to browse online profiles of gig workers to help find the best match.

Examples include FlexJobs and ProBlogger.

Job Boards & Online Postings

Local job boards and online postings are great places to find temporary jobs, like shoveling snow in the winter or cutting the grass in the summer.

Gig workers can use these sites for in-between jobs or as their steady stream of income.

Gig Work Platforms (Companies)

Gig work platforms are mostly considered apps.

Companies like Airbnb and VRBO are part of the gig work platforms in terms of allowing people to rent out their places to make money by being a part of the sharing economy.

Platforms like DoorDash, Instacart, and Uber Eats offer opportunities to be a gig worker by participating in food delivery services.

What are the Most Popular Gig Work Platforms?

Below we will cover the ins and outs of the most notable gig companies. 

Gig Work Marketplaces

Upwork, Fiverr, and Toptal are great gig work marketplaces.

Check out the specifics below.


Upwork focuses on sales, marketing, administration, customer service, development, engineering, and legal services.

The benefits of being a gig worker with Upwork include making your own schedule and hours while controlling your workflow in areas that can often be overwhelming.


One perk of working with Fiverr is that you can help top businesses like Google and P&G without being a full-time employee, so you still have flexibility in your everyday life while pursuing your passions.


Toptal is perfect for people who want to work in finance, project management, software development, and web design without being tied to one specific company. Engage in corporate work without going into an office for hours upon hours each day.

Gig Work Websites

Check out a few of the top gig work websites and their features.


FlexJobs helps you find remote, flexible jobs online.

There are options in 50+ career fields ranging from entry-level jobs to executive jobs.


ProBlogger is a great site to check out for bloggers.

You can become a professional blogger while growing your blog if you have one.

This site has an online job board where you can apply for single projects or regular work.


Gigworker.com is the perfect site for people looking to get into the gig work industry.

Big brands like Amazon, Drizly, Uber, and more use this site to post jobs and help people get into the gig work industry.

Job Boards & Online Postings

Job boards and online postings are the modern versions of newspaper classifieds. Gone are the days of circling the job you want!


Craigslist has a bad rap for being a marketplace where people sell old couches and beat-up cars for more than they’re worth, but the online gig work postings are pretty reliable.

Company Websites

Sometimes companies will post on their websites that they are hiring seasonal or temporary workers.

Search these sites to find temporary, part-time, or seasonal jobs, then apply through their website for one seamless process.

Gig Work Platforms (Companies)

As mentioned, there are plenty of app and website platforms for companies that exist solely for gig work.

Uber & Lyft

You are probably familiar with these platforms.

They are ride-sharing platforms where gig workers can make a sizable living if they commit time to it. Customers can tip you, which will increase your earning potential.

Airbnb & VRBO

Similar to Uber and Lyft, Airbnb and VRBO are home-sharing services.

Travelers can rent out space in their home, or another property they own, for a decent rate.

Plenty of people use these platforms as additional gig work.

DoorDash & Grubhub

With DoorDash and Grubhub, you can schedule times to work so you can avoid too many drivers out at once.

Another perk is you can drive during peak hours to earn more cash, and you keep your tips.

Instacart & Shipt

If you want a gig that does not require as much driving around as some others out there, try Instacart or Shipt.

As a gig worker, you keep all tips, are paid per job and can make a sizable amount depending on the order.

How are Gig Workers Paid?

Gig workers are generally paid through a direct deposit method with these platforms.

In other instances, they may be paid by check, but the method of payment will be disclosed at the time that the contract is signed or agreed upon.

Payment usually comes after the service or task is performed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few frequently asked questions about gig work and their answers.

Which Freelancing Website is Best?

There is no freelancing website that is the absolute best.

It depends on the field of work the freelancer specializes in and the type of clients they prefer to work with.

The websites mentioned in this round-up are some of the best options.

How Do I Find Gig Work?

Finding gig work is easier than you think.

Google is a great tool to find gig work near you, or sign up for one of the gig work platforms mentioned here.

They are easy to use and quick to get started.

Wrapping Up

The gig economy is booming with no signs of slowing down.

Getting started in the gig work area is accessible, and there are great benefits to working as a gig worker, like flexibility.

Understand there are a few noticeable drawbacks, like a lack of employer benefits.

Most people who are a part of the gig economy enjoy their freedom and the variability of every day at work.

Gig work can be rewarding, so do not be afraid to jump in!

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