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Types of Gig Workers Explained In Detail

The gig economy, expanding rapidly during the pandemic, encompasses various types of work including 1099 and contractual gigs. This article explores the gig definition, opportunities, and its global impact

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How Do You Classify a Gig Worker?

Gig economy workers can fall into various types, depending on the type of gig job and gig worker. Sometimes they’re dubbed a supplier, free agent, temporary worker, contract worker, independent contractor, consultant, or freelancer.

The most common term is freelancer, as freelance work covers all contingent work.

Types of gig workers include:

1. Full-Time Gig Worker

Full-time gig work entails working for 15 hours per week or more and getting paid without being onsite. If a gig worker does so, doesn’t intend to switch to another type of work, and has a retirement plan, they fall under the definition of a full-time gig worker.

2. Part-Time Gig Worker

A part-time gig worker typically works a few hours per week to make extra money. They treat the work as a source of extra income to break out of the minimum wage.

Part-time gig work is also an excellent way to start a new career or find an alternative to traditional employment or a traditional job.

3. Occasional Gig Worker

Occasional gig work entails a sporadic flux of work, and it’s typically random. Its timespan also isn’t extended, but it may happen once or twice per month.

An occasional gig worker also seeks extra money from the job but doesn’t rely on its extra income as much as a part-time gig worker.

Can You Make a Living Doing Gig Work?

Yes. Many people, especially after the pandemic, have moved to taking gigs, both online and offline. Accordingly, it’s become easier to find more than a gig economy company actively recruiting from the gig workforce.

Of course, the amount that each gig pays depends on multiple factors that we’ll discuss in detail later.

It also depends on the characteristics of a gig worker, as people with better time-management skills, for example, could make a lot more doing gig work than others.

Types of Gig Workers

There are plenty of types of gig economy workers with different responsibilities and schedules, so you can pick the one that best suits the type of gig work you want to do.

vector graphic showing an illustration of people working for gig worker vs independent contractor

Gig Platform Gig Work

Gig work that involves platforms refers to finding or offering gigs through gig economy apps such as Airbnb and Uber.

The definition is to seek gig work through a digital platform that was specifically designed for this purpose.

By contrast, a construction worker who finds gig work through a gig economy company instead of an app wouldn’t fall under the platform gig work umbrella or be considered a platform worker.

Gig economy platform workers get the advantage of finding on-demand work with the press of a button. The jobs are plentiful, and you can make some extra money quickly.

Sharing Economy Gig Work

Sharing economy gig work relies on providing a product or service that’s borrowed or rented by the consumer instead of obtaining ownership.

An example of this is Airbnb, where consumers can rent property from a landlord for a specific period.

Solid examples also include streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify, Disney+, and Amazon Prime.

Sharing gig work is excellent for those who own a product and want to make an extra income from offering it to other people. It’s typically ideal for property, whether owned or timeshared.

Freelance Gig Work

Freelance workers who rely on gigs offer their services on a digital platform on a project basis. Sometimes, an institution will appreciate the work of an independent contractor so much that they will offer them a long-term opportunity.

In this specific case of freelancer workers, most are classified as 1099 contractors, and they have certain regulations to follow.

Consulting and Professional Services Gig Work

Consulting and professional services are more sporadic than other types, as they aren’t as abundant.

However, they can be some of the highest-paying gigs as consultation work comes from an experienced independent contractor.

It’s ideal for someone with a lot of know-how and who is a subject-matter expert but doesn’t have more than a couple of hours to do gig work throughout the month.

Self-Employed Gig Work

Self-employed gig workers rely on gig economy apps or a gig economy platform to offer their services, but they might have their proprietary business under whose name they do so.

A self-employed independent worker moves away from the lives of traditional workers and traditional employees.

Yet, they’re not exactly freelance workers or contract workers either. They become somewhat of a business owner and might even have a gig workforce after they expand.

They might have to go through some legal issues, like handling their taxes, social security, and registration.

How to Become a Successful Gig Worker

If the world of the gig economy seems appealing to you, there are a couple of steps that you can follow to become part of it and find a gig economy job.

One of the hardest questions that beginner freelance workers have to answer is “How to find gigs?”

The most important part is to create a portfolio where you showcase your knowledge and skills so that employers will be interested in you as a contract worker.

This can be easier in some industries, like writing or the tech field, but it can be harder if you aim for the sharing or platform gig economy, where you have to accumulate positive reviews.

Finding a gig economy job can be daunting, especially where there are plenty of traditional workers switching to gig work to make extra money.

However, with the right vision and execution, you can become a successful gig worker or contract worker.

Popular examples of gig workers include the following:

  • Ridesharing: Ridesharing is a form of platform gig work, and it’s one of the fastest ways to penetrate the gig economy platform market.
  • Education and Tutoring: Tutoring falls under the consultation umbrella, where you share your knowledge with someone in exchange for payment.
  • Delivery Driver: A delivery driver is one of the most popular gig job options as it doesn’t require expertise and can be available easily.
  • Software Development: Software and information technology jobs are becoming a popular gig economy option as there are plenty of opportunities for one-time jobs in that industry. This includes testing, quality assurance, and refactoring code.
  • Writing: If you have a passion for writing, becoming a copywriter is also a good option for a gig economy worker. Sometimes, companies need someone to come up with a creative slogan or tagline, and no one works better for the setup than a temporary worker!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Freelancers and Gig Workers The Same?

The short answer is that all freelancers are gig workers, but not all gig workers are freelancers. A gig worker typically works for short tasks on an on-demand basis, which a freelancer does as well.

But, the difference is that a freelancer usually offers long-term skills, like writing, translating, or software development.

What is the Difference Between a Gig Worker and Self-Employed?

A gig worker can be self-employed and vice versa. If a self-employed worker gets a gig job, they become a gig worker for the period the project takes.

On the other hand, a gig economy worker can expand their business to handle the distribution of gigs to an employee they hire.

Wrapping Up

With the rise of the gig economy, becoming a gig economy worker is one of the best ways to make extra money. Be it by becoming a temporary worker, independent contractor, or a self-employed gig worker.

The most important part is to prepare well. Build a portfolio, receive positive feedback, and plan, plan, plan.

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