We noticed a really good comment with excellent advice on working in the gig economy in the Harvard Business Review article Who Wins in the Gig Economy, and Who Loses.
We liked it so much, we are reprinting here in its entirety:
I'm a huge winner in the new economy. I left the corporate track about 11 years ago and dramatically increased both my earnings and my quality of life. Here are a couple of observations that might help others following the path:
1) Cash flow is king. What I earn directly correlates to what I eat so I spend some time negotiating terms of employment by asking for terms such as retainers instead of trailing billing, negotiating net terms to as close to zero, etc.
2) I have learned to live with the uncertainty of not knowing how I'll be paying the bills after the current projects end. After doing this for more than a decade, I still can't predict when the phone will ring, but I've come to accept that it will.
3) The gig economy is reputation-based and operates on word-of-mouth recommendations. That means tending my network is my most effective marketing tool. In my experience, it is the only tactic that even remotely leads to additional work. I've had 170+ clients in the last 11 years, all but one of them came via the network in terms of either repeat business or referrals.
4) Health care is hard. I love Obamacare, but it's become expensive where I live as insurers have left the market. Further modification is needed and should be on the agenda of the next Congress and President. I've noticed many in the gig economy have a spouse or partner still in the corporate world in part for health care and in part to even out the cash flow issues.
5) The gig economy seems to work best for those who have a valuable niche. I specialize in communications around crisis and issue-driven events; this is an area of communications that not everyone does and it is less price sensitive than other communications specialties.
Your mileage may vary and all that, but I think the disintermediation of work is an overall positive for the economy (albeit with serious localized negative effects in some job classifications).
All of this is very consistent with our research (and our personal experiences as gig workers) and is excellent advice.
The comment comes from Jon Austin. Visit his company's homepage for more on Jon. We don't know him, but based on his comment we think he's a smart guy.