3 Ways the Gig Economy Can Benefit Your Business

As the gig economy grows, many small businesses are turning to freelancers or contract workers for help. And according to LinkedIn, more than 80% plan to make use of freelancers in the future.

If your business is tapping into the growing strength of the gig economy, you may already understand the benefits that are available. If not, here are three ways to leverage this growing workforce and see tangible growth for your company.

1. Implement More Workforce Flexibility

One key benefit is in the area of hiring. When you employ contract workers, “you only pay them when they’re doing productive work. Arrangements are made by the hour or project. With full-time employees, you’re paying whether they’re getting work done or getting distracted on Facebook.”

With full-time employees, you’re also on the hook for all related expenses, from benefits and paid time off to retirement programs and employer-sponsored insurance. Soft costs should be factored in as well, including expenses involved in supporting full-time employees in an office space (and stocking that space with any necessary resources and supplies).

By hiring a freelance worker, you will not incur these costs. This approach “also brings more flexibility and agility to your budgeting,” as LinkedIn notes. The need to scale up or down can be achieved “without the traditional overhead that comes with employees.”

2. Reach Out to Specialized Talent

With millions of skilled freelancers out there, it’s safe to assume that there are individuals who can meet your business’s needs. Unlike with in-house staff, these individuals don’t need to live and work in your physical area. In the global digital marketplace, you can reach out to the right person virtually anywhere in the world (and regardless of the time zone).

Start by asking others in your professional network for freelancer recommendations. Try the same approach on social media, describing the tasks involved and requesting suggested referrals. Finally, look to a variety of freelance job boards for assistance.

The important factor here, according to Forbes, is specifying the kind of “industry or creative experience you’re looking for and what the work will entail.” Not surprisingly, “the more detailed you are in the job description, the quicker you’ll find the right person.”

3. Hire for Individual Projects

Perhaps the most cost-efficient strategy for leveraging gig workers is to enlist them for work on specific, time-sensitive projects. Such projects may lie outside the scope of your in-house staff’s core competencies and would necessitate additional (and costly) training to bring those employees up to speed.

A freelancer, on the other hand, is often ready and willing to take on a project requiring specialized knowledge — and may have additional insights (based on their experience) that move the project forward more efficiently and economically.

Finding Success in a New Era

These days, businesses rooted in traditional full-time employee arrangements risk losing out to more flexible and innovative competitors. Thanks to the gig economy, the types of specialized knowledge and talent that your business may occasionally require are out there for the choosing — and so is the technology to access that talent, making such resources available to you and your business around the clock.

Lee Polevoi
Lee Polevoi
Lee Polevoi is a veteran freelance business writer specializing in exploring the opportunities and challenges facing small businesses in the U.S. today. A former senior writer for Vistage International (a global membership organization of CEOs), Lee regularly produces articles, white papers, blog posts and more for the diverse small business audience.

See all posts by Lee Polevoi
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