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How to kill it in the gig economy

by Brad Hines 2-1-16, 4:45 pm


With the rise in the popularity of the gig economy from extra income and working on your own schedule, here are some ways you can stand out in the industry:

Use ridesharing to offset your car's costs, not as a job: Driving for rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber may make better economic sense for you part time than as a career. Consider only using either app to supplement driving you were going to do anyway. Since the apps can pay so little, don't rule out working for them full time when you can instead simply turn on the apps to work, say for example, every time you come back from your friend's house. Better still, use the  destination targeting on the apps to head where you are going anyway, even if you get no passengers in the time, you can write off the mileage being tracked as you are on the clock.

Take photos of things to protect you: Working within the rules of the respective company, as well as what is legal, taking photos of your work to document it for legal protection in case things go astray. Even if rare, in the event that someone tries to claim you didn't do an aspect of the job, your photos can prove otherwise.

Double dip where allowed: Apps like Rover can have you pet sitting from home, perhaps while doing your other job from home. Similarly, my understanding at this time (please do your own due diligence) is that both Uber and Lyft allow drivers to drive  for the other company, as long as not on the clock for both.

Knock the service out of the park: This is not as obvious as people think. With all these apps, you are working directly with others, and often over the things they care about the most in life (home, family, pets, etc.), so simple things like smiles, courtesy, and doing what you say go a very long way. Don't go on the clock if you aren't in %100 in the mood to be in phenomenal work mode. Being on top every single gig ensures a higher lifetime rating (almost all P2P/Share economy gigs use rating systems), repeat clients, and tips where applicable.

Speak up to the company Most if not all of the major P2P/Share economy startups, if not all, pride themselves on their ability to scale and grow fast. Part of how is that they err towards listening to the corp of workers they utilize, and grow from the bottom up. So it is, if you notice ways they network you are part of could be improved, suggest it. I know in particular with both Lyft and Taskrabbit, that an overwhelming amount of features in their apps' respectively came directly from user input.

Referrals: Most gig economy companies have some soft of referral program, take advantage of that, extra income can be made for as simple as handing out a business card with your affiliate code on it while off duty.

Fire clients: Tread carefully with this one, meaning know the company's rules on it, but when possible, you don't need to work with everyone. If it becomes apparent that a client is a grouch, possibly engaging in fraud, or otherwise a bad apple per your judgment, don't work with them. Taskrabbit is known reward contractors when they can successfully report case of fraud.

Good Profile Photos: Being a gig economy contractor goes hand and hand with being a "personal brand". That means that in addition to the companies' existing brand, people remember whatever it was about you as well–hopefully good things. This starts with photos. Whether renting out your apartment on AirBNB, your car on Turo, or yourself as an Uber driver, people's impression of you before you are even hired is your photos. They should be: coherent, goood lighting, clear focus, and showing what's relevant. When I would train drivers for one of the ride share companies, I was disappointed how often driver's didn't want to smile for their driver profile photo. The first thing the passenger sees of you is that photo and it sets the tone for the whole ride.

Network: Don't be tacky with it, but when you are in the gig economy you meet people daily, and you can make connections from it. From that can come anything from additional freelance work, to jobs, and even friends and family. The "secret" is to look for authentic needs of a person that you can fill, and offer as such when you feel is appropriate (as opposed to hard selling every person you meet on your side business.)

Ask for a job: When you work in the gig economy you are doing just that, working a gig. As a contractor you don't reap the benefits of being an employee like vacation time, health care, etc. The good news is, many of these companies are hiring for full time corporate jobs, and all other things being equal, the put preference on hiring their existing contractors as they are familiar with the both the business model and company culture.

Have a gig economy tip to add? Leave it in the comments below.


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Brad Hines photo picture imageAbout the writer: Brad Hines is the president of, and the founder of He is a business startup and marketing advisor. A writer as well, he typically writes about Internet, e-commerce, marketing, personal finance and lifestyle. He has bylines at Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Techopedia, Elephant Journal, Learnvest and more.


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