Gig Economy – What, How and Why?

Today I want to talk about the gig economy. The labor of the future has arrived. They don’t want to be chained to a desk nine to five. They have unique skills, and they know someone somewhere needs them.

This really is the golden age for the creative type. If you are good at what you do and you know your way around some internet marketing, you can make it. But you have to be consistently good at it and that comes only with consistent practice. The YouTubers who make so much money are doing it because they started long ago, making do with whatever was available with their non-existent budget and not losing faith. I’m sure all of them stayed at it not because they saw a shit load of money at the end of the tunnel, but because they absolutely loved what they did. You know, desire is the foundation upon which success stands.

While a viral video on YouTube can make you a sensation (albeit temporarily), other platforms will need you to put in a lot more ungrateful hours. For example, someone who signs up on Patreon is typically working on something that asks both a good amount of time and dedicated backing from a group of people. YouTube is free, yet professional YouTubers have to really work hard and constantly improve to keep dazzling their audience, lest they swipe away and move on to the next viral video. Now, imagine how hard it must be for the folks who work through platforms like Patreon. Their line of work probably doesn’t get them any ad money at first. So they have to prove that whatever it is they are offering is really worth the patrons’ time and more importantly their money. I have been listening to this podcast ‘We Have Concerns’ for over two years now. It’s just the two hosts talking for twenty minutes about a topic they choose from the very many their listeners send. As simplistic as that sounds, they are absolutely hilarious and they are great artists. They are on Patreon, which is their only source of income for the show. I have gone over to their Patreon page many a time, trying to decide whether I should become a paying patron or not. My miserly self has so far held me back. But I’m tempted. I imagine it’s quite a unique feeling to be part of someone’s creative journey.

Check out one of my favorite episodes of theirs below.

Am I Human or Am I Dancer?

How the future will look

The advent of machine learning and in turn artificial intelligence has seamlessly coincided with the rise of the gig economy. Although machines are still only replacing the most basic and non-intellectual of tasks, they will soon move up the social chain. It will also one day replace the people at the highest echelons of the workplace. You don’t need a CEO to take decisions when a super algorithm can do that and so much more. But can a machine make art? Apparently it can now. Okay, that is scary. But all art is not good art. Art that stimulates something in the audience is still a rare thing – precisely why the creative types are going to have work long after the office folks are sent home because they are redundant.

Experts estimate that as automation hits more and more spheres of employment, soft skills will come handy to make your occupation fire-proof. Occupations in the service of others, and jobs which require personal human interaction, such as teaching, are going to be safe for the near future. If you are not a creator, you would do well to sharpen your soft skills, because that’s where the future is. So many new jobs, that we cannot envisage right now, will be created as a consequence of how the job market will shift. Any job that can be learned and automated at least 60-70 percent is not future-proof.

Our educational systems will also be revamped top to bottom to enable the future generations to be able to stand up to the constantly changing employment paradigms. While it would become imperative for all students to be familiar with how coding works, it will also be important to not just learn a little bit of everything, but learn the maximum of a few critical topics. Because the jobs of the future will need you to be the best at what you do, this is non-negotiable. At the moment, we have millions of students passing out every year not really knowing what to do with their education. This won’t do in the post automation future. It will be in their best interests to streamline their education and their aspirations.

All of this ties in perfectly with the concept of gig economy. In the coming years, when all middle managers will be managing is a fleet of bots, it’s a good idea to market yourself and your expertise as a standalone brand. As an orthodox office setting starts disappearing slowly, the whole world will be your office and everyone on earth your clientele. So, if you are really good at embroidery, be the best embroidery artist in your town. If you can make beautiful flower arrangements, make the best damned flower art. Whatever your talent, there will be a market for it. The only question is, are you up for it?