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Thriving In The Gig Economy: 15 Key Strategies For Success

Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council

Forbes Source:

The current gig economy requires different modes of operating than the standard office job opportunities of the past. To survive, key traits such as versatility, focus and patience are a must.

But, which gig economy game plans can take an entrepreneur beyond mere survival, to thriving? Below, 15 members of Forbes Coaches Council explain their top strategies for success in the current gig economy.

1. Show Utility And Versatility

While it is important to know your areas of strength, the gig economy requires that you also show utility and versatility. Gone are the days of "I only do this." It is important to display your ability to flex within your field of expertise and embrace changes in technology or the evolution of the way clients utilize your services. - Tonya Echols, Thrive Coaching Solutions

2. Keep The Gig Human

The gig economy limits the values of loyalty and relationship; you must balance it. I recommend the "engagement" strategy. Better to engage the customer live than to off-load customer-attention-moments to the AI or robots. The most valuable moments are when you have the customer’s attention. Leverage them.Those with relationship-focused organizations will create value and lower marketing costs. - Thomas Larkin, Communico, Westport CT

3. Change Your Mindset

The biggest obstacle I see with my clients thriving in a gig economy is their traditional belief about their work or career. Release any outdated concepts related to how we "should" work or your value if you're not a full-time salaried employee. You'll open up so many more opportunities that can build your momentum for attracting enough work that you could make more than working a traditional job. - Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching

4. Upskill Your Way To Success

Upskilling is the No. 1 strategy for thriving in the gig economy where machines teach machines and artificial intelligence is real. Acquiring hard skills in machine learning or robotics can significantly boost relevance and opportunities for an increasingly diverse client base, as do soft skills like critical thinking and collaboration. Upskill your way to success in the gig economy. - Lillian Gregory, The Institute for Human and Leadership Excellence

5. Focus On Personal Branding

Thriving in the gig economy requires more than just your subject matter expertise. The key to standing out in a crowded marketplace is to communicate your core values and benefits persistently. In other words, you have to have a solid personal branding strategy in place. To unearth your strategy, ask yourself what it is that you are particularly good at. What do you want to be known for? - Tim Windhof, Windhof Career Services

6. Maximize Your Gig Portfolio

Losing interest leads to late and poor work, then to a damaged reputation. Stay interested with two keys to maximize your gig portfolio. First, keep a core of activities that are both strengths and preferences. When you are great at it and enjoy it, time passes quickly. Second, add in a measure of opportunities that stretch and challenge you to keep your skills fresh and the work interesting. - Holly R. Pendleton, Envision Business Consulting

7. Be Patient, Be Consistent

I tell all of my clients: If you can sell, you can become a business owner. Not everyone has the stomach for being in a 24/7 sales cycle -- which is what a gig lifestyle requires. If you can sell another firm's services and make a good living, you can sell your own services and make even more. It takes time, consistency, patience. Your network will become your best asset. Don’t be afraid to use it. - Warren Zenna, Zenna Consulting Group

8. Build On Referrals

If you're in a heavily saturated industry, it can be hard to market and sell your gig. On the other side, it is often difficult for consumers to determine who to buy from when the market is saturated. Encourage clients to offer referrals and testimonials to help cut through the clutter. Typically, their referrals will have some background information about you and will be easier to work with. - LaKesha Womack, Womack Consulting Group

9. Manage Your Reputation

Having worked remotely for various size organizations as an independent contractor for 15-plus years, the most vital strategy by far is to manage your reputation. It starts with a very simple proposition: underpromise and overdeliver. It is the basis for asking your happy customers for referrals. You will be surprised how this methodology alone creates a steady flow of leads. - Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group

10. Build A Strong Client And Project Pipeline

There is nothing inherently wrong with our current gig economy. In fact, working on a contract basis offers many benefits over traditional full-time employment. The key is building a strong pipeline of clients and projects to maintain a steady, reliable income. The hardest part is getting the "gig" ball rolling. But once established, referrals and repeat business will follow.  -Candace Barr, Strategic Resume Specialists

11. Develop A 'Success Team'

Ongoing relationships with people who help you grow, connect with opportunities and vouch for you are more important than ever. You’re building your reputation across a string of organizations, assignments, and teams, so a healthy network of people who know, like, and trust you is the glue that binds your experiences together. A strong team transcends boundaries and evolves with your career. - Caroline Adams, Career Change, Transition, and Advancement

12. Hone In On Your Niche

It’s easy to chase clients and money instead of your skills and strengths when you’re just starting out in the gig economy. You have to specialize if you want to thrive. Get specific. What types of clients do you serve? What specific problems are they facing? And how are you uniquely qualified to solve their problems? Continue to get more and more specialized; this will make you irreplaceable. - Kyle Cromer Elliott,

13. Be A Hungry Hunter

Never let your guard down in a gig economy. Focus on your stellar, fun and interesting work but always set aside time for relationship building, sales, attending events and pushing for the next source of income. External factors can impact your revenue flow and livelihood, so live below your means. Put 150% into every customer. Be vigilant for new opportunities. Be the hungry hunter for projects. - Joanne Markow, GreenMason

14. Find Legitimate Clients

Find and establish legitimate clients for your services. We live in very competitive working environments, and it is important to have a high-quality skill set that reputable clients are willing to pay for. - Izabela Lundberg, Legacy Leaders Institute

15. Focus, Focus, Focus

The gig economy provides a wonderful opportunity for individuals to chart their own course and provide value in ways that are flexible, creative and timely. These same characteristics, however, allow many gig entrepreneurs to lose focus and take any gig. Thriving in a gig economy requires focus -- focus that accentuates your expertise and makes you easy to find for that specific expertise. - Jim Vaselopulos, Rafti Advisors, Inc.

©2019 Forbes Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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