Forty percent of all jobs are gigs, not full-time employment by one firm.

Does that surprise you?

With the employment environment already tight, you may find it difficult to hire full-time staff, but do you really need their hours to be 100% devoted to you? There’s a silver lining to using independent contractors. They pay their own taxes and provide their own benefits. You don’t have to manage them, just the project they are doing for you. If the quality of the work is meeting your expectations, you need not concern yourself with how they spend their time, whether they are being productive or how they fit into your company culture.

As a small business, you probably already employ independent contractors for accounting (CPA and/or bookkeeping), for legal issues, for IT, for web design and for collateral material, and brokers for sales.

Where else can you consider employing a gig worker?

Trade Shows: set-up, tear-down, manning the booth and after show follow-up are all temporary needs and busy work that you can create processes for that a temp can fulfill.

Customer outreach: during a new product launch, you could enhance the effort by hiring a temp to call your database as an introduction of the new product.

Employee leaves: what do you do when a critical employee needs an extended leave of absence for an injury, pregnancy, or family care-giving? Hire a sales manager, operations expert or production manager who has expertise and can step up. They may even leave the department with some insights and refinements to your current systems.

Marketing savvy: Designing and rebranding product line and marketing campaigns is an ideal use of outside talent. Consider research & development, packaging design, advertising, procurement, social media outreach and PR as enhancements that would benefit from individual expertise.

Sales: Up your game by hiring someone with channel expertise when you want to jump start entry into a new field like club stores, food service or B2C. Test drive your theory/concept without diluting your current personnel’s time. Asking your existing sales team to carve out time to explore a new, unfamiliar area usually yields mediocre results.

Who to hire? Some positions can be temp agency types or students, but for real giggers, you’re looking for professionals who have the same level of talent as you would want if you were hiring them as employees.

These tend to be self-employed people who love the freedom and challenge of working for themselves and not being tied to one company. While they come in all shapes and sizes, you should do a thorough vetting by checking references to ensure the work will be the quality you expect and delivered on the timeline expected.

There are an army of service providers out there who crave diverse, short-term gigs that they can’t have in traditional work settings. Think creatively.

If you’d like to explore this conversation with me, please reach out.

If you are a gigger, look for my article addressing your perspective.