In Part 1, I explored The Gig Economy’s role in Specialty Food from the company’s perspective. In Part 2, I’m talking to The Gigger (AKA Independent Contractor), about their role.

Read both articles to maximize your understanding of each other’s position and deepen your relationships.

There are two types of giggers. The enthusiastic self-employed who wouldn’t have it any other way (yours truly sits squarely on this side), and the reluctant, “I’d rather be employed” person who hangs out the “Consultant” shingle while looking for a J O B. While there is nothing wrong with this strategy, my conversation today focuses on the former.

So what makes a happy gigger? FREEDOM. Freedom to work on projects that stoke us with people who we connect with. Freedom to work as much as we want on projects that fascinate us, and time to take off to pursue other passions, or just to recharge. And freedom to push back as a peer rather than hold back in fear of losing our only paycheck.

What are some keys to becoming a successful Gigger?

  • Know your worth. Set your rates based on what you want to earn and what your target audience is willing and able to pay.
  • Know your strengths, avoid your weaknesses. Invest in an assessment tool and a coach to help you understand yourself. There’s nothing like self-awareness as a prescription for success.
  • Define your target audience. It’s easier to market to a niche than to try and be everything to everyone. What you learn from each client will inform your next gig, making you more effective.
  • Have an elevator speech. You need to grab your target’s attention to start a dialog. You’ll never get the conversation off the ground if you don’t entice them.
  • Be curious: ask lots of questions. Knowledge will help you deliver a unique solution specific to their needs.
  • Network like crazy; pay it forward. It’s a numbers game. The more people you talk to, the more opportunities present themselves.
  • Be a resource. You don’t have to have all the answers, but being able to point people toward solutions is just as good. You become a trusted advisor, and you’ll get first dibs on any issues. You won’t miss out on any opportunity that you CAN help with.
  • Most gigs come from referrals. Ask!
  • Keep organized records. Treat your work as a business. Use accounting software and a CRM to track sales, expenses, leads, client appointments and all the details you shouldn’t expect to keep in your head. Put everyone you meet into the CRM so you have the resources as mentioned above.
  • Market yourself. Put some time on your calendar to promote yourself on social media, write a newsletter or call past clients to say hello and catch-up.

I’ve been a consultant since 2001 and a Gestalt trained coach since 2007. It’s rewarding to work with such diverse companies, each with its unique circumstances. Still, all businesses are fundamentally about profit and loss. If you can contribute to maximizing profits and minimizing loses, you’ll be in constant demand.

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