Technology is shrinking the world. As a result, much of what we’ve taken for granted is changing. Not long ago, a high school diploma was all you needed to secure a stable, well-paying job—one that could last until the day you retired. The job market eventually became more competitive and high school diplomas were replaced by college degrees. But today, a college degree is no longer a guarantee of finding a decent job. Even if you manage to find one, it might not pay enough to cover all of your expenses or be as fulfilling as you’d hoped.
Enter the gig economy.
It's more than just DoorDash and Uber.
What is the Gig Economy?
“Gig economy” refers to an increasingly mainstream phenomenon in the job market. Even if you aren’t familiar with it, you’ve almost certainly encountered it.
Here at DirectScale, an innovative developer of affiliate marketing software, we can clearly see how our rapidly our economy is changing. Just look around. For example, if you want your favorite takeout for dinner, warm Pad Thai with a side of mango sticky rice will arrive at your door in no time with a tap of your smartphone. Most likely, the person who delivered your dinner didn’t work for the restaurant, but for themselves as a part of the gig workforce. When you need to get to the airport or to meet up with friends for a night out, chances are you take an Uber or Lyft instead of a taxi. When you book that dream vacation of yours, you probably found your lodging through Airbnb instead of a traditional hotel. And increasingly, products and services are sold directly through network marketing. If any of these experiences sound familiar, you, like millions of others, have participated in the gig economy.
The term “gig” was traditionally used by musicians to mean a job for a specified period of time. Accordingly, the gig economy is a system where temporary job positions have become more common and where companies contract directly with individuals instead of hiring them as employees. This system provides individuals with flexibility and, ideally, can align their interests and hobbies with their career aspirations and goals. It can also provide a pathway to financial stability, freedom from debt, and a sense of fulfillment that would otherwise be unattainable in their current employment situation. The gig economy is quickly becoming not only more popular but more accepted, especially among younger members of the workforce.
What is the Difference Between Gigs and Part-Time Jobs?
Though there are some similarities, working in the gig economy is not the same as a part-time job, which is advantageous both to workers and companies—here, you are your own boss. You not only get to set your own schedule, but you get to determine how and where the work gets done — providing flexibility and a sense of ownership never dreamt of with a normal part-time job. When has waiting tables, cleaning offices, or delivering pizzas on the side ever done that?
How Do Businesses Benefit From the Gig Economy?
Companies who leverage gig workers enjoy immense scalability while conserving the effort that typically surrounds managing full-time employees. This doesn’t mean ignoring field workers, it just shifts the strategy to reflect the shrinking digital world. In fact, DirecTech Labs suggests that direct selling companies in particular must leverage technology to "increase the quality of the communication direct sellers have with their teams” and “make sure they are getting more personalized experiences to keep them on board longer.” Building better relationships with distributors means direct selling companies can be confident that their remote salesforce is not only loyal, but telling a consistent brand story, all while both parties enjoy the flexibility.
This autonomy is especially valuable for people who have to juggle their work responsibilities with taking care of children or other important responsibilities. Parents, for example, are often forced to do whatever they can to drop their children off at school and get to work on time. In many cases, they have to rely on family or friends to help out. Worse, these parents, students, and other busy professionals may be forced to turn down job opportunities that conflict with their other responsibilities. Not only is this demoralizing, but it can also jeopardize their careers and financial security.
How Do Workers Benefit From the Gig Economy?
Beyond the advantage of flexibility, the gig economy can help people:
- Learn new skills
- Expand their networks
- Change their careers altogether
- Pursue personal interests while making money at the same time
For example, the dissemination of culture via the internet has spiked the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons, a once niche role-playing game (we see you, Stranger Things). Individuals with existing knowledge of the game are taking advantage of its rise in popularity to combine their expertise with a way to make money or, for some, even a brand-new career. These so-called “dungeon masters” organize games for people entering the world of Dungeons & Dragons for the first time or as team-building activities for offices— and they’re making money doing it. The idea of a professional dungeon master would’ve been unthinkable only a few years ago, but now it’s a lucrative business for some and the perfect side hustle for others, allowing them to make well over $100 for a single game.
These professional dungeon masters are so successful not only because of their know-how, but because they have a palpable passion for what they’re doing. To the same token, successful gig workers in industries like direct selling are more than just good salespeople: they believe in what they selling because it has changed their own life. Think about the busy mom who has clear skin for the first time in her life, the athlete making performance breakthroughs, or the chronic pain sufferer who has found relief, all because of a unique product. These folks are more than just brand champions— they should be using their energy to build teams of like-minded people and finding customers who truly benefit from what they’re selling.
What Does the Future Hold?
The gig economy is here to stay. Corporations should leverage this flexible workforce addition to their advantage, but doing so successfully requires a deliberate approach. In fact, the same technology tools that enable the very existence of the 21st-century gig economy are the backbone to the approach.
In the world of direct selling, a platform like DirectScale’s MLM business software helps connect companies with their field, providing not only an enjoyable, loyalty driving experience, but the opportunity to empower gig workers with life-changing career development. Ultimately, workers who are taught how to be successful earn more income and drive more growth for their companies— everybody wins.
FROM THE CEO
Here at DirectScale, we believe that we are the best at what we do. We exist to help connect people who want and need better lives with the career opportunities that can get them there. Using our decades of combined direct selling experience, we’ve developed cutting-edge distributor portal software and built the optimum platform for managing the companies who can help make that change.
To request a demo, visit the DirectScale website today.