The world of work is changing and the change seems to be on a speed wobble. This is especially true for those of us over the age of fifty. We grew up and worked in a world that was defined by an office, work hours and more local than global interaction.
The introduction of the internet in the last decade of the twentieth century is what is driving this change. The internet connected to smart phones and other devices changed the way we work, live and play.
The Gig or Demand Economy is defined as an environment in which temporary positions are common; organisations’ or individual’s contract with independent workers are for short-term assignments.
In this new economy, work can be done from anywhere and the technology already exists to bring together the work and the freelancers. There are a number of industries where this is already mainstream in our lives without our even being aware of it, and there are a number of industries emerging that will continue to bring change both for the freelancer and the client.
In a Gig economy, businesses save resources in terms of benefits, office space and training. They also have the ability to contract with experts for specific projects who might be too high-priced to maintain on staff. You may feel that this is only for the younger generation, but it is wise to stay informed since many opportunities will begin to emerge that may work for you.
Here are some local examples that are already around or about to hit the market:
- UBER has changed our lives. It may be a ride from the airport, a drive home from a party or an emergency solution for a parent, child or grandparent. In each of these models, there are two sides: the client and the service provider. Would you ever consider becoming an Uber driver or investing one of your vehicles in an Uber pool?
- AIRBNB is another service and income opportunity; Cape Town is a key success story for this new business model. I know of many friends making good money from international tourists visiting our shores. You may have engaged already to book through this business for either a local or international place to stay.
- This past month I was introduced to a new website called betterwage.com. This is a local website that has collected many different business models operating both locally and globally offering Gig economy services. This is a one-stop destination to understand where your skills and interests can be monetized: it may be writing, editing, surveys, teaching or many other possible opportunities. The most important thing is to understand the business model. In all cases, the business offering takes a small percentage for being the conduit in the business transaction.
- Exciting news in this space is that HOME CARE is about to become a reality in South Africa through a model called Care Delivery. Here is the website link: https://www.care.delivery/ – the model will offer home care services for post op, night care, wound care and general home care for the elderly. This will also open up a platform of professionals being able to offer their services to this market.
- Lastly, I want to share with you the winners of a competition this past week from SeedStars, an initiative that invests in and connects start-ups in emerging economies (www.seedstars.com). The winner in the South African competition was a company called IDwork (www.idwork.co) This is a platform to assist people needing handyman work done and finding the right person in your area to help you. It warms my heart to see job creation in our country at this level. This may be a great project to support if you have some work around the house waiting to be done.
The Gig economy is here. We are using it every day and it will continue to enhance our lives; at the same time, for many, it will look like work (as we know it) has changed forever. I choose to embrace the changes coming and enjoy both the opportunity of demand services and the possibility of many eggs in my basket as an earning opportunity.