The growth in the “gig” economy is booming because the structure of work today is so uneven. Jobs do not carry a guarantee that it will be there in five or ten years so people need to understand that they have to start doing something for themselves to ensure that they have a steady income in the future. The rise of apps that allow you to piecemeal a living wage is a blessing for many because they can now rely on different sources of income to make up for the lost hours from work.
More and more companies today are cutting hours because the costs are too high with many companies not having enough work for employees to do or, in the case of companies like Wal-Mart, restricting employees to only work a set number of hours and giving the rest to other employees to make up for the remaining hours, which takes away from someone working a full-hour work week and getting benefits. In order to handle such a living apps like Uber and Postmates are making it easier for people to gain a footing on their income by using their free time to pickup odd jobs for other people.
The start of the sharing Economy
The rise of this new market system started happening in the 70s when companies were encouraged to trim down their hiring practices but it wasn’t until the realization of what the internet could do that it started giving people more options for jobs. Ebay showed people that they could sell their own personal belongings to anyone in the world and turn that into a job. Amazon allowed people and companies to open up their own store online and sell directly through them enabling them to become the online store with everything. Then YouTube came along and turned visual content into a full time job and now that apps are around people are able to come up with new options of creating their own source of income in ways they never thought possible.
Ebay became the first online yard sale website to offer used items that people sold. The creative disruptors’ of the world saw this and knew the potential for what it was really worth. That is when you started seeing users who were making a lot of money off of Ebay because they were the first to embrace online purchasing with the use of paypal but they also saw that you could turn this into a full time job. The users who took advantage of what Ebay is all about, online marketing, became powersellers and would go out and find unique items to put up on their account to sell. Just think of the show, American Pickers, but with the hosts taking what they found and posting it up on Ebay to sell. In the case of Ebay you have a 1 seller to anyone ratio with the highest bid winning, just like at an auction but also the thrill of a game. If you listen to the song “Ebay” by Weird Al you can begin to see the crazy appeal that some people get out of using it.
Amazon started as this new website that allowed you to purchased stuff from a store online that you couldn’t actually visit to touch any of the products. The hard part about getting people to sign up and use it was getting people comfortable enough to use their credit card online. The appeal for businesses and entrepreneurs came when Amazon allowed them to set up their own store online because at the time, who knew how to build websites? There were no website building sites like there are today to make it easy so if anyone could post products and sell through Amazon, which they handled all the payments and processing, why not take advantage of that? Many people did because they could offer the best deals found online and still to this day Amazon offers some of the best deals online. The reason for this is because so many companies are signed up on Amazon just incase Amazon itself cannot offer the better deal they might have another company that does. Amazon now makes it very easy to self-publish your own books which many people have taken advantage of with some people publishing hundreds of books on their own that would have never gotten approved from formal book publishing companies.
YouTube then came in and showed people that you could post content online and make money doing that, entertaining people. Many people today make a nice living on making content that people enjoy watching which has really created this new economy of finding and creating your own kind of work which is exactly what the apps like Uber and Airbnb and even TaskRabbit now offer.
Apps for different skills
Once companies started using the internet more to outsource jobs that is when American’s realized they had to start finding new lines of work. Many people today rely solely on these apps to make up for their income. The required skill of time management is so key to balancing all these apps that you have to check them on a regular basis (meaning every 2 minutes) or risk losing a job to another person.
The reason companies went the route of outsourcing was because it allowed them to focus on what they do best instead of managing payroll and taxes and health benefits. The use of full time employees for that is a drag on helping the company stay lean and nimble in hard times. The use of contract employees for small projects is something more companies favor because it means no dealing with benefits of perks.
The growth in apps will only continue which means the more apps you find that connect people with other people for work, the faster the adoption of the app. People like apps that make it super easy to sign up and start making money. If you can make repairs around the house at a moment’s notice then apps like TaskRabbit and Thumbtack make it very easy to post a job and get a reply within a few minutes from people who are qualified.
The rise in personal projects such as errands, grocery shopping, and little household jobs are where Favor, Postmates, Fancyhands, JobRunners, Airtasker, Agent Anything, and Needto all come in and provide options for people to find work. People who are a jack of all trades would find websites like these a heaven sent option because it means they can look for quick jobs that last from a few minutes to a few short hours. I will provide a list below of all new companies that are joining in to provide these kind of services of connecting people with job takers.
The interesting thing to note is that many people who do use apps like Uber and Airbnb and TaskRabbit majority of them have college degrees and use their extra time to make a little extra money.
The Future of the Workplace
It is not surprising to learn that many companies are using these apps and websites to find short-term employees to fill in their labor needs. You might be wondering, “why not just hire those people then?” Well most jobs are not long term and many do not even fit a part-time requirement. Wonolo is a company that was created out of the Coca-Cola Founders platform, which helps entrepreneurs launch their startup ideas and started by AJ Brustein and Yong Kim.
The purpose of this two-year old company is to help companies find employees on short notice that are pre-screened and qualified for the work. Many of these jobs operate inside the companies they are hiring for so, for instance, they might need helping with packaging or shipping items or even delivering to customers. The range of work they have listed covers a broad range of jobs, some that require a college degree and experience and others that you are available and pre-screened.
The future of the workforce is such that it is cheaper to hire people this way for short-term projects then to keep people on full-time or part-time. How many times have you gone to work and seen people just fluttering around because they don’t have much work to do. The company could have spent that money on something better. That is why companies do not hire for long-term anymore and they are cutting and reducing jobs at a fast rate because it makes no sense to keep on a full staff of employees for jobs that only need work when the time comes.
The nice thing about sites like Wonolo, Amazon Home Services, and TaskRabbit is that they enable anyone, regardless of age, to be able to work and make a living doing what they are good at. There are some people who are great handy men but what company is hiring for that? Now they can sign up with all these different services and start finding work right away. Wonolo has mentioned that their services help people promote themselves in jobs that would have been hard to get otherwise but that they do have a number of people who have secured full-time work using their service.
Full List of Gig Sharing Sites