Most of us grow up being told we can be whatever we want to be and do whatever we want to do. That’s truer today than at any time in modern history thanks to the gig economy and the flexibility that the internet and communications technology have made possible. You can be successful in the niche job of your dreams by following some simple advice.
Line up your gig with your skills
Whatever gig you’re planning to make your own, be sure it’s a good fit for your skill set and that you’ll be able to generate an income from it. If you find you’re unsuited to a particular industry, don’t get discouraged. There are countless gig opportunities you can try. Just be sure to focus on one you have some experience in – you’ll have a better chance to secure a gig, and you’re more likely to succeed if it’s one that makes sense for you. For example, if you’re a natural-born salesperson, take advantage of the internet’s many small business platforms and put your sales skills to work. Some of the hottest-selling online products these days that make the best business ideas are phone cases, wireless earphones, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) equipment. They’re inexpensive to buy wholesale and can earn you a pretty penny for not a whole lot of startup costs.
What will it take?
Once you’ve chosen a niche market, take a good look at what makes others in that niche successful. What makes their work so coveted? Try to model your work along the lines of the very best. Determine what makes their work so good and what you need to do to be that effective. Don’t mimic or copy others’ work, but try to master those habits that make others successful.
Create a portfolio
One of the best ways to impress potential clients is to build an eye-catching portfolio. This is how you’ll begin to build a strong reputation in your niche market. If you’re a designer, build a portfolio site showcasing work that performed very well for clients, and which earned special praise from customers or from their customers. These should be samples you’re especially proud of and want others to see, work that reflects what you do best and what kind of work you love doing.
Don’t neglect the taxman
One of the biggest mistakes people make when entering the gig economy is to overlook their taxes, especially if you’re used to working for companies that withhold taxes for you. If you’ve always worked that way, it can be easy to forget that entering the gig economy means you’re in charge of your own tax situation now. Start by seeking the advice of a tax professional. You’ll most likely be advised to file estimated quarterly taxes, which will keep you from having to shoulder a big tax bill from the IRS when April rolls around.
Set a schedule
Getting used to working solo every day is another major adjustment for a lot of people. You’re no longer reporting by the stroke of 8 or 8:30, or required to be at your workstation for “X” number of hours every day. As a freelancer, you set your own work hours and work at your own pace. However, it can be very easy to get behind if you have trouble disciplining yourself. Set up a workspace that’s free of distractions like the TV or video games. If you have trouble sticking to an 8-to-5 schedule, try segmenting your day. Work three hours in the morning, three in the afternoon and two at night. Breaking up your day can be a big help if your attention begins to wander after a while.
Make sure you do plenty of prep work before making the jump to the gig economy. Have a solid understanding of your niche market and what it takes to get the work done well and on time. It’s an exciting change, but it does require discipline.
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