Gig economy jobs are more popular than ever but they're nothing new. For years, there have been freelancing, pet sitting, and finding work as independent contractors. Some of these gig workers are engaging in gig economy jobs as a side hustle to supplement the income from their full-time jobs but many others are finding the gig economy a great way to start their own business and be their own boss.
11 Gig Economy Jobs With Real Earning Potential:
What Is the Gig Economy?
The gig economy typically refers to short-term, contract-based work that people use to supplement or replace income from full-time jobs. Instead of working a traditional job in an office with a single company, gig workers are independent contractors. According to Small Biz Labs, Gallup has estimated that 36% of workers are involved in the gig economy in some capacity. Many workers enjoy the freedom of being able to work flexible hours but, as you'll see later, gig economy jobs have drawbacks, too. Despite any perceived drawbacks, Forbes reports that the gig economy is growing three times faster than the traditional workforce.
How the Gig Economy Works
In gig economy jobs, workers complete small tasks like writing articles, publishing social media content, or delivering groceries in exchange for payment. Gig workers can work set hours or by project, depending on the tasks they need to complete. Many gig workers work a traditional job during set hours and devote a set of hours outside of that job for their gig job (or side hustle, as they're sometimes called).
Pros & Cons of Gig Jobs
As we mentioned earlier, there are pros and cons to gig economy jobs. As with any job, you'll want to make sure that you understand the requirements of the role you're going to take on and know how much time and energy you're going to need to excel at your side hustle.
One of the biggest advantages of gig worker jobs is the flexibility they provide. Gig workers can choose where they work and when as well as which clients they want to work with. Some gig workers will even be able to set their own rates. On the downside, gig economy jobs don't offer benefits like health insurance, vacation pay, or other things you might have come to expect from working traditional jobs. With a side hustle, you're essentially in business for yourself so if you're on your own if you need access to insurance or want to take time off.
Some gig workers use gig economy jobs to try something new. Taking on a side hustle that aligns with a career you're interested in is a great way to find out if you're actually going to enjoy it without disrupting your entire life and saying goodbye to your full-time job before you're sure. Of course, working more hours than you'd work in a traditional job is hard work. Despite the flexibility offered with gig economy jobs, some gig workers still suffer from burnout. Others become disillusioned with the inconsistent income that accompanies project-based work.
Types of Gig Economy Jobs
There are gig economy jobs in just about any industry you can think of. Here are some of the most common types of gig economy jobs out there:
- Driving and delivery: In these gig economy jobs, workers deliver people, food, and a number of other things using their car or bicycle.
- Manual labor: If you're strong, enjoy cleaning, or are otherwise handy, you can find jobs doing those things for others in exchange for money.
- Skilled labor: Are you a carpenter, millworker, plumber, or another type of skilled worker? You can find gig economy jobs working for clients in need of those skills.
- On-demand rentals: Rent out your home, car, boat, etc. to earn extra money.
- Marketing, writing, bookkeeping, and business: If your talent lies in marketing, writing, bookkeeping, or other business tasks, you can find freelance work to supplement your income.
Where to Find Gig Economy Jobs
Most gig economy jobs can be found online on the sites that we've included below. We recommend starting off by signing up for accounts with the sites that cater to your specific skill set. This will give you access to the people who are looking to hire those with the very skills you have. Sometimes, though, you might not be able to find gig economy jobs that work for you online. Don't worry—we're going to share a few ways to find gig economy jobs offline, too.
Uber, Lyft, and Amazon Flex
If you like driving, have a nice car, and don't mind carting folks around, driving for Uber or Lyft might just be for you. In these ride-sharing jobs, you use the app provided by Uber or Lyft to connect with people who need rides, go pick them up, and deliver them to their destination. Repeat for as many passengers as you want!
With Amazon Flex, you won't be delivering people but packages. Like Uber and Lyft, you'll use Amazon's app to find out where Amazon needs delivery drivers and take on as many deliveries as you want. Amazon Flex also looks for delivery drivers in local areas where they don't have hubs or large warehouses, so even if you're not right in a large metro area, this could be a good gig economy job for you.
If you don't mind sharing space with strangers or have a property that you don't use all the time, consider renting that property out on Airbnb. The app connects property owners with people looking for accommodations and is a great way to earn some extra income without much effort.
Upwork is a place for freelancers to find project-based and long-term contracts with people and businesses seeking their services in industries like marketing, writing, graphic design, computer programming, web development, customer service, accounting, and more. Everything happens on the Upwork platform, so you don't have to worry about tracking down invoices and hounding customers to pay. Upwork takes care of all that (for a percentage of your earnings, of course).
Like Upwork, Fiverr is a platform where freelancers can offer their services to customers looking for those skills. Most Fiverr jobs fall under digital marketing, graphic design, writing, and translation.
For people who like more physical or tactile work, there's TaskRabbit. Taskers on TaskRabbit can create a profile with their rates and experience level for the task categories in which they want to work. Tasks could be anything from cleaning to assembling furniture to gardening.
Toptal is a place for freelance designers, finance experts, project managers, and software developers to find gig economy jobs perfect for them. Toptal has an extensive application process but that just means that those who make it through are highly-qualified and worth the fees they charge.
Freelancer is the largest freelancing and crowdsourcing platform in the world with more than 45 million businesses and freelancers from more than 247 countries. Not surprising since it's been around since 2008. Unfortunately, there's a history of low-paid projects with Freelancer, so it might be best for those just getting started and are trying to build up a portfolio quickly.
If you live well outside of a metro area, you might have a hard time finding gig economy jobs you can take on—especially jobs that you can't do remotely. It really just means that you need to get more creative and maybe take on a bit more responsibility on the front-end by doing your own marketing and looking for clients where you are. This might mean taking out an ad in the local paper or putting up flyers in local businesses to tell the community about your skills and the type of jobs you're looking to take on. If your skills are more business-related, reach out to local businesses. There are many highly-successful freelancers who started out by getting local businesses to trust them with work.
11 Best Gig Economy Jobs to Check Out
By now, you're probably ready to learn about specific gig economy jobs that you can take on to earn more money or build your own business. Here are 11 of our favorites.
1. Digital Marketing
Digital marketing covers a ton of different tasks like email newsletters, SEO, content marketing, and more. If you have a background in marketing or copywriting, digital marketing is a great gig economy job to consider. You can find clients online through sites like Upwork and work remotely from the comfort of your own home.
2. Graphic Design
Graphic designers create the stunning images that businesses need to keep their leads and customers engaged and delighted. This could include graphics for social media platforms, logos, book covers, website design, or anything else that you're passionate about creating.
3. Freelance Writing
Freelance writing can include copywriting, content writing, and even journalism. If you're a strong writer who has never met a deadline you didn't love and you have expertise that you can leverage to find customers you actually want to work with, freelance writing is one of the most flexible gig economy jobs around.
4. Facebook Ad Management
Facebook Ads and ads for any social media platform are a fun way to break into digital marketing. Creating ads doesn't require any special skills—just a keen eye and some copywriting skill. You can find clients online through sites like Upwork and Fiverr as well as reaching out to local businesses to sell them on the importance of running ads and your ability to create them.
5. Handyman Services
If you're interested in providing muscle or have some handyman skills, become a Tasker on TaskRabbit or check out Amazon Home Services to find jobs like moving or assembling furniture, fixing loose stairs, installing home entertainment centers, and more.
6. Deliver Packages, Food, Groceries, or People
There are tons of delivery services and ride-sharing businesses that are always looking for drivers. If you enjoy driving around but don't want to drive people around, consider delivering food for Postmates, Uber Eats, DoorDash, or another food delivery service. There are also grocery delivery services like Instacart if shopping and driving are your thing. And, we've already mentioned Amazon Flex but it bears repeating here if you're interested in delivering packages.
7. Instagram Marketer
If you love Instagram, we've got great news for you. Instagram is a great place for influencer marketing and becoming an Instagram influencer is easier than you probably think. If you're serious about Instagram marketing, we recommend working on growing your Instagram following and engaging with your audience. As your number of followers increases, you'll become more attractive to brands as an influencer. As soon as you're able, you might want to consider joining an influencer marketing network to help you get connected with brands looking for influencers.
A quick note: just because it's relatively easy to become an Instagram influencer, that doesn't mean it's an easy job. It requires dedication, consistency, and an entrepreneurial spirit.
8. Dog Walking, Pet Sitting, or Babysitting
Babysitting is pretty much the original gig economy job and it's still popular. If you love animals or children, this could be a great gig economy job for you! There are sites like Rover that connects pet owners with people willing to walk their dogs or take care of their other pets while they're not home. If human pets are more your speed, check out Care.com (they also have pet-sitting gigs).
9. Airbnb Host
We've already talked about renting out space as an Airbnb host, but it's really one of the easiest gig economy jobs. If you want to get creative and add value for renters, you can set up local experiences like brewery tours, hikes, bar hops, and more.
Do you know how to code? Use those skills to build plugins, apps, and create websites. You can find coding jobs on Toptal, Upwork, Fiverr, and several other freelancing sites.
11. Create and Sell Online Courses
Online courses are a great way to leverage your experience and expertise to earn some extra money. In fact, some online course creators have replaced the income from their full-time jobs and then some with online courses. The beauty of an online course is that you can put in the work once and earn recurring income (unless your course is live, of course). Here's how to create an online course so you can get started right away.
We've covered a lot of information about gig economy jobs in this article, but it's really just scratching the surface. If you didn't find the right gig economy job for you here, don't worry. Here are more side hustle ideas to inspire you. Plus, check out these side hustle tools you can use to earn more money.