Read What’s Hot Around the Web: March 2019

A roundup of independent contractor news and insights

We’ve curated some of the top topics circulating the web regarding the gig economy over the last month. In this installment, we cover the freelance skills employers are coveting, best practices for on-boarding new clients, the recent rise of CBD oil on the direct-selling scene, how knowledge might be the next most sought-after on-demand service, and the move toward working in chunks and in multiple roles instead of traditional nine-to-five schedules. Plus, we’ve included something to help you laugh about those days when freelancer truths become stranger than fiction.

Is your industry on the list?
This Fundera report lists the most in-demand on-demand gigs for the new year that also pay well. Start landing clients and projects in one of these industries, and you’ll set yourself up with the potential to build a sustainable career being your own boss. At the top of the list, you’ll find programming, but that’s a wide industry. This Tech Republic piece breaks down the top 10 fastest-growing programming related job categories for indie contractors. API and Blockchain dominate, but machine learning skills are increasingly sought after. All skills on the list have grown at a rate of 70 percent year-on-year.

Make on-boarding clients a cinch with these tips.
Taking on a new client involves some unpaid busywork on the front end. A planned-out process will speed things up, keep you organized, set the tone for your client-vendor working relationship, and head off snafus. This Forbes article provides the nuts and bolts required for a streamlined on-boarding procedure.

Could this product be your new hustle?
Health and wellness offerings have long been staples of the direct-selling industry. Now the recent growth in CBD oil use has made it the latest multi-level-marketing product trend. Last year, the availability of CBD oil increased by 80 percent, reports The Seattle Times. A growing number of people are learning about its uses and getting in on an industry that’s projected to hit $22 billion by 2022.

What’s in your brain may help define the gig economy’s future.
Will we order knowledge or advice like we do takeout? And will our expertise become our next on-demand gig service option? This QuartzIdeas piece discusses examples of how we might monetize our knowledge and make it an instant deliverable in the years to come.

Gig work is our past, present, and future.
Although the traditional nine-to-five, salaried job remains a staple, people are increasingly performing work in chunks. Some gig workers stick to one industry like tax prep, while others dapple in a mix of gigs like delivery driving and dog walking. Author Linda Nazareth, a senior fellow at the MacDonald-Laurier Institute, calls this cobbling together of work and income “fragmentation.” The Globe and Mail features an excerpt from her book,Work Is Not a Place: Our Lives and Our Organizations in the Post Jobs Economy. Nazareth makes the point that we’ve been here before, with cottage-industry manufacturing. The first gig workers were bakers, butchers, blacksmiths, cobblers, tailors, etc. The rise of the new gig economy and this move towards fragmentation is essentially a return to work’s roots.

Need a good example? Literally eking out a living in roots is hairstylist Dani TyGer. In this JaboTV video on Entrepreneur, Jessica Abo interviews TyGer about the ins and outs of the “hair hustle” in Los Angeles. TyGer delves into the importance of having a passion for hair, a willingness to network, and an acceptance or love for spontaneity and the unexpected. Those characteristics are a must, she says, when working multiple gigs.

And now for a little humor…
If you’re a creative freelancer and you haven’t had a chance to check out the Freelance Wars Twitter account, stop everything and do that now. Then read this Digital Arts interview with Freelance Wars account creator Alex Griendling, a Minneapolis-based designer and illustrator. Griendling turned several Star Wars clips into GIFs about impossible clients, scope creep, setting rates, and more. You’ll laugh at these all-too-familiar freelancer moments, and maybe they’ll even talk you out of throwing your laptop out the window. The GIFs let you know we’ve all been there.