Joining the Gig Economy

Joining the Gig Economy

As the role of a mother changes in society, so too are we seeing a change in the types of work in which they engage. These days, it seems that it’s not just mothers who adjusting to a change in the times but everyone else as well. The “gig economy” offers a flexible way to earn money and develop and sharpen skills in an industry where you might not have previously been able to participate.

The gig economy refers to a labour market that has a lot of freelance and short term roles rather than permanent full time ones. Such roles include everything from freelance writers to Uber drivers, and it’s the perfect scenario for a stay at home mother or a mother wanting to return to the workforce with a bit of flexibility under her belt.

With so many varied positions and roles on offer, joining the gig economy can be a simple thing to do, even with little experience. It’s just a matter of finding out where your skills fit, and how much time you can put aside each week on your burgeoning career.

How the Gig Economy Looks in Australia

According to the statistics, one third of Australians freelanced last year using a number of platforms. The reasons for doing so were varied with some looking to supplement their income with some extra cash, others trying to build on skills from their university degree to make them more attractive employees, and the rest, stay at home mothers who want to earn money and get back into the workforce.

This trend of casual and part time work doesn’t seem to be slowing down either, with the ABS stating that in 2016 as the economy grew by 220,000 jobs, only 30,000 of those were full time and the rest were part time. As the picture of the modern family changes, it shows we are spending less time at work and more with the family, which can be a welcome change for some.

Things to Remember About Freelancing Work

Although working from home might paint a pretty picture, there are some things you should be aware of before you take the plunge into the gig economy. Here are just a few points to think about before deciding whether it’s right for you:

  • You will need to organise tax, super, insurance, and anything else that comes along with being self-employed as these are all your responsibility now;
  • Start from the bottom and build up skills in just one area (writing, virtual assisting, etc) as you’ll be more likely to secure work against the thousands of others trying to do the same when you can present yourself as an expert;
  • You won’t be paid for sick days, holidays, or any days where you need to take time off for your children, so you’ll have to factor these into your costs;
  • As you’re now working as an independent contractor, you won’t have the same rights as an employee and there’s no minimum wage to dictate a fair amount to be paid;
  • You will need to get an accountant to ensure you’re doing everything smartly and above board, saving yourself a hassle when it comes to tax time.

How Can You Get into the Gig Economy?

If you’re aware of the added responsibility of being an independent contractor and are still keen to get into the workforce on your own, there are a few options for how you can get started. First, think about where your skills currently lie, how much time you have to spend each week on your work, and any short or long term goals you have for your career.

With a solid understanding of your own skills and wants, you can then begin the search online for freelance work. There are a number of job platforms to search through which hire writers, virtual assistants, ride sharing platforms, and even freelance lawyers, so the world really is your oyster.

Flexibility As The Greatest Reward

Everything changes when you become a mother, so it’s great to have the flexibility that freelance and short term work offers. Although there are some downsides and new responsibilities to be aware of, these roles are becoming more popular than ever for new and stay at home parents, thanks to the freedom they give to be both a mother and a career woman.

Working from home or as an independent contractor means you’re in charge of creating the perfect balance between motherhood and work, and provided you can get the balance right, you’ll be rewarded with more time to spend in other parts of your life.

For other helpful ideas about making the most of motherhood and gaining back some independence, we invite you to visit our Peachymama blog as often as you like – or, better still, sign up to receive our monthly newsletter.

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