How To Get Rich as a Gig Worker

A young black woman drives a passenger in her car as a professional driver.
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Working gigs is a perfectly acceptable way to earn a living, and more and more people are realizing it. Currently, the U.S. has around 70 million gig workers, a number that is expected to steadily increase to over 90 million by 2028, according to Statista.

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To learn more about gig work and those who do it, Zety completed a poll of 1,000 gig workers. Out of those polled, 59% said their main source of income is a gig job. As far as income, 34% of those polled said they earn between $9.99 and $14.99 per hour, 17% earn between $15 and $19.99 and 8% earn $20 per hour or more.

If you want to get rich as a gig worker, you’ll need to have a few effective strategies up your sleeve. Here are several to consider.

Invest in Training and Education

“Gig workers should always aim to learn new skills or work to get new certifications that allow them to take higher-paying jobs,” said Mike Vaynerman, marketing director at Bluecrew. “For example, ‘Crew Members’ on the Bluecrew platform are more likely to secure higher-paying roles like alcohol server training or forklift operator after becoming certified.”

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Be Willing To Take Less Popular Shifts

“Some less-than-desirable shift times (such as overnight) tend to pay higher than desirable day shifts; it all depends on what a worker prioritizes,” said Vaynerman “Be willing to pick up shifts that others might overlook or pass up.”

Consider Taking One-Off Shifts

“Don’t forget to consider taking one-off shifts on free weekends, as well,” said Vaynerman. “Gig work is all about schedule flexibility, but folks often fall into the category of Monday through Friday, even when it comes to gig shifts. Picking up a shift working concessions at a ballpark, for example, enables gig workers to make extra cash outside of the usual work week.”

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Be Aware of Trends

“First, it’s essential to be aware of the trends in the gig economy and adjust your services accordingly,” said Caitlyn Parish, founder and CEO of Cicinia. “For example, if you’re a rideshare driver, you’ll likely make more money during busy times like rush hour or on weekends. Similarly, if you’re a pet-sitter, you may want to raise your rates during holidays when demand increases.”

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Aim To Stand Out

“Secondly, gig workers should always seek ways to improve their service and stand out from the competition,” said Parish. “This could mean offering additional services, being more responsive to customer requests, or providing a higher service level than other providers.”

Avoid Burnout

“Finally, it’s important to manage your time and energy levels effectively,” said Parish. “This means knowing when to take breaks, setting limits on the number of gigs you take and getting enough rest to continue delivering high-quality work.”

Review Your Rates on a Regular Basis 

“If you’re getting more work than you can handle, it’s time to raise your prices,” said Alli Hill, a freelance writer and owner of Fleurish Freelance. “Also, as you gain experience and can be more effective for your clients, you have the right to charge more for your services.”

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Outsource Extra Work if Possible

“Another strategy I use to generate more income without working more is to lean on other experts to get more done,” said Hill. “I have a couple of other freelancers I partner with when my schedule gets overwhelmed. They help me with easy tasks that keep my clients happy and projects on track.”

Start a Retirement Fund

“Saving now for the future can be done savvily and with little forfeit now and lots of gain in coming years,” said Colin Palfrey, Chief Marketing Officer of Crediful. “There is the option for retirement savings of Solo 401(k), Self Directed IRA or SEP IRA. The first two options work well for a business where you are the sole worker, whereas SEP IRA allows for employees. Saving for retirement might seem counter-productive for increasing income; however, it’s an important aspect of financial security for your future.”

Be Willing To Work Multiple Gigs

According to the Zety poll, 84% of gig workers work for more than one company — and that’s a smart strategy. By doing more than one gig, you can potentially earn more.

For example, if you’re a freelancer, you should sign up with multiple freelance marketplaces to have a better chance of finding well-paying gigs that you can successfully fit into your schedule.

Optimize Your Schedule

To maximize your income as a gig worker, you’ll also need to optimize your schedule. For example, if you sign up to drive with a ridesharing service, like Uber or Lyft, try to work during peak times to earn the most money. Then, find a different gig that pays better than ridesharing during off-peak times, such as freelance web design or writing.

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About the Author

Cynthia Measom is a personal finance writer and editor with over 15 years of collective experience. Her articles have been featured in MSN, AOL, Yahoo Finance, INSIDER, Houston Chronicle and The Seattle Times. She attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.
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