When most people think of the gig economy, they immediately think of the popular ridesharing apps, food delivery services, and grocery delivery options that have become ubiquitous in today’s world. However, with significant legal questions being raised in California over large ridesharing companies’ classification of drivers as non-employees, the future of some large players in the industry is starting to seem a bit uncertain. The gig economy is a lifeline for many workers trying to provide for their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, and there are a few ways for individuals to expand their view of the industry beyond the most popular app-based options.

Workers Should Diversify Their Gig Options

With major ridesharers in California facing a potential statewide shutdown, the importance of having many options available for gig workers cannot be overstated. The beauty of the gig economy lies in workers’ ability to take assignments at will and work multiple jobs with flexible hours. Workers can use this flexibility to pursue gigs across a variety of platforms and industries. Some drivers use multiple apps to maximize their opportunities, while other workers offer numerous services through various apps and platforms. A diverse portfolio of services and platforms allows workers to mitigate the effects of current events, both global and industry-specific, on their income.

The Gig Economy Exists Beyond Mobile Apps

While mobile apps are responsible for a significant amount of the boom that we’ve seen from the gig economy in recent years, this employment model is not an invention of the smartphone era. For many workers in previous decades, a variety of occupations included gig-based employment. Servers, caterers, DJs, musicians, writers, and others operated in the gig economy long before smartphone apps existed, and many of these occupations are still part of the gig economy today. Workers who are looking to expand their horizons may want to consider looking beyond mobile apps, looking instead into opportunities online, in brick-and-mortar establishments, or from others in the community. 

Entering the Gig Economy Does Not Mean Leaving Your Chosen Profession Behind

Because ridesharing and delivery services have become so intertwined with the gig economy as a whole, some people mistakenly assume that those are the only options available for gig-based employment. This is simply not true. Many freelancers and contractors operate on a job-by-job, client-by-client basis. Writers, artists, builders, educators, and others can find opportunities in their chosen field by simply exploring other avenues for jobs. Some online forums are designed to connect professionals with clients who need their services, with gigs organized and hosted by the forum itself. Others may find job opportunities through friends, colleagues, or neighbors. Although the gig economy has become synonymous with app-based ridesharing services, professionals can take a gig-based approach to employment in almost any industry while leaving the most popular apps behind.

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