August 20, 2021

Gig Economy 101: What is the Gig Economy?

gig economy

The modern workforce is driven by flexibility, autonomy, and technology. Often referred to as the “gig economy”, people can be their own boss and take control of their employment, and all they need is an internet connection and a phone.

What may have started with the growth of the ridesharing and delivery industries moving to phone apps, has emerged into the Gig Economy – where knowledge-intensive and creative industries have moved from the office building to the phone screen. Whether an independent contractor, working project-to-project; a “moonlighter” – working traditional jobs, then for a gig work on the side; diversified workers, with multiple sources of income; or temporary workers, who are working in the gig economy in between jobs; millions of people are joining the gig economy workforce.

Digital platforms and the connectivity of the Internet have created a network that allows individuals to reach potential client bases more easily than ever before. Whereas traditional employers provide the place and the work, gig workers are moving out of the office and taking charge of their own work. While giving up the security of working for an employer, gig workers are taking a risk and claiming their own independence.

The rise in connected networks has created an economy that gives everybody and anybody the opportunity to take charge and find work. In today’s day and age, anybody with the motivation can work as much or as little as they want by joining the gig economy. But, it isn’t all fun and games – working in the gig economy isn’t easy. Being a gig worker means stepping out of the comfort that traditional roles can provide – benefits like health insurance, consistent income, and structure are replaced with a cut-throat, fast-paced environment. It can be taking a risk to leave an employer and work as an independent contractor.

Driven by flexibility and competitive wages, the gig economy has created a free market where independent contractors and freelance workers have multiple options when it comes to choosing a company to work for; either full-time, short-term, or on the side. Gig economy workers, from their computer or even cell phone, can set their own hours, manage their own schedules, and take advantage of the never-ending demand for gig work. To fit the demand of workers, there are several companies that offer gig-work, even within each business sector.

The gig economy spans multiple and many business sectors – from art and design to computer and information technology, construction, extraction, media and communication, transportation, and material moving. The variety of gig work provides jobs and other opportunities (see FFCRA) for individuals who have a wide span of skills. From computer professionals to manual labor to just driving people in your car – whatever skills you have or whatever work you want to do, you can find a gig job that fits your preferences.

How to Find a Gig Job

Looking for a gig economy job will start with determining what type of work you want to do. If you want to provide transportation services, browse the different ride-sharing or carpooling companies, and find one that fits your needs. If you have a specific skill you can offer to provide professional services, browse Upwork or one of the other business work, or micro-work companies and find one that offers the services you desire.

Types of Gig Economy Jobs

The gig economy is made up of several different sectors, networks, and types of work. Depending on the skills and qualifications of the worker or whatever they have to offer, there are several different gig economy jobs to look for and companies to work for within each. Whether you want to provide transportation to customers or you have specific skills that you can offer, you can find a gig economy job that fits your lifestyle.

Below are just some examples of the different types of gig economy jobs out there, and the gig economy companies you can work for within each industry:

Transportation Service Jobs

Perhaps the most common type of gig economy job out there are the transportation-based services. When you think of “gig economy” – companies like Uber, DoorDash, Grubhub, or Lyft might come to mind, as these are some of the most popular apps that are used every day, and some of the biggest in the Gig Economy.

Transportation services in the gig economy exist on digital platforms which involve the freelance driver completing a requested transportation service for their clients. Whether it is ridesharing, carpooling, restaurant delivery, or even grocery or goods delivery – apps like Uber, DoorDash, GrubHub, Lyft, and Postmates fit into this category.

Asset-Sharing Services

Another popular type of gig economy company involves short-term person-to-person rentals from one property owner to another individual. Examples include home-sharing, like rentals via Airbnb, HomeAway, Vrbo; or car-sharing apps, like Turo, or GetAround; boat-sharing apps like BoatSetter, or GetMyboat; parking space sharing, like SpotHero; or P2P equipment sharing, like Burly or SpareToolz.

The gig economy has provided a market where individuals can rent out their properties, or anything that they have, to other people. If you have a space or any kind of property that others might want to utilize, consider renting it out via the gig economy.

Professional Services

The gig economy also provides opportunity for independent contractors and freelancer workers who can offer specific skills – like coding, writing, translation, administrative services, design, or other kinds of business work. By creating digital platforms to connect skilled gig workers to businesses or individuals who need professional services completed, these types of gig economy companies have paved the way for a new network of skilled laborers.

Computer Skills

With the increase in demand for computer skills, individuals with specific skills such as computer programming, web design, or other software-based services, can offer their skills to others in need. While these types of positions might require a special degree, certification, or license, they have the potential to pay the best. Some charge as much as $100 an hour, but the typical computer skills gig worker reports making an average of about $35 per hour.

Individuals who are looking to join the gig economy by offering their computer skills, looking for work related to content creation, writing, editing, graphic design, photographers, and more, can find work with gig economy companies such as Upwork, Freelancer, FlexJobs, and Fiverr, and typically make about $20 per hour.

Handmade Goods/Crafts/Art

The gig economy also had provided a market for artists and other types of freelance workers who can create specialized crafts or goods, provide home services like cleaning, babysitting, pet services, or tutoring.

Companies like Etsy give artists a chance to reach potential buyers for their arts and crafts, website like Care.com or UrbanSitter can connect caretakers to families that need additional support, or companies like Airtasker can help people find help with tasks around the house.

Physical/Manual Labor

The gig economy has also made it easier than ever to find help with physical and manual labor around the house. Especially if you have a van, truck, or other vehicle that can help you move large pieces of furniture or equipment, if you are willing to do some heavy lifting, you can probably earn a decent living doing so.

Gig workers who want to find jobs for moving things or other kinds of tasks around the house can find work on Dolly, Lugg, or TaskRabbit – and report making about $25 per hour


Homeowners need help; including owners of investment properties and rentals, so there is a never-ending demand for moving help and handypersons.

From putting together furniture and appliances, mounting TVs, hanging art, or using power tools, the gig economy has made it easier than ever to find consistent work as a handyperson using sites like Handy, or TaskRabbit – and these gig workers typically make about $22 per hour.

Online Tutors

The connectivity of the gig economy has also made it easier than ever for students to get tutoring help, as well as for tutors to find work. If you are an expert in a particular subject in school, you can find work with gig economy companies such as Varsity Tutors, Chegg, TutorMe – and these gig workers typically make about $20 per hour.

Rideshare Drivers

Perhaps the most common type of gig economy work is the rideshare service industry. From delivery drivers, to grocery shoppers, to carpooling, if you have a car and want to work, you can find jobs. Using the popular apps such as Uber, or Lyft; DoorDash, UberEats, GrubHub, or Instacart – rideshare drivers typically report making about $15 per hour.

Top Gig Economy Companies


When it comes to variety of work, no gig economy company provides freelance workers with a marketplace that includes as many trusted businesses. From Microsoft, to Airbnb, millions of companies trust Upwork to supply their need for skilled work.

Varying from entry-level to experienced independent contractors, Upwork also provides opportunity for one-off jobs or long-term contracts in industries spanning from web design, development, accounting, marketing, writing, HR, customer services, and more.


Freelancer provides opportunities for over 50 million independent contractors from over 245 countries. By posting jobs in the fields of website development, graphic design, computer programming, internet marketing, content production, translation, and other web-based professional services, Freelancer has the most reach out of all of the gig economy companies.


With over 800,000 clients across the world and over $250 million paid out to independent contractors, Guru holds a 99% client satisfaction rate. Unlike other gig work platforms where you don’t know how experienced the temporary workers you are hiring will be, Guru focuses on targeting talented professionals, rather than entry-level freelance workers.


providing freelancer workers the opportunity to earn money for completing odd jobs and errands, TaskRabbit has provided over 350,000 hours of help. Everybody can relate to needing some help around the house – from assembling furniture or appliances, or lifting heavy boxes, TaskRabbit can provide work opportunity for just about anybody.


Fiverr provides freelance contract workers the opportunity to capitalize on their tech-based skills. From graphics and design to digital marketing, writing, and translation, Fiverr makes it easy for businesses to find help with specific tasks, as well as provides an opportunity for freelance workers with advanced computer skills.