If you like to make side money driving for Uber, cleaning houses, freelance editing, selling homemade jewelry or pies you make, or if you are in between jobs and doing gigs to keep the bills paid, then you are a gigpreneur. Side hustlers—aka gig economy workers—accounted for more than 677 billion in income in 2017, and by 2020 will be 43 percent of the U.S. workforce.
The best way to handle gig work is as a business so that you can benefit from tax deductions for your business expenses such as supplies and mileage. Not to mention that if you are out there using your social security number as your business ID, you are leaving yourself up to major personal liability if anything goes wrong!
In this article, I’m going to share tips for running a successful gigpreneur business, as well as share the best places to find gig work and the best apps to keep your business rolling.
5 Tips for Becoming a Gigpreneur
Gig work can be a reliable way to make extra money, and it can even become a full-time career! Get started with these tips.
1. Register Your Business with the IRS.
You need to be a real business. I know in the early days it might be tempting to use your social security number for your business and get paid in cash, but you are really putting yourself and your personal assets at risk. Register with the IRS so that you can get an EIN number. After that, you can open a business bank account and start building business credit.
2. Open a Business Bank Account.
If you want to be in business, then you need to have a business bank account. You can’t open an account without an EIN number from the IRS, so follow through with step 1 first. By the way, your personal bank and business bank should not be the same bank. To keep things clean and separate, use a different bank to avoid the temptation to comingle funds.
3. Get a Business Credit Card.
Consider securing a business credit card to make business expenses and earn rewards. It’s the most effective way to keep your business expenses separate from your personal expenses. Be sure to get one with rewards that you can leverage in your business such a cash back, discounts, or points you can use for travel and hotel stays.
4. Establish Payment Processing.
40 percent of small business owners do not accept credits cards. Please don’t be one of these people. You need to accept all forms of currency and payment. Most of you will need to deal with digital payments and credit cards, which might include utilizing services such as Square, PayPal, or Quickbooks. There are plenty of options. You should also make sure your website can accept digital payments. The cheapest digital payment option is ACH wire transfer or VISA Direct, which allows customers to use Visa debit or credit cards to pay, and the money will go directly to your bank account.
5. Develop a Contract Template.
It’s best to look like a professional when dealing with clients, and that means you should set consistent pricing. Develop a rate card for your services and create a formal contract to be signed before any work begins. Contracts protect you and your clients. Your contract should outline the scope of work, set a timeline for work to be completed, establish mutual confidentiality, clarify deliverables from you and the client, and spell out who will own the work (in most cases your client will own the finished product). Rework and guarantees must be spelled out, and most importantly, contracts clarify how and when you’ll get paid. Work with a small business lawyer to develop your initial contract template.
Finding the Work
Now that you understand how to get started as a gigpreneur, now it’s time to find some work! Here are the most popular and reputable online platforms used today.
They post 3 million jobs annually, making it easy for you to find quality freelance work – anytime, anywhere.
Search over 1,702 job postings daily in any category. Submit a free quote and get hired fast!
They offer millions of gigs in the areas of content marketing, website building, writing and translation, video editing, graphic design, and branding.
You can join a pool of 1.5 million freelancers and help people grow their businesses while you advance your freelance career. Clients can hire per hour or by project.
Freelancer.com is one of the older gigpreneur websites, with over 30 million trusted users. Services include graphics, design, websites, IT, writing, and content.
Tools to Help Your Gig Work
Here’s a list of my 10 favorite apps for freelance and gig work.
The Evernote app helps you capture and prioritize ideas, projects, and to-do lists so that nothing falls through the cracks.
If you are using Gmail, Google Calendar is a no brainer. Google Calendar helps you spend less time managing your schedule with multiple views of your days, weeks or months, and the ability to do calendar invites, automatic calendar reminders, and more.
The Mixmax app works in conjunction with Gmail. It allows you to increase your productivity by 10 times with workflow automation. Services include email sequencing, email tracking, mail merge, and it allows you to track open rates. My favorite feature is that you can send an email with options for a meeting on your schedule. When your contact clicks one, it goes immediately on your Google calendar. It’s such a timesaver.
Online storage for your documents and files will be key as you run your business. If you collaborate with a team on projects, Dropbox allows anyone to access files from anywhere. Dropbox allows you to bring your best ideas to life—both alone or as part of a team.
Make sure you set up small business accounting software that allows you to send electronic invoices. Look for software that can help you track your time, manage receipts, expenses, and accept credit cards and ACH payments
This mobile time tracking app that will allow you to track time and work, and bill clients appropriately. With it, you can increase productivity and make sure you are getting paid for every minute.
7. Mile IQ
Mile IQ is the leading mileage tracking app for Android and iPhone. Mileage is a tax write off you might not be taking advantage of. If you are offering mobile services, you are racking up miles. This way, you can professionally track them to maximize the tax deduction.
Teamwork Projects is a cloud-based project management solution that provides businesses the functionalities to manage different operations of a project. Features include task lists, time tracking, file uploads, and messages. The solution also features document management, which allows users to share documents within the team through an online portal.
9. Zoho CRM
An online customer relationship management (CRM) system for managing your sales, marketing, and customer support in one platform.
Turn your car or plane rides into a school by using Audible to educate yourself. Audible sells digital audiobooks, radio and TV programs, and audio versions of magazines and newspapers.
Let me know if you have an app to add to this list.
Being a gigpreneur is a viable option as a business model, especially if you have the right tools and have a pipeline of work. Use these tips and tools, and get started today!