I am sure you have heard something about the “gig economy” in the news. But just in case you haven’t, there is a definite shift in our economy where more people are working for themselves. There was a time in American history when just about everyone worked for themselves. People worked on farms, as blacksmiths, dressmakers, ran a general store, and more. Working for yourself was the rule and not the exception. The industrial revolution changed all of that and working for companies became the norm. Now in the information age we are seeing a return to working for yourself.
Freelancer, independent contractor, solopreneur, free agent, are a few of the terms used to describe this worker and their life style. Working for yourself can offer many rewards, but one thing all businesses, from a Fortune 500 corporation with thousands of employees to a one person solopreneur, have to deal with is marketing. In order to be successful, you must market your products or services.
For the Fortune 500 corporation there is a marketing department with a staff ready to carry out the marketing campaigns for the business, not to mention a large budget. But for the solopreneur who is a part of the gig economy, marketing can be more of a challenge. I have identified three stages of marketing for today’s gig worker.
The DIY (Do-It-Yourself) – The first stage is what I call the do-it-yourself stage. When you first start working for yourself typically you have more time than money, so doing your own marketing makes sense. At this point your strategy should be to make use of tools that are free or inexpensive to market your business. This includes posting to social media to gain followers and get people familiar with your business. Writing blog posts gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in your industry by sharing your knowledge. Promoting your blog post can drive traffic to your website. Wix, SquareSpace, and WordPress are web design platforms that are user friendly enough so you can create a website for your business.
The DWM (Do-It-With-Me) – At this stage hopefully you have achieved some success, found a few clients with ongoing accounts. Your business is making some money and you are devoting more time to serving your clients. At this point you have less time to work on your own marketing. You still need to market however to keep business coming in. Now you may need some help or additional tools to help with marketing. Consider signing up for an email marketing account like Constant Contact to communicate with your leads and current clients. You can get a self-managed account or hire someone to do it for you. You can use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to help manage your social media or you may want to outsource that task. Stock Layouts has templates that you can buy and customize to create some of your own marketing materials. This stage is where you are busier with client work, so you need some help or resources, at least part time, to continue your marketing efforts without taking up too much time.
The DFY (Done-For-You) – At this stage your business has grown to the point where you may no longer be a soloprenur, but have hired employees to handle a lot of the work coming in. This is a great place to be, but now you basically have no time to do your own marketing. If your business has not grown to the point where you can afford to have your own in house marketing department, you should seriously consider outsourcing your marketing. You can hire someone or a small business to handle your email marketing, social media, maintain and update your website, and create any marketing materials you may need. This will allow you more time to focus on your business.
Being a part of the gig economy can be a great way to work and live, but you need sound marketing strategies in place to make it work. Just know there are plenty of resources to help you along the way and when your business grows, you may be in a position to hire other gig workers who have a marketing business.
How are you marketing your business in the gig economy?
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- Posted by sjwills
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