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What’s Hot and Cool? #9: The Gig Economy

Side gigging and independent contracting is the future

What’s happening? The independent workforce (self-employed full- or part-time) makes up about 31% of the private U.S. workforce or 41 million people, an increase from last year, according to The State of Independence Report. That includes more than 13 million Millennials and around 13 million Baby Boomers and Matures (ages 53 and up). Co-working spaces are following suit. A study by Statista expects co-working spaces to more than quadruple by next year from 7,800 to 37,000 spaces.

Why should you care?  As founders, you’re used to being your own boss, but consider what this shift in workforce may mean for your new employee pool and where you can expect to find them. Recruitment efforts have already turned to freelancers and temporary employees working remotely, rather than permanent staff options. Pros? Freelancers can save your company money and time and it’s easy to scale up or down. Cons? Potential training time and unplanned turnover, as well as time management (when your gigger gets busy with another gig).

Who’s leading?  Companies like The Hivery based in California, recognize the importance of co-working spaces for women entrepreneurs and freelancers. Founder and CEO Grace Kraaijvanger opened up the venue in 2014 and advanced to a larger space to accommodate its rapidly-growing member count (from 28 to 240 members over the past year, paying anywhere from $75 to $380). WeWork is one of the highest-valued start-ups in the world and they host online community groups and events for women founders. They also offer their members help with and group rates on business services.

What can you do? Research the pros and cons of hiring a gig-worker and how to respectfully employ one. Entrepreneur offers a few tips.