In 2019, there were over 57 million gig workers in the United States, a rapid increase from a decade ago. In 2020, the growth trend was forecast to keep going. More and more Americans were looking forward to being part of the gig economy – and everything was looking up.
Then the coronavirus happened.
With over 9,000 infections in the country – and quickly spreading – the virus is threatening to bring the gig economy to a standstill.
If you’re a gig worker, you’re probably already feeling the pain. Gig jobs are disappearing fast.
Now, how do you survive this virus? Besides ensuring it doesn’t get to your body, how do you ensure it doesn’t affect your gigs?
Keep reading for deeper insight.
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How Is the Coronavirus Disrupting the Gig Economy?
For starters, the coronavirus’ effects aren’t being felt just by gig economy workers. Every sector of the global economy is crumbling to the floor. The airline and hospitality sectors, in particular, are staring at billions of dollars in losses.
As a gig worker, you rely on online or offline gigs. You get paid as soon as you’ve completed the gigs.
Unfortunately, most of the companies offering these gigs are closing down indefinitely or suspending their day to day operations. And even if they aren’t, measures being taken by government authorities, such as banning public gatherings, can affect their ability to do business.
Let’s take the example of an Uber driver. The company is still offering ride-hailing services, but because people are staying home all day – either by choice or because quarantine orders are in place – drivers aren’t getting any ride requests. As a result, they aren’t making any money.
What if your gigs are online-based?
Ideally, your gig life shouldn’t be affected. After all, you’re used to working from home or anywhere with an internet connection, right?
Well, the companies offering online gigs are also being hit hard by the economic effects of the virus. These companies are cutting back on spending and budgets are being allocated to essential items, such as paying salaries for full-time employees.
How You Can Get Through the Coronavirus Crisis
It’s clear that your access to gigs isn’t going to be as it was before the crisis. Going forward, at least for a couple of months from now, gig jobs will be few and far between. Your earnings will certainly reduce drastically. How do you survive?
Some Gigs Are Firing Up
We’ve already said that the gig economy is crumbling, but that’s the broader view.
When you slice this economy to bits, you’ll find that there are certain niches that are doing well within the gig economy. A good example is online food delivery services.
It’s easy to see how the coronavirus crisis has fired up online food delivery services. Because millions of people now can’t go to restaurants and cafes, they are ordering their groceries and meals online.
Instacart, a same-day grocery delivery and pick-up service, said that its sales have been on the surge in the past few days. On its part, Amazon has said it will hire about 100,000 delivery workers during this period.
So, if you’re a true disciple of the gig economy and you’re determined to keep making money through this period, there are gigs you can take. If your go-to gig is driving for Uber or Lyft, for instance, you can sign up with the companies offering pick-up and delivery services.
Although it’s not the best of times to be out in the open when a very infectious virus is on the loose, there are effective ways to keep yourself safe, such as disinfecting your vehicle and using hand sanitizers, while making money.
Make Hay While the Sun (Still) Shines
The gig economy is crushing, no doubt, but the worst hasn’t come – yet.
If you do online gigs, such as writing, editing, graphic design, programming, or coding, there are still plenty of jobs up for grabs. On freelance platforms such as Fiverr, you can still find gigs here and there.
This is the time to ramp up your productivity. If you have been doing two gigs per day, do double that. Nobody knows how bad the crisis will get, so make money while there still money to be made.
This isn’t the time to procrastinate, which is a common habit among gig workers. If you’ve already met your goals for the day, don’t jump on the sofa and start binge-watching your favorite apocalypse show. Do more work. Make more money.
Conserve Your Funds
Americans aren’t a saving lot. 41 percent of Americans wouldn’t be able to settle a $1,000 emergency.
Instead, Americans love spending their money. We earn as we spend.
As a gig worker, you cannot live without a safety net, yet this is how most gig workers are living. Unlike workers in formal employment who might have easier access to personal loans at lower rates, gig workers have no such luxury.
This is why conserving your funds is a critical step to surviving the coronavirus crisis. Now isn’t the time to splurge on those lattes and fast meals. Spend your money on things that are essential to your survival.
If things get worse and you have no adequate funds left, there’s no telling what will happen to you. But with money in your account, you can finance your way out of sticky situations until the gig economy is up and running again.
The Coronavirus Is a Big Threat to Gig Jobs
What started as a small outbreak in Wuhan, China, is now a global pandemic. The virus is not only claiming lives but also crashing the economy.
The gig economy hasn’t been spared. Businesses are closing down and gig jobs are disappearing. As a gig worker, your livelihood is under threat, unless you learn how to survive. Thankfully, we’ve fleshed out some tips you can use to survive the coronavirus crisis.
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