Thinker Ventures hosts a 1 Million Cups networking group every Wednesday. The movement was started by the Kaufman Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri, which aimed to build an entrepreneurial community by inviting small-business owners and startups in weekly for free coffee and presentations.
It’s grown to chapters in more than 130 cities, each meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesdays. The goal is to have 1 million entrepreneurs sharing coffee at the same time.
On Feb. 7, our 1 Million Cups Rockford chapter had Jazz Keyes in as a speaker. Keyes talked about her business incubator The Local in Rockford, Illinois, where small businesses can rent space and local artists can display and sell their work. It drew our largest crowd to date, which isn’t surprising because what Jazz is selling and what many people who come to 1 Million Cups are looking for are are more ways to grow their business in the Gig Economy.
There are no exact figures as to how large the Gig Economy has become. A 2016 McKinsey Global Institute Report found that 27 percent of working-age people in Europe and the United States worked at least partially independently. A 2016 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found that 37 percent worked side or freelance jobs.
Perhaps Intuit, owner of Turbo Tax, has the most reliable figure. It reviewed its tax returns and found that 34 percent of the workforce in 2017 were independent workers and, based on the trends it is seeing, expects that to grow to 43 percent by 2020.
Many people think Uber when they hear the term Gig Economy. It’s much larger than that. Handymen, tutors, writers and musicians have long been part of the Gig Economy. It’s expanded from there. According to Careeraddict.com, the 16 best Gig Economy jobs for 2017 include chef, tourist guide, renting space or equipment, becoming a virtual assistant and consulting in computers, information technology, human resources, sales, marketing, accounting or public relations.
Undoubtedly, many have turned to the Gig Economy because large corporations have cut costs by outsourcing jobs traditionally done in-house. Others, now that the Affordable Care Act has made purchasing individual insurance more affordable, have chosen to cut the big company cord in favor of lifestyle. Whatever the motivation, you are trading certainty for something that isn’t quite as certain. It takes total buy-in to survive in the Gig Economy. The pennyhoarder.com, a site everyone should have listed among their favorites, listed 11 crucial tips to thrive in the Gig Economy.