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Published July 25, 2019
A weekly look at issues facing Wyoming business owners and entrepreneurs from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Cindy Unger, business adviser, Wyoming SBDC Network
In a gig economy, companies hire independent contractors and freelancers -- as opposed to full-time employees -- to complete temporary, flexible jobs. The term “gig economy” became popular during the 2008-09 financial crisis, when many who suddenly faced unemployment or underemployment picked up temporary jobs in order to cobble together an income.
As a result, current concepts of employment have changed. According to a 2018 survey of 6,000 U.S. workers done by Upwork, there are 56.7 million freelancers in the United States, representing one in three U.S. workers, and numbers are increasing.
There are both positive and negative aspects to the gig economy for both workers and employers. For example, freelancers tend to prioritize lifestyle over earnings. For some gig workers, however, the volume and time deadlines for various gigs can easily disrupt their work/life balance. Flexibility may mean that workers have to be available any time a gig comes up and must always be hunting for the next job.
On the corporate side, employers can save money and take advantage of specialized expertise by hiring part-time or temporary employees to handle periods of high volume or for specific projects, but the use of many short-term personnel may erode long-term relationships among workers, clients and vendors.
An advantage for companies hiring gig workers is that risk may be transferred from the organization to the individual. The other side of that coin is that the company only has contracted control over the ultimate product or service.
If you are a gig economy entrepreneur or are a business that uses various temporary services, do not miss the upcoming Wyoming SBDC Network webinar, titled “Prospering in the Gig Economy.” The program, scheduled July 31, features Kim Merritt, who will speak in-depth about online websites that can match entrepreneurs with gig jobs and business projects with the talent to complete them.
To register for the event, visit the training section of the Wyoming SBDC Network website at www.wyomingsbdc.org. You also can contact your local adviser on the website to receive no-cost, confidential advice and technical assistance on starting your own business or hiring employees.
The Wyoming SBDC Network offers business expertise to help Wyoming residents think about, launch, grow, reinvent or exit their businesses. The Wyoming SBDC Network is hosted by UW with state funds from the Wyoming Business Council and funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email email@example.com, or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.