The Healthiest Mindset for Thriving in The “Gig” Economy

Another title for this post could have been, a fearless manifesto for 5-star reviews & making money on UpWork, Angel.co Thumbtack, LinkedIn Profinder, Clarity.fm and Table.co.

Okay, here we have my contribution to a healthy set of rules to follow with a go get ’em 😎 strategy for freelancers navigating the new gig economy.  Maybe you were laid off, looking for a new job, searching fo a way to make extra coin or you are having a hard time figuring out how to do so. These rules encompass what I have learned so far from helping others build their dreams.

It’s not all about making money. How boring. Set out to meet and work with interesting people. Network like hell, join Meetups, free workshops, seminars and lectures on Eventbrite. Strike up conversations. Don’t be shy, ask interesting questions. Take the focus off you. That will make you less self-conscious.

In the beginning, say yes to everything, thank you, Derek Sivers,  so you can say hell yeah to what you really want later.  Do it. The small, the tedious, the boring, the ridiculous, the uncool. Unless it’s really illegal or something that could hurt someone, say yes to every project you get.

Now work for five-star reviews. Client not 100% happy with the job you did? Need to put in another weekend to respond to their requests and questions and remake that thing you created for them? Do it. Do anything you can to score a five-star review on your profile from a satisfied human being. Be of service and do it well.

Give away your best ideas for free. All of them. Seriously. All of that research you did to help you become better at what you do. What you learned from the courses you paid for and all the takeaway lessons from the hours spent fine-tuning your skills. Write it, film it, document it and give it away.  Gracias James Altucher.

Slow down. Don’t rush. Create quality. Approach everything, every project, whether it is personal or professional with a grateful mindset. From doing your laundry in between UserTesting gigs to getting out for a mind-clearing bike ride between blog posts. How you do anything is how you do everything. Focus. Train. Practice. (Tim Ferriss)  

Don’t be rigid. Be flexible. Flexible about everything. How much you get paid, how long a project will take, who you choose to work with, your relationships and what you learn. Think like Bruce Lee. Be water, my friend. Be water.

adaptable

Do not try to be a thought leader, expert, guru or God forbid, an influencer. Aim to be helpful and valuable instead. That’s it. Oh, and be yourself. Comb your hair first. Sometimes I forget to do that. 

value

All advice starts with “Be true to yourself”. Do what you’re passionate about. That’s hard to figure out. How about starting with being frank and honest. But do it in a kind way. Don’t be snarky and condescending, but be real. That is how you begin to remain true to yourself.

Take some time each day to feel your feelings. Don’t just work like a beast. For God sake, be vulnerable.   Don’t hold that shit in.  Being vulnerable will help you attract better clients and build stronger relationships with people. People like honest people. So, learn who you are and what you stand for. Self-awareness makes for an improved portfolio and body of work. I think Gary Vee agrees

When you land that project, take a moment to ask yourself – How can I do this in a better way? Reexamine your approach to projects. Learn how to be more productive, more efficient and more creative.  

Expose yourself to the best things that humans have done and then bring those ideas into your realm.   Steal ideas from the best. Blatantly rip them off, don’t forget to put your spin on it too.

quote-i-steal-from-every-single-movie-ever-made-i-love-it-if-my-work-has-anything-it-s-that-quentin-tarantino-98-75-62

Choose yourself, start hustling today, because honestly no one except your mom and dad or family you actually get along with really care.  The idea of security and safety in a job in 2017 and beyond is a false narrative. 

There are just a handful of old skills you can bring to the new economy. So everything that got you through your last job, well yeah, no. You need to build an arsenal of talents. Carry over the timeless and true but plan on learning something new every single day.

Don’t be afraid to ask for the money. If you are nervous and don’t feel quite confident about your value, ask for a little at first. Don’t worry, you will get tired of making peanuts for a living and competing with half the world that lives on $2.00 or less a day. Work, learn, build, upgrade. Repeat. Then ask for more. 

Sign up for all the new bank-disrupting ways to get paid. Stripe, Square, Shopify, PayPal, Venmo, ACH, Wire transfer. Hell, take cash when you can.

You are only as good as your last gig. Seriously. A review or case study older than a month is old news. Keep on working, building, creating, repeating. Share projects you are proud of on your website and social media. (Omit names and specifics when you have signed an NDA)

Hello there, I am Madeline Johnson,  a marketing and media strategist based in NYC, specializing in health and wellness. I love working with people who are creating products and services to help us look and feel our best. I also strive to be 1% better each day.  That’s it, I take baby steps because it’s hard and I suck at a lot of things, but I do it anyway. It seems sinful not to. My quest to make sense of it all Undisputed Origin.

Oh and I have a course for you. It’s only two hours long and it will help you understand how to be a better interview guest, collaborator, and freelancer, while scoring media and influencer coverage for your new company. It’s called The PR Playbook. If you are just starting out and on a budget, hit me up @marketcouncil on Twitter or @madelinemariejohnson on Instagram for a free promo code. I know what it’s like in the beginning.