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From Side Gigs to Full-time Freelance: The Future of Flexible Work in North America's Workforce

Updated: Apr 21


Woman working from home freelance jobs

Ever heard friends chat about their latest side hustle or read an article on someone turning a gig into their main gig? It seems like more and more folks are stepping into this flexible world of work, trading the traditional 9-to-5 for something a tad different. So, what's this "gig economy" everyone's talking about, and why is it gaining so much traction?


Take a moment, settle in with your favourite drink, and let’s explore this evolving landscape of on-demand work. Whether you're just curious or considering a foray into the gig economy, keep reading. There's a lot to unpack, and you might just find the insights you've been seeking.


At its core, the gig economy is a sector of the workforce where short-term contracts or freelance work reign supreme, as opposed to long-term jobs. Picture this: instead of a traditional 9-to-5 job, individuals take on "gigs" or tasks based on demand. According to a 2023 forecast, the global gig economy is poised to reach a whopping $455.2 billion by the end of the year, showcasing a robust growth trajectory with an annual growth rate of 17%​​.

Global gig economy to reach $455.2B by end of 2023

The narrative gets even more captivating when you realize that nearly a third of US workers now consider gig jobs as their primary source of income​​. And it doesn't just stop at occasional tasks or weekend hustles. For many, what starts as a side hustle – like graphic design gigs, dog walking, or writing – can blossom into full-time freelancing, replacing or even outearning their previous incomes. As of January 2023, the US alone hosts 9.94 million self-employed individuals, with almost half of gig workers engaged in full-time gigs​. And the landscape is only expanding, with projections indicating that by 2023, gig workers will constitute a significant 43% of the workforce​​. Another interesting little tidbit? It's estimated that by this year, over half of the American workforce will have dabbled in the gig economy in some capacity​​.


Diving into the realm of gig work comes with its share of advantages and drawbacks. Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons accompanied by some telling statistics:


PROS

Flexibility and Autonomy

Gig work offers a level of flexibility that's hard to match in traditional employment settings. You get to choose when, where, and how you work. This flexibility is a major draw for 82% of gig workers, who opt for this model chiefly for the liberty it grants​.

Diverse Opportunities

Greater Independence

CONS

Income Inconsistency

One major downside to gig work is the income inconsistency. Unlike a regular paycheck, gig work earnings can fluctuate significantly from one month to the next, making financial planning a bit of a challenge.

Lack of Job Security

Absence of Traditional Benefits

This spectrum of pros and cons paints a vivid picture of the gig economy's landscape. While it offers a level of freedom and a plethora of opportunities, it also comes with financial uncertainties and a lack of conventional job perks. The allure of gig work largely depends on personal circumstances and career priorities, indicating why it's an appealing choice for some, yet a risky venture for others.


But… if you think gig or freelance work might be the path for you, let’s take a look at how you can set yourself up for success with a little example:

Illustration of freelancing man and financial planning

Meet Alex, a spirited graphic designer thriving in the gig economy. His journey unveils a roadmap for financial serenity amidst the unpredictable income streams synonymous with gig work. Let's delve into how Alex navigates these financial tides:


Crafting a Gig Friendly Budget

Income Assessment

Alex's earnings oscillate between $1,500 and $5,000 a month, averaging around $3,000.

Essential Expenses

Flexible Budgeting

Investing in Professional Growth

Harnessing Financial Tools

Tax Planning

Quarterly Financial Review


So, as you venture into the gig world, remember, with a solid financial plan, the sky's the limit!


The gig economy is stretching its wings far and wide, especially making a mark in developing areas where it now represents up to 12% of the labor market, creating fresh opportunities for women and youth to jump into the workforce​1​​2​. Over in the United States, there's buzz about "giggers" potentially outpacing traditional workers by 2027​3​. Fast forward to 2023, and a staggering 1.57 billion people are now part of the gig economy, contributing to a projected market size of $500 billion. This shift from freelancing to full-time gig work is not just a local trend but a global shift, changing the way folks across different countries approach and engage in work​.


“It’s not a phase, mom.”




The surge of the gig economy is more than a fleeting trend; it's a significant step towards evolving the global work landscape. This move towards flexible, on-demand work isn't just a reaction to the current economic scene; it's a proactive leap towards a more inclusive and adaptable work setup. Platforms like Muve-It are leading this change, showcasing the freedom, flexibility, and opportunities that come with gig work - and how to make the most out of the resources you already have access to!


If you’re interested in dipping your toes into the side-gig world, check out Muve-It - you’ve got nothing to lose, and everything to gain!


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