The gig economy has never been as popular as it is today. Low cost barriers to entry and worldwide marketplaces to find clients and providers have made this one of the biggest growing economies in the world.
What though is the ‘gig economy’?
A ‘gig’, aside from being a concert in your local pub, is also a the term used for providing a small service in return for payment. Quite simple really.
For example you may want a logo made for your website. You could find a graphic designer who may charge around £500-£thousands for a logo but for a small business or hobby site this is usually type of budget is usually out of reach.
You could try designing a logo yourself but if your design skills venture little past stick men your DIY logo may do more harm than good.
Now paying a qualified graphic designer with overheads may be out of reach, there are freelance graphic designers or up and coming designers who don’t have overheads and happy to use their skills to make a second income. They can charge a fraction of the price but still earn a decent amount per hour. Using their skills they could create a logo in 1-2 hours and only charge £75.
This works out 85% cheaper for the buyer and a decent £37.50 per hour or more for the ‘gig’ provider.
Welcome to the gig economy!
Logo design is just one example of the services offered by gig providers but there are many. They range from web design, to proof reading, voice over work, data entry, graphic design, ghost writers, virtual assistants and lots more.
In this feature I’m going to discuss a little more about becoming a virtual assistant.
What is a Virtual Assistant?
A virtual assistant can best be described as a personal assistant but where the work carried out is done remotely. This means you could be working from the comfort of your own home, thousands of miles away from your client and in different time zones. It may sound challenging, but it works surprisingly well.
As a virtual assistant you may be asked to carry out research online, or perhaps provide dictation services by capturing audio recordings. It could be data entry or following up with your clients customers by email.
A virtual assistant would be much cheaper for a small businesses or organisation than employing a full time assistant. This way work and hours can be done ad-hoc for the client, and for you as the gig provider you can work with multiple clients, can pick and chose your hours and work freelance.
Can a Virtual Assistant really cover the tasks needed working from anywhere?
Absolutely. Communication across the world is so easy. Files can be shared in the blink of an eye, research carried out online. You could be working through the day in the UK which is overnight in Australia (where your client may be). For the client their work can be sent in the evening and wake up in the morning with it finished. It’s a win-win. The benefits are very high.
How much could I earn as a virtual assistant?
Earnings vary but it is possible as a god reliable virtual assistant, with great communication skills, to earn up to £20-£25 per hour.
Have a look through gig marketplaces – where you find some examples below – and look at the services provided, the location of the virtual assistant and the hourly rate gig providers are offering.
This will give you a very good idea how the process works, what services you could offer and feature on your gig profile.
Where can I advertise my virtual assistant services?
Although there are many (many) marketplace websites to offer your services, the main two to take a look in to are below:
Fiverr.com – Unusual in name but powerful in popularity. Fiverr started out many years ago as a gig providing service where all gigs were priced at just $5. Thousands of small businesses flocked to get work done on the cheap, usually from providers in countries where the cost of living is much cheaper and $5 would go much further than it can in other countries. Fiverr make their money by commission. They take a share of your earnings. Fiverr though had created a very popular marketplace and saw an opportunity to earn more money and attract more providers. Gigs can be now be priced much higher that $5 which gives gig providers the opportunity of earning more money, and of course the higher the rates the more commission Fiverr makes.
Upwork.com – Upwork previously started out as elance (which was a play on words of ‘electronic freelance’). It grew to phenomenal success and merged with Upwork, the name though in my personal view should have stayed as elance. Aside from the name change the major different between Fiverr and Upwork was mainly the standard of skills from the providers Upwork makes a point of showing qualifications and skills of the gig providers to establish their credibility. Upwork charges to clients are usually higher than Fiverr, but it’s considered easier to start on Fiverr for new in to the gig economy.