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Looking to Thrive or Invest in the Gig Economy? A Few…



Hoping to thrive in the gig economy? Not a participant but you like the value proposition? Perhaps you might consider investing in the gig economy. working from home: Tips on thriving or investing in the gig economy

4 min read

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Key Takeaways

  • As a gig economy worker, you need to prepare your own benefits package

  • Taxes can be a challenge for the self-employed

  • For investors, many gig economy platforms are publicly held companies

There’s a lot being said about the gig economy these days, and for good reason—it’s seemingly everywhere.

Here’s a did-you-know: Upwork’s seventh annual study of freelance work in America found that about 36% of America’s workforce performed some type of freelancing in the last 12 months. Freelancers contributed $1.2 trillion in annual earnings to the economy, according to the 2020 report, an increase of 22% over the 2019 report.

Everywhere, indeed.

With the gig economy expanding at a rapid rate and with more participants than ever, you might want to take advantage of the opportunities available—as a participant, an investor, or both. Here’s what you need to know about how to thrive and invest in the gig economy.

How to Thrive As a Gig Worker

With the gig economy available to provide access to new opportunities and flexible work schedules—as well as concerns about making ends meet in more traditional jobs—some workers are hoping to get ahead. The good news is that it’s possible to thrive as a gig worker, even during uncertain times, if you take a few steps to set yourself up for success.


Create a benefits package that works for you

Remember when you are your own boss, that means you’re also the sponsor of your benefits package. If you’re taking on gig work on top of a regular job, you might be able to use your 9-to-5 benefits—medical, 401(k) plan, and so on—to manage uncertainties and prepare for the future. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to make it work in the gig economy without a traditional job, you need your own benefits package.

Some ways to create that package include:

  • Use the Affordable Care Act exchange in your state to look for affordable health care plan choices.
  • Open one of the tax-advantaged retirement accounts available to self-employed workers.
  • Work ahead and set up a savings account so you have enough money set aside when you want to take a vacation.
  • Consider a business organization that allows you to claim various benefits as an employee of your company.

Consider consulting with an accountant or tax professional to understand the implications of these benefits choices and how you can use them to your advantage.

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Prepare for tax time

When you’re self-employed, you pay self-employed tax—essentially both sides of your payroll taxes—the employee half and the employer half. And often you receive 1099 income with nothing withheld up front. But the tax bill eventually comes, and often you’re required to make quarterly payments on your own. It’s a good idea to prepare for those tax bills by setting aside money ahead of time.

If you have a traditional job in addition to your gig work, consider increasing your paycheck withholding to cover the taxes on your self-employed income. For gig workers who don’t have a regular job, one rule is to set aside 30% of your gig income in a high-yield savings account as the money comes in. Then when it’s time to make payments, you have the money available.

Don’t forget about state taxes as well as federal taxes. Plan ahead so you’re less likely to end up with an unpleasant surprise.

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Be ready for a rainy day

Because uncertainty is part of the gig economy, consider setting aside money when you have a good month. Build up an emergency fund. Some experts suggest trying to save up at least nine months’ worth of expenses in a post-pandemic world. That way, if you have a lean month (or several lean months), you can draw on your savings to cover costs.

Depending on your risk tolerance and situation, you could consider holding your emergency fund in a high-yield savings account or a taxable investment account.

How to Invest in the Gig Economy

Perhaps you’re not ready to head off into freelance work or sign up to drive for Uber (UBER) or Lyft (LYFT). That doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from growing gig economy trends. There are a number of companies capitalizing on the gig economy and what’s next.

In addition to ride-sharing stalwarts UBER and LYFT, another way to invest in the gig economy is to look for companies that could benefit from the infrastructure of remote work. For example, Zoom Video (ZM) has been a strong performer as more people work remotely and take meetings for gig economy needs. Additionally, website builders like (WIX) can act as a portal for freelancers and others to create their homes on the web.

Fiverr (FVRR), an online marketplace for gigging, saw tremendous growth in recent months. Etsy (ETSY), which helps artists and craftspeople sell their products online, can be another way for investors to ride the gig economy. Shipt, the popular app that allows people to get paid to shop for others, is owned by Target (TGT), so you could invest in the gig economy using a major company.

Finally, many gig economy workers use mobile payments to transact business. Two top participants in that space are Square (SQ) and PayPal (PYPL), which also owns Venmo. And if you’re interested in initial public offerings (IPOs), keep an eye on 2021.

The gig economy has already changed the way many of us think about work. Moving forward, we’re likely to see even more changes. Perhaps it’s time to position yourself—and your portfolio—accordingly.

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Gig-economy riders in Spain must become staff within 90 days under new rule | WTVB | 1590 AM · 95.5 FM




Gig-economy riders in Spain must become staff within 90 days under new rule | WTVB | 1590 AM · 95.5 FM | The Voice of Branch County

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Bye 9-to-5, hi mental health struggles: the effect of the gig economy




The gig economy offers both freedom and uncertainty (Getty)

The way we work is changing and it’s not only because of the pandemic. There are a lot of options available to us these days. Too many, in fact. One such alternative is the gig economy

 Essentially, the gig economy means that workers are paid for ‘gigs’ which are short-term, temporary jobs, often referred to as freelance work, as opposed to permanent employment.

Gig economy workers could already be in full-time or part-time employment though, taking on gig work to top up their income and make ends meet. Or, they could be self-employed, filling their day-to-day lives with enough freelance hours to make a living. 

Long gone are the days of simply working nine-to-five.

For some, this fundamental shift in the way we work offers flexibility and freedom to carry out work job-to-job. For others, it brings insecurity, no promise of contractual work and lack of holiday and sick pay.

According to research by the University of Hertfordshire, between 2016 and 2019, the UK gig economy workforce doubled with one in 10 working adults using gig economy platforms in 2019.

But whether it’s moonlighting as a YouTuber or Amazon seller as a side hustle or working full-time juggling a variety of jobs like delivering food for Uber Eats or Deliveroo, how do we know the right time to turn off our ‘work mode’ and boot up our ‘life mode’?

And what is this precarious and ever-changing way of working doing to our mental health?

Research findings from a 2016 study commissioned by the charity, Help Musicians UK, looked into the potential links between the gig economy and mental health.

Looking at over 2,200 musicians working in the gig economy in the UK, 68.5% self-reported depression and 71% anxiety.

Some of the key issues which arose in the study pointed at worries about financial stability, job insecurity, and the requirement to have an online presence and network which exposed individuals to relentless opinion and criticism.

Whilst the phrase gig economy originated from the music industry, the rise of the internet and technological innovations has created a whole new world of opportunity for the way we work and seemingly endless opportunities to fill our home life with more and more work.

But is this tech-enabled gig economy causing burnout because we just don’t know when to stop? Or does it allow us to embrace freedom from traditional corporate roles?

Another study, conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, has been taking a look at the social, organizational, and policy implications of the shift towards the online gig economy.

Dr Alex Wood, who has been working on the study, says the gig economy can have both positive and negative consequences on our mental health.

‘We find that one of the things workers like most about this work is the sense of being their own boss as they don’t have to deal with a manager on a day-to-day basis.’ Alex tells

Dr. Alex Wood has been studying the effects of the gig economy (Alex Wood)

‘This autonomy from traditional management is a real positive for many workers but that comes with the stress caused by the algorithmic control of their work by platforms; knowing that if they don’t work hard they’ll get a bad rating and lose your ability to make a living.’

‘This algorithmic control comes with its own risks for mental health as workers work hard for long hours without taking many breaks which can cause burnout.’

Michael Daly, associate professor in Psychology/Behavioural Science at Maynooth University, says the research he and his team have carried out on underemployment and psychological distress has shown a notable increase ‘when a discrepancy emerges between the amount of hours they would like to work and the hours offered by their employer.’

‘Workers also want job and income security, benefits such as health insurance, and opportunities for promotion and career development that tend to be underrepresented in gig economy jobs.’

But what do the people who actually exist in this new way of working think about it?

Phillip Smith, a freelance editor, is fully immersed in the gig economy and says finding the right work-life balance is tough. 

‘There was a period at the start where I was building contacts where you would be repeatedly hitting refresh on your emails begging for replies, that was tough.’

As a freelance editor, Phill Smith is immersed in the gig economy (Phill Smith)

Phill says carving out time for exercise has massively counterbalanced the negativity overworking has caused his mental health.

‘I’ve had a few crazy weeks where I’ve landed too much work and realised I had to pull back. I found that I have to rota in downtime during the week. I have a home studio so I can and have worked every hour of the day so forcing myself to go for a run or do yoga is essential.’

Working full time in the gig economy is one thing, buy what about having a ‘side hustle’ alongside a full-time job?

Amy Harris works as a full-time retail manager but launched her own craft store on Etsy during the Covid pandemic.

‘Having been on furlough for so long it was something that definitely worried me if I would be able to keep it up once back,’ she tells

Amy says the opportunity to work on something she’s passionate about brought positivity to her life.

‘It really helped me with my mental health when I wasn’t working and gave me a sense of purpose everyday. I’ve always regretted not pursuing what I studied at university and creating this little business has almost lifted a bit of that guilt and given me a creative outlet.’

Amy Harris said the gig economy allowed her to pursue something she’s passionate about (Amy Harris)

So, what is the future like for the gig economy?

Dr Wood says this way of working has seen and will continue to see growth through the pandemic and beyond.

‘I think the gig economy will emerge from the pandemic even bigger than before with local gig work boosted by the growth of food and retail delivery and remote gig economy boosted by companies looking for more remote workers who can be engaged and controlled without needing to bring them on to the companies’ premises.’

‘Companies are also going to be hesitant to invest in permanent employees in these uncertain times.’

What’s clear is that as the gig economy asserts itself in a post-Covid world, the mental health of workers involved shouldn’t fall by the kerbside as a result.

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MLB mental health crisis: Inside relief pitching gig economy




Ryan Buchter, 34, has spent almost half his life pitching in professional baseball. In those 15 years, Buchter has been traded four times, released three times, changed organizations 10 times, pitched for teams in 22 cities and only once spent a full season in the majors without being demoted or released. What his itinerant playing record does not show is its cost: a drinking problem, depression and mental health issues that left him so wounded he is speaking out because he knows his story is too prevalent among ballplayers.

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