A recent report, this would be from October 2016 by McKinsey and company found that there is up to a 162 million people in EU and in the USA that are working as freelancers in some capacity an independent worker. We will get into what that means, which in America, one in three working Americans are freelancers that is 54 million people or 33 percent of the working US population, which is huge. And In Canada, we are on a ten percent sizing reduction from the United States, but we’ve got 2.7 million self-employed gains or those at least of you who declared themselves as self-employed on their taxes.
00:34 Julian: Today we thought it’s appropriate that we talked about the gig economy. The basis of our entire podcast was the gig economy, and then we realized we never really got into it.
00:46 Nanci: We never really put meat on that bone that there is a gig economy.
00:50 Julian: So we are trying to put a little meat on the bone.
00:53 Nanci: This episode is a little higher level instead of how to start a website.
01:01 Julian: That means we went and we looked at a lot of different links online, and we are going to regurgitate with some extra padding our version of what we found in terms of research.
01:13 Nanci: Sounds great! Do you want to kick off with maybe two of three stats that jump out of you in our research?
01:19 Julian: You are asking about what’s the size of the gig economy, and we are talking about, Let’s say what we’ve been able to find is information on America mostly and Europe and then a little bit about Canada. There is not a whole bunch of it in Canada or if there is we have not found it so anybody who has any information, please get in touch with us and send it to us. A recent report, this would be from October 2016 by McKinsey and company found that there is up to a 162 million people in EU and in the USA that are working as freelancers in some capacity an independent worker. We will get into what that means, which in America is one in three working Americans are freelancers that is 54 million people or 33 percent of the working US population, which is huge.
02:11 Nanci: So, we can agree it’s a thing?
02:12 Julian: It’s a thing. In Canada, we are on a ten percent sizing reduction from the United States, but we’ve got 2.7 million self-employed gains or those at least of you who declared themselves as self-employed on their taxes. In both these numbers, there is a huge part of this maybe not accounted for, or there might be a black market size of the gig economy because that is a thing too. People work for cash they don’t declare their income, we don’t recommend that, but that’s a part of why escapes accounting. So there you go, we got a sizable portion of the working population in Canada, the US and the EU who are living and making a living as freelancers.
02:53 Nanci: And as we have talked about in previous episodes specifically our intro episode. We think there are two driving forces behind that – one is technology as a driver technology has made it easier than ever to enter the gig economy specifically for, I won’t say specifically, but for millennials, they grew up with technology. I mean you and I had to as not millennials, had to wrap our heads around sort of the youth of technology and smartphones. We didn’t grow up with smartphones, but millennials did, and so it’s like almost like a natural order for them is to use technology to do everything, buy things, invest their money. 87% of millennials say, their smartphones never live there side night or day. So when I think you can run an entire freelance business from your smartphone but it’s a pretty good start. It’s indicative of being able to enter and start your own business. The second one I think it happened, it was already happening, but the financial crisis of 2008-2010 allowed sort of an excuse, some excuse and some for employers to slash their workforce and blame it on the recession. In which case a lot of people were forced out at that time and had to if they couldn’t get employment. It was necessary for them to look at the gig economy become a freelancer or an entrepreneur. Also instead of replacing those employees companies are hiring freelancers because it’s cheaper from them, they don’t have to pay benefits, they don’t have to commit to long-term contracts, it is sort of this ‘just in time’ employment.
04:46 Julian: ‘Just in time’ humans are now part of the ‘Just in time’ economy. I think there is also the automation factor that does a lot more technology as you mentioned but jobs have just been eliminated that used to exist that requires somebody that no longer need to be done by one person. I guess Diane Mulcahy she’s the one who wrote that book also about the gig economy talks about job disaggregation so let’s say the job of a lawyer included a lot of the things that a paralegal does, now at one point got disaggregated from the rule of the lawyers. So being a lawyer meant that maybe a higher up the value chain at work. A lot of the clerical task were combined into another job for paralegals and now that has been further disaggregated so you now have lots of pieces of work that could farmed out. As you said outsourced so that in a way the gig economy pushes people up the ladder to super specialized highly skilled professionals or takes a lot of the work from lower median wage type jobs. Then allows those kinds of people to look for maybe not a great job but a better job than what they are doing right now.
05:51 Nanci: Yes, also if we looked at social media, what I’m talking about is crowd sourcing or LinkedIn or networking in general, online networking has never been easier to find a job. You don’t go to the classifieds anymore like there are people listening to this podcast that probably didn’t even know what I’m talking about. I used to open the classifieds to look for a job, but now it’s much easier, ill just use LinkedIn as an example to post a job, fulfill a job, find a job short time contracts, task.
06:21 Julian: Yes, I think you’re talking about where is the word come from, but let’s back up a bit because I think we should still go back into what is the gig economy. So the gig economy goes by some different names. First of all, why is it called the gig economy because traditionally a gig is something that would have been defined as autonomous work, you would be paid by task or assignment. You know as a musician you would go in and do a gig for a night, get paid for the show, take your money be a short term contract, so these are the defining features of the kind of work that has been done now, but it’s no longer restricted by any means to the artistic classes. Again this is from the McKinsey report, three main defining features of gig work would be a high degree of autonomy, payment by task, assignment or sales and you have a short-term relationship between the person doing the work and a client. As I would call it my business, you have a series of one night stands that would have a monogamous employer relationship, and you have multiple partners, so you become a very financially promiscuous. Just going back to what’s the gig economy, it’s called the sharing economy, the on-demand economy, the connected economy.
07:36 Nanci: We are also calling it giganomics, which is the title of Julian’s upcoming new book there’s going to be a link to it on the slashpodcast.com website but also at gigonomicsbook.com and I have read it, its fantastic. So if you like this podcast you’re going to love giganomics upcoming by Julian Haber.
07:56 Julian: Thank you, Nanci, entitled by Nanci Murdock. So who’s in the gig economy? Who are the kind of people doing it and we have talked about this adnusium but some catch-all phrases. Somebody who does gigs, a gig-er, an independent worker. A lot of the statistics you’ll find about the gig economy are tracking independent workers, self-employed people, freelancers, people who lease out assets, anybody who’s doing an Airbnb, Couchsurfing that kind of stuff. People who are selling their services directly to other people, if you got a website people call you and hire you directly, or I guess about fifteen percent is through on-demand platforms like Uber or Lift or Taskrabbit.
08:38 Nanci: So let’s just say, where is the gig economy? Well, it’s working for me. I am someone that spend a lot of time of the corporate environment, and it did not work for me. A couple of times I made the jump, I finally made the jump two years ago, and I have never looked back. I have an online business. I have a freelance business in web development, ninety percent of my clients comes from referral, all good no complaints. I can’t ever imagine going back into a corporate environment. I know it works for you Julian, and so one of the things I wanted to talked about which was interesting to me, and the reading was where is it not working and one of the interesting stats that I’ve read was the highest expense, and I can vouch for this that freelancers report is marketing, right? Because what do you need when you are a freelancer, you need clients. How you get clients? Marketing. If you don’t get them from referrals, you will get them from marketing. So, you have to be good at marketing to be a successful freelancer. Maybe that’s simplistic, but I think it’s a big part of the equation.
09:42 Julian: I think the personality type they go with people who work on their own, invariably no matter what you are doing, there is an aspect of selling. You have to have some salesmanship of your abilities. That is the hardest part I think for people who are introverted or reluctant, who may have all the right skills and place but that part of being a freelancer scares the hell out of them. Like I have to go out and call people, or I have to go and network and do all small talk stuff that I hate doing that makes me feel awkward.
10:10 Nanci: And that is my point. There still probably an entire segment of the population that has incredible skills whether it be in business or creative or whatever it is that there is still. I think they are probably in this no man’s land where they have been let go from the corporate for the reasons that we’ve spoken of, recession or otherwise, technologies even changing their job but they haven’t figured out the marketing platform that works for them, I mean we are not going to find the solution today.
10:41 Julian: But I think that’s a growth area and they may not be let go, they may be still be working at jobs they don’t like. They maybe reluctantly staying in a place because they need the health insurance if they are American or whatever but they are. Yes, I agree with you there is a portion of the working population now that is doing a job that they rather not be doing. But either they believe they lacked those capabilities but they haven’t figured out how to leverage other platforms, I think that’s really the growth of these on-demand platforms like UpWork or TaskRabbit, Uber, Lyft. I mean all this types of services are huge marketing platforms for freelancers who are getting it themselves. If you rely exclusively on those platforms, in my opinion, you’re not going to ever really be able to make a great living because I think you know there is a middle man, there is somebody between you and the paying client. They have to make their platform profitable, and that comes out of your wage ultimately, but they can be a good on-ramp for somebody who is just starting out. The great way to start a side hustle is to start leveraging these platforms. Ebay’s a platform, Amazon is a platform where you could publish eBooks. I mean there is a lot of different platforms you can use within your current job as a way of building yourself out a little bit, building up a portfolio of work, building up your confidence, developing clients, I wouldn’t ever want to restrict myself exclusively to platforms. Personally, I’ve got very little work on a platform.
12:10 Nanci: I have no time for platforms myself, but I know so many people that have started on Etsy and then as soon as they achieve some level of success they went to Shopify. Shopify is your online store, but it’s the same thing Etsy gets you eyeballs, people go to Etsy and the expectation of finding jewelry, crafts, printable that kind of things. Once you have the momentum in your own business, it’s a natural step to jump over to something like Shopify, a platform like Shopify its Canadian by the way and to cut out the middle man for that exact reason. So definitely, I think even online courses there’s that platform Udemy.
12:54 Julian: Udemy, Coursera.
12:55 Nanci: But anyone that sells courses will tell you they always put your course on sale, you give up a lot of pricing power and autonomy that you would have over your course but what do you get? You get eyeballs. Udemy will send you students, but any given point once you filled up your list or your reputation it just makes sense to go over to your classroom type platform like teachery or teachable.
13:23 Julian: Yes, but again I think we have to consider freelancing as a continuum. There are people at very early stages, there are people who have been doing it for many years and as you progress you develop your ways of getting work, finding clients, making money and also there is a sense of how much money do you want to make. I mean, you can be a hard hustler and really wanting to kill it, get out there and never wanting to work for any middleman because you don’t want to give up even fraction of a percent of your profit margin. Or you could be very happily putting together a few little side gigs that bring you marginal income and that’s enough for you. So there is no valued judgment based on using these platforms. I think, although I don’t like them I do think they serve a purpose and I think there is an important part of what’s made the gig economy possible. I treat them as a stepping-stone. I think that’s a good way to think about them, for some people that’s maybe all they ever do and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I really think that they are brokers and brokers they do add value, a middle man does add value to a sales person who can get you clients and takes a piece of the action on top of that is earning his or her keep because they are getting the clients. They can’t write that kind of service off, and in fact, if you are good at that I’d say that’s another way to augment your earning power as a freelancer. I wanted to talk also about, ‘who is it not working for you’ mention. I think there is also a ‘who is it working for’ and I think we tend to focus on people like ourselves, the artist, the graphic designers. That’s a huge part but there is a high-end professional cad or people, I don’t know if that’s a word.
15:04 Nanci: We’ll make it one, that’s what we do here at Slash.
15:06 Julian: There are a lot of people that you wouldn’t think are considered part of the gig economy that really are like CMO’s, professional CEO’s, CFO’s, project managers putting out major projects, marketing executives, accountants, doctors, lawyers the kind of people. You would think they would not need the gig economy but they are in fact benefiting and a big, burgeoning part of it. They are learning that a) they can make more money and it’s not just about money they have the autonomy, the freedom to pick their hours, to pick their projects, to pick their staff that I think particularly specialize professional people appreciate. If you a degree, a high-value skill set, why wouldn’t you work for yourself? Why would you be signing up for those, making somebody else money?
15:53 Nanci: It’s like a whole theme in our podcast, is it does come down to your personality? Some of the other statistics I was reading is 60-70 percent of a certain segment of the US population would love to be a freelancer because they like the idea of it, but they are not going to do it. They were ask why, it came down to two reasons, and first it was consistency. They are afraid of the lacked of consistency, lacked of structure and then of course that leads to they are afraid of a drop in income. I remember that line I think I might have used it before in the podcast but someone asked a commissioned sales person once how can you live and sleep and night not knowing what you are going to make next month and the commissioned salesman responded how can you sleep at night knowing? This concept of possibility and this entrepreneur like, I can get paid more and more if I work harder. And I strategically plan my sales line and my pipe, and you have this other sort of segment of the population that’s like I like structure, I like to know how much I’m going to make, I like to know for sure 100 percent or at least 99 that I’m going to be able to mortgage next month.
17:03 Julian: Yes and I think those are completely valid concerns. You need to be able to make your baseline cost, and we will discuss this if we haven’t already. There should be an episode on living within your means, being frugal, managing your cost down because when you freelance you don’t ever really have control over that flow of income. You can have great months that cover through your 4 months for yourself, you can have months when you are making nothing, and it can happen at any time. You could be knocking it out at the park for years, and suddenly you get a dry patch I mean that is just part of the course. So I think you do have to accept that managing your costs an important part of your emotions, managing your cost, managing your emotions, you get used to it. You do have to be excited by the possibilities that are out there. Is there ever been a more exciting time to be a freelancer than today, I just can’t imagine it. There’s really no limit to what you can do, at least technically, there used to be huge obstacles to getting a book published, to starting your radio show or writing for an audience none of this things have any real cost to them anymore, you can publish tomorrow anything you want, no matter how complicated your ideas are.
18:14 Nanci: This is crazy we are in Julian’s kitchen in NDG in Montreal. I ran into a friend on the street the other day, and she introduces to this person that she was with and she said this is Nanci, you know we listen to her and she said oh her radio show, and I thought we fooled them they think we are on the radio. We were saying you can write and publish on medium. You can podcast and publish on iTunes, so this comes back to this technology. Technology makes it so easy, sorry I shouldn’t say that it’s not so easy, but it makes it much easier than in the past to publish. Then if you have a certain skill set you can monetize your work and create an income from it, we are still working on that with slash, and we will keep you posted on our monetization strategy, we do have one.
19:00 Julian: So I think you mentioned two things, well you gave me an idea, and you mentioned one thing you have said about the possibilities, and I think that’s part of a mindset you need to have or inculcate as a freelancer. I think you also need to really value learning and expect to continuously learn and having an attitude and an aptitude. The habit of learning I think is an essential trait for any freelancer because technology changes, because your practice will change, because you clients will ask you for things that they will pay you money for that you want to deliver on will change. There is always an element of learning in whatever you are doing. That’s true for any job but there is a lot of places where I think you can safely say you can hide your lacked knowledge. You can go through the motions, you can develop a set of routines that work for you and kind of tune out a little but I think when you’re trying to make it on your own you got to continuously look for new ways to develop and grow your practice through learning.
19:55 Nanci: And I think what Julian is saying about continuously being open to learning goes hand in hand with being open to being wrong. If you are somebody that has grown up and you’re afraid to make a mistake or admit that you make a mistake. You are not probably going to be a huge success in the gig economy. Maybe I’m a little bit simplistic, but I knew there are times where you make mistakes, you spend money on a marketing campaign that doesn’t work, you’ve taken on the wrong clients, you have to pivot. You have to change your business and sometimes you have to say I was wrong and you know what that’s okay, you know what it’s a whole other episode of failure but I was wrong that’s cool how can I mitigate my loss and pivot and be successful.
20:40 Julian: Let’s look again going back to some of the research, how do you break down the gig economy not in terms of specific job types but categorized with people. Again referring to the McKinsey report they have four groups of people that they would call the gig economy participants, so there are the free agents these are people who have after actively looking for work and their making their primary income from it. We are free agent’s right, that’s primary what we are online, casual earners those are the people who are doing it for supplemental income, also by choice. That is an interesting category actually, because there’s a lot of surprisingly, the biggest chunk of the people in the gig economy are in the 55-54 age demographic, so these are maybe people have retired or lose a job at very sort of later stage in their career, and it’s hard to find work when you are over certain age, and some of them are doing it because they need to but a lot of this people are already satisfied the ego needs of a career, they have paid out their house, they don’t need the money but they do need other things that the gig economy provides. There are people who become Uber drivers because they like the socialization, they like the contact they have with different people and a chance to have random encounters. These casual earners I think are a very interesting segment. Then there is the reluctance this is the McKinsey’s word so that people who are making their primary income from independent work but would rather have a job, like what you were saying that people would rather have the sustainable, predictable income flow.
22:14 Nanci: Who maybe doing freelancing work right now and are still looking. They are going to job interviews, they are on LinkedIn, and it is there goal to reenter the corporate 9-5 economy.
22:24 Julian: And then there is the financial strap who just have no other choice so there’s just no work in their city or neighborhood and they are doing it because they have to so they are not enjoying it necessarily but have a sheer necessity so hopefully our podcast helps people moved up from there.
22:46 Nanci: I think when we are talking about that lower level of cash trap I mean that’s probably some Uber drivers although I will say I take Uber a lot and I took one the other day it was exactly what your saying the guy is a professional coder and he said oh I code for hours and hours at a time I only drive Uber to get out of the house and talk to people, so they are using it for other reasons besides monetary.
23:10 Julian: Let’s take another angle, what’s the impact of the gig economy because it’s not only on people doing it. I think there is an impact on people who run businesses right now. You might not consider yourself, you have a small marketing shop or an agency, or you run an entrepreneurs contracting businesses where you have maybe 5 to 10 or 12 employees part time. But those kind of people are also going to be impacted by the gig economy again because there’s a lot more people outsourcing their labor. So there’s going to be a lot more options in terms which you hire or how you hire when you build the small business. You know in 2017, I don’t think the go to is I’m going to go out and get an office and hire 5 people to run my office. I think its I’m going to start on the kitchen table and built up my team virtually hiring up other freelancers on a mandate specific basis. If you get very successful and I think if you’re lucky and if you’re good at it may be over time you can develop a core team of people that either you all work together under brand of one company or you maintain that virtual relationship for indefinitely. Also in large corporations they don’t go away just because there’s a gig economy doesn’t mean there’s not a real economy and there’s still big companies doing things that require full-time employees but even those HR departments when they are looking to hire they are getting back to their point of job disaggregation. There is a lot more creative ways that things can get done by corporation that doesn’t necessarily involve creating a full-time job, and that’s a plus I think from our point of view. It’s a negative if you look at it from the point of view of somebody who is trying to get a job, there is way more contracting. There is all extra work that’s been farmed out and there are fewer jobs available. The upside of that is for a corporation they can become leaner and more efficient at what they do, and they can really develop classes of freelancers and built up the expertise that they need to serve their specific mandate, corporate mandate in their industries that I think they also going to have a positive knock-on effect.
25:16 Nanci: one of the things I read too, which was interesting, was and in hindsight, this was somewhat obvious that more large corporations are losing good employees to the gig economy because of the autonomy and the freedom. All of the benefits that we looked at when we talked about the gig economy they are going to, if they want to retain or bring back some of those employees they are going to have to change their corporate cultures and their workflow and maybe their expectation of 40 hours a week, bumps and seat kind of mentality.
25:48 Julian: I think that is changing and I think the impact is already here, it’s being felt and its a drive on how the workforce and the economy’s future going to look like. I think there is going to be a, you know I don’t think people are going to be, I don’t think my daughter who’s 8 and going to grow up and be given a choice of either a 40-hour corporate job or doing the work she likes. I think there is going to be a lot more choices and corporations are going to become more flexible with their workforce demands, they are already are that way.
26:18 Nanci: Yes we see, it’s a big headline I think it was Bestbuy a few years ago made everybody, I can’t remember what it was, but it was a big deal there were no more holidays, no more time tracking that’s what it was. So head office and Bestbuy it was like an open season work from home, take vacations whenever you want, work whenever you want, don’t work, be in the office, don’t work in the office and productivity improved.
26:40 Julian: Yes, it’s why I think there are, there’s a headliner
26:44 Nanci: Well that’s what I’m saying, you see the headlines
26:47 Julian: We don’t have a vacation policy, our vacation policy takes it whenever you want and typically what happens is nobody ends up taking a vacation because then it becomes a self-impose censorship. I think that’s going to an extreme, but I think that’s my point.
27:00 Nanci: I agree and I think that if memory serves me right they scaled that back a little bit because of the reasons of what you are saying. That sort of like becomes the opposite of Lord of the flies where nobody is taking vacation and everybody is afraid that if I don’t have a set vacation or a set time then I’ll just work all the time and I’ll always have my phone which isn’t constructive either it’s the reverse of the gig economy and wanting autonomy.
27:24 Julian: I think that segues into pros and cons of the gig economy. Let’s just lay it out there so the pros are fairly self-evidently if you are listening to our podcast, having the flexibility to choose, where, when, how and for whom you work. There is a strong potential for you to earn more money depending on where you started from and depending on your level of skill and hustle and you have a real sense of freedom and autonomy that is hard to replicate and becomes the addictive substance once your freelancing careers has been going for a while. If I had to give up everything else to let go of autonomy at this stage in life freelance career would be anathema to me, I cannot imagine ever.
28:04 Nanci: I don’t know what that word means but the way that you said it same for me what he said.
28:08 Julian: I think there is a huge value in having autonomy, so those are my sense of what the pros are. The cons are some of the things people are naturally afraid of the works. More precarious it can be unsustainable, it’s unpredictable, it can be a lower pay of course if you are going to work for a platform, you’re going to lose a piece to your broker and some of this things are really rowder I think to Americans VS Canadians. One nice thing about being Canadian is we never have to worry about health care, but I’d say there is a huge amount of American workers who are maybe holding on to that job strictly for the benefits of health care. The lacked of benefits as a freelancer, you know there are no paid sick days, there are no paid vacations, there are no employer match retirements savings, none of these financial pluses, which amount to about 30 percent of your overall compensation as an employee those aren’t there. That is one of the reasons why you need to charge more as a freelancer, and I think this scenario we are going to see changes through. I think we are already seeing that a bit in the states with the freelance reunion. There is places where you can sign up for group insurance and things like that as a freelancer but definitely this lacked benefits is one of the most off-site cons, and it’s particularly strident in countries where they don’t have socialize health care like we do which we’re very fortunate for. And I think one of the, on the emotional level, dissocial isolation if you are used to working in a busy office or having colleagues, and then you go to working from home which is usually how things start if you’re going up on your own that part is hard. That transition, it was hard for me as an extrovert, and it did take a long time to get overcome that but working alone, working from home, being isolated that’s something, it’s going to happen you have to watch out for this. There are ways to mitigate that.
29:57 Nanci: Look at us, I will say I wasn’t trying to be fictitious because I think it’s a real concern and it showed up in the New Yorker article too, a lot of the people that they interviewed of TaskRabbit said gig-ing is lonely. You know if you have the keys to someone’s house and your job is to go in there and be their handyman 2 or 3 times a week, great it’s supplementing your income especially if your cash trapped but if they are not home and they are at work, it’s lonely work.
30:21 Julian: Yes that’s a big factor, and I think you have to recognize that ray from the start and build the plan to make it like find colleagues, go to cafe’s where there are lots of freelancers, and pretty much that’s any cafe nowadays. Make connections online and offline. You know like I’ve talked about a lot I go to boot camp three times a week. It’s great to keep in shape but it also like the socialization I got that I regularly see naked haha but you know what for me it’s an important part of my career plan is not just to spend my whole day working away writing blog post on my computer trying to get business. I also need to keep myself active, motivated, and happy. Your happiness is your core strength if you fall prey to depression or you’re susceptible to that, and you don’t want to be alone or what then you’ve to go to consider how you are going to offset because that is likely to happen if you become a freelancer.
31:17 Nanci: It’s hard not to go through it and you know I keep talking about technology. The technology exist that Julian and I could record this podcast and never see each other but we make a consorted effort to drive across town every week or every two weeks to be together and to plus I think it makes the podcast better but we chat before we chat after I know it enhances my day it makes me feel more productive after in the morning I feel like I’m really accomplishing something not just sitting in front of my computer maybe hiding or you know whatever.
31:50 Julian: Yes, hear hear. So that’s the pros and cons, checked. Winners and losers, no judgment here but I think there are people who are more likely to thrive in the gig economy, and there are people, certain kinds of work that’s less likely to be as in demand in the gig economy. If you want to look at who’s likely to thrive, I think anybody who’s got a very specialized skill or deep expertise if you are an expert in anything, you are better off working for yourself, If you have-
32:19 Nanci: Strong marketing skills, if your articulate, you’re presentable, you’re probably more likely to get the job that someone that’s maybe less articulate or more introverted and shy. I am afraid to say the losers in the gig economy are going to be the sort of the lower paid sort of maintenance worker the people that really-
32:40 Julian: Well you know what I don’t know if that’s true. I think they have a chance to get better work I think if you have a low skill kind of medium, minimum wage type job. You know you’re working shift work, I mean okay, so you’re already kind of used to being a gig-er. Now you have the option to do that but for other kinds of clients, other kinds of work. You may have an interest in crafting or carpentry or whatever that can lead to more autonomous work, so there’s a chance to move from a lower skill low income to a slightly higher skill better income job which of course you can continue.
33:15 Nanci: I agree, but my point was that the segment of the population that doesn’t have the marketing or the articulate skills to actually like get out of it. So they are used to going and getting the contract whether it’s through like government placement or something like that but I still I think it’s still an area of growth but right out of the gate I think they are going to lose those new contracts to their counterparts that do have more marketing.
33:44 Julian: It’s a threat that they have to watch out for, I mean take taxi drivers and Uber I mean obvious example but hobbyist can bring down the wages for an establish workforce that didn’t have any threats to it for a while. When a taxi driver had its taxi license there is a taxi medallion, there was in a way a cartel of people who own licenses who could charge fix rates, and there was no competition. With the entrance of Uber, Lyft, and all these other ride-sharing types services there’s been a down grade of that job. To be a taxi driver isn’t a great job, it was never a great job frankly, they are losing money to the hobbyist drivers, to all these casual learners who don’t necessarily need the income that is a fact. I get that in photography, I make a living as a photographer but there are lots of people who are a casual photographer, the majority of freelance photographers I would say are casual photographers. They can afford to take jobs for less money, no money because they want to do it for the experience, so in a way you could say that would be a down, that’s a negative influence on my career.
34:51 Nanci: I completely agree with the taxi analogy because maybe some pressure on the taxi drivers but the service that we are getting is so much better which is why. The taxi drivers could reinvent themselves, we say in slash don’t compete on price it’s a race to the bottom, well the taxi drivers were competing on nothing, they had the highest prices and the worse service, I mean they were right for disruption. I am super passionate about this because there was a period where I had to take a cab to work every day, so we worked out the numbers, and it made more sense for me to take a cab, it was about 9 dollars every day than to get a second car. It was the worst part of my day was this 4 minute and this awful experience, and I was always complaining about it when I got out to work I was complaining to my husband about it. I was whining about it a lot. I wish that we had had Uber, this was about five years ago. I love Uber. There was the second period where my husband had to do the same thing, and he had the same driver. The driver was motivated to realized that if he showed up and sat outside our house at 6:58 he’d be the first Uber and it was like Renaud had his driver for 6 months, it was fantastic, car was clean, offered the water, played the music that Renaud like and it was cheaper than the cab.
36:06 Julian: I agree with you, but I think that the upside is, the sound bite is that personality pays in the gig economy and I think you can get a great driver with personality who works for a regular taxi company, but they tend to be more easily accessible through this ride sharing type apps. You know I was in New York couple of weeks ago. Maybe the highlight of my time in New York was my yellow cab driver that took me to LaGuardia Airport and not because it was excellent service because we didn’t know which terminal we ended up driving around getting stuck in traffic. I mean it was the most expensive cab ride in my life but the guy was just yet so much personality. To me it was the quintessence of a New York cabbie and he was hacking on Uber saying he had his Google GPS going, he found out I like Bruce Springsteen he started singing me Bruce Springsteen songs obscure only fans would know this Bruce Springsteen, and he knew them verbatim. He was singing, and he was looking up again not safe driving practice, but on his phone, he was finding me YouTube videos of Bruce Springsteen holding it up so I could watch it and listen through his sound system, honestly one of the highlights of the trip, traditional cabbie. I’m happy I took him and not more expensive than you know with the price differentials now with taxi and everything I think Uber is getting more expensive and regular taxies are leveling off.
37:35 Nanci: But what happened before was I too generalized taxi’s had which we just said taxi’s had no competition, so there was no incentive and Uber is base on a rating system. If you fall below four stars, you get called into the office and if you can’t turn that around you’re not an Uber driver anymore. So they had an incredible incentive to say, how are you today? Would you like water? Hows the temperature? So, yes it’s probably wasn’t fair for me to say all taxi drivers or all Uber drivers for sure I’ve had great taxi drivers, and I’ve had the odd shitty Uber driver, but the undergoing theme is personality count. Like you said personality counts for a lot, and that’s my concern that maybe in the gig economy some of the I don’t know what to say, losers but not winners, the people that still have some work to do on their sort of personality.
38:25 Julian: I think there are tools out there; I think we should do an episode on finding tools. If you’re an introverted and you are in a difficult place in a world that’s built for extroverts, and it’s unfair always to have the benefit of being an extrovert and have this say the gig economy is only for you because it isn’t. In my experience, many of the smartest people are the introverted people that are, they are introverts, they think more, or they spend more time doing their work. I mean, having cracked the egg on that or solve the problem on that I think we should look into that, but it would be interesting how can the gig economy benefit introverts. Let’s do an episode on that because I think we should find out why I believe that there is something in there. Just going back, who else would it help? Who else is going to do well? All these people that didn’t have options before so if you were staying at home mom or dad or a retiree or just an elderly person or students or you had a disability, physical disability 20-30 years ago you had way fewer options to earn any money at all if you had any options at all. Nowadays, you can easily develop a blended kind of revenue stream through gig-ing, through platforms, through developing your skills and expertise so I think there’s a we’ll bringing more people into the workforce that didn’t really see that, didn’t really have those choices before so I think that’s a huge plus.
39:47 Nanci: I think a lot of women during their child-rearing years are making that choices well like our audio editor Meredith is a perfect example. She has two young children and she worked for years at the CBC, The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Then at some point the commute was just too much but she’s taking this time, she’s doing graphic design and audio editing, she’s doing the pagination in Julian’s book Gigonomicsbook.com, but I suspect in conversations that I’ve had with Meredith when the kids start school she will return to the workforce. She shared with me that there are aspects of the corporate environment that she misses.
40:30 Julian: The gig economy means you are going to go in and out.
40:33 Nanci: And I think that’s great, you have options. The gig economy for me is options, and I could go back to work if I wanted to. I can imagine too if I went back to work. I would have a conversation with my new employer about my schedule and where I work, it wouldn’t be so much about money. It would be about autonomy and expectations whereas ten years ago we didn’t have that conversation, it was what time do I start? You start at 8:30, you start at 5, this is your cubicle dial 9 for an outside line. Like that was the information that I received.
41:09 Julian: Let’s look at who loses, when I say that, I don’t mean you are a loser. I think these are things that if what we describe sounds like your job or what you do. Then start looking over your shoulder and start thinking about couple of exit strategies because I think you’re at risk. You’re presumed security’s at risk so if you’re a corporate worker with sort of a colon or commodities, lessen demand skill or you’re in a mid-level low-level manager I don’t think those jobs are going to be around for much longer. I mean they may be around for ten years but that is kind of the thing that can easily be disaggregated into parts and outsource. Then again if you’re in that kind of job, that you can see has components that can be high Duff and contracted out or if it’s already happening then pay attention. Maybe you take over that part and be the outsource person. Maybe you’ll get up, make more money on that side of it then try to fight for the job. However, pay attention to the workflow embedded in whatever it is that you do and take a good look at it from the point of view of somebody who’s trying to cut cost and wants to make more money out of it. Don’t think like how can I preserve myself, think somebody is paying me to do this job. Here are the 17 things I do in my job, how many are those things are mission critical and restricted to you and your skill set and how many can be chopped off and outsource and if the balance lies against you then you got a problem.
42:32 Nanci: I can tell you from experience. I know it’s hard but try to look at it from a point of opportunity and not get caught in the fear cycle of worry. And sort of protectionism and trying to save your current situation but try to step out of it and like Julian said come up with a few points of where maybe you could pitch your boss or a different boss on being a project manager for a contract rate, a higher rate. What are your course skills and if you are going to lose a chunk of your job to outsourcing, what are the things that you can offer that can’t be replaced easily and how can you do more of those things and charge a higher rate.
43:10 Julian: That’s the value add, that is your intrinsic value there’s a winnowing effect of the driver’s in the economy, the gig economy today and the winnowing is, we strip away the chaff of what we do and the core fundamental value-add that we provide where we are making our living. If you’re in a job right now, where you have a core added value and a lot of draws? Strip away draws and focus on what you do and maybe if it hasn’t happened yet maybe you’re the one that makes it happen. I mean there is another opportunity be the one who decided who gets the work. If you see that down the road there going to be a need for an, outsource component of your job, and it’s not job done or managed by someone else then huge opportunity for you, create a platform, be the broker, be the hub.
43:56 Nanci: Want to wrap this up?
43:58 Julian: Yes I do, I think we should be thinking about, what is the impact to the gig economy on you? I think as a listener, where do you see yourself now in terms of your job, how you position yourself in your career. It is I think the economy. Eventually we are going to drop the gig part about it because I think this is where the future of work is headed. It’s going to impact us all. I think the impact can be hugely positive. They can really improve the quality of life, there are obviously downsides we talked about a few of them, pay attention to those, think about how you can mitigate them but I think going forward, If there’s one takeaway from this it’s how is the gig economy impacting me, what am I going to do about it?
44:41 Nanci: What he said. I have two observations about this particular podcast it’s almost impossible for us to tell high levels statistics without breaking into a story and I think that’s a good thing, I do. I saw us getting off track with stories and trying to bring ourselves back and going back into story. I think that’s great it’s one of the reasons I like working with you is I think we are both great story tellers. And it’s going to make this podcast better and I also see that it’s almost impossible for us to tell something without showing the flip side of and how does that help you, how can we help you, and we keep coming back to tools and strategies, so that’s the underlying theme. Well we started out wanting to share some high-level statistics, and I think we did succeed in that, the gig economy is real, it’s a thing and its only growing. The fundamental reason for this podcast is to help you if you are in the gig economy voluntarily or reluctantly not just survive but also thrive. All right that’s it for this week we’ll see you next week.