After Nigeria’s independence, the norm was to immediately secure a job after graduation. As a matter of fact, graduates received employment letters at their doorsteps. Surprisingly, things have changed.
Things have taken a cynical U-turn; companies don’t provide automatic employment for graduates anymore. Instead, graduates run helter-skelter, trying to secure a means to survive. According to reports by Trading Economics, the unemployment rate in Nigeria is 23.10%. Yearly, millions of graduates churned out from universities are unable to secure employment. Those who manage to secure employment do settle for less. At most, they are underemployed, working jobs that are far below their professional skills.
“Yearly, there are no jobs, but we keep churning out graduates.”
“How can companies pay some first-class graduates forty thousand Naira?”
“Many workers are underpaid.”
Most of us have engaged in these kinds of conversations. It seems unavoidable because you hear complaints everywhere you go. As a youth, you don’t have to complain endlessly about the woes of the Nigerian economy. The world is experiencing a spectacular global transformation more than ever before. This transformation has led to the creation of a medium that no longer subjects you to the woes of the Nigerian economy. This medium is the ‘Gig Economy’. It is known in popular parlance as side hustle.
What is the Gig Economy?
Gig Economy is a system where people are paid per job or ‘gig’. The gig economy is a polar opposite to the 9-5 scheme of receiving regular wages or salary from an employer. The gig refers to the primary type of model where workers are paid per project. The term “Gig Economy” is a relatively new name. But freelancing and pay-per-job is not a new concept, it is a model that has existed for quite some time now – before the industrial revolution. The fulltime job system, however, brought about a steady job, security, and employment. These benefits made people prefer the full-time 9-5 job over the freelancing option.
Since then, the norm is to follow a particular career path: enrolling in a university, getting a job, remaining in that job, attaining better positions, and comfortable retirement in the long run. Nevertheless, the rebirth of the gig economy is challenging the norm. The actions of Uber, Handy, Upwork, PeoplePerHour, Turo, Fiverr,and Deliveroo, who use modern mobile technology to connect gig workers with customers in exchange for payment, supercharged this rebirth. Since the resurgence of these organisations, the Gig Economy has continually blossomed. The world is experiencing a rapid shift from traditional work and full-time employment to one that is part-time and independent contracting.
What Opportunities Are Available in the Gig Economy?
There are a lot of earning opportunities for you from working on gigs as a Nigerian youth. In the Gig Economy, you make a living by advertising your skillset to your prospective clients. If such client loves your services, he/she contacts you. The best part about the Gig Economy is that these projects are short-term and highly flexible. You can do them at your home. All you need to do is to have an internet-connected device.
Unlike traditional employment, Gig employment is not process-oriented. Instead, it is results-oriented. Gig economy gives you the chance to stop complaining about the situation of Nigeria and start augmenting your income. I’m not suggesting that you resign abruptly from your 9-5 job or you go into full-time freelancing. The fact is that being a gig worker does not hinder success in your 9-5 job. If balanced, working a gig job and a 9-5 is one of the best ways to earn cool cash. While working your 9-5, you can easily set your gig hours at your convenience.
For instance, despite working gigs regularly, I have been able to excellently strike a balance between my side hustle and my academics.
Also, the Gig Economy has low risk. Unlike most extra income-generating opportunities, you can always quit a gig without burning the bridges. More importantly, you do not have to go through the tiring hurdles of starting a full business (except you feel like anyway).
You do not have to be broke anymore as the gig economy is one of your best substitutes. If you have skills relating to the content (either development or writing), graphic design, product management, UX design, digital marketing, side gig, search engine optimisation, and makeup, then you are highly suitable to sign up for gigs.
If you like to earn a good income from working gigs, but don’t possess any of these skills, the first thing to do is developing your skills.
How Do I Tap into the Goldmine of the Gig Economy?
For you to successfully tap into the Gig Economy, there are some strategies that you must adopt. While it is great to develop your freelancing skills, you should not be static. You should not stick to the ‘this is how I have continually done it, and I don’t want to add any other skill to my skill set’ mentality. If you want to be successful as a freelancer or gig worker, you must embrace relevant skills asides your expertise.
Although the gig economy is the right industry for augmenting your income, however, you are not the only one who wants extra income. There are millions of people trying to make ends meet across the world too. Build your side gig portfolio by encouraging your clients to give testimonials and help you get other clients – depending on how many clients you can work for. Make sure your clients give you quality recommendations on a platform such as LinkedIn.
If you are a broke employee that wants to augment his/her income by working side gigs, then you must be prepared to manage the two. You must be ready to sacrifice 1-2 hours of sleep and work to deliver your work to your clients. You must also prepare to drop some owanbes and weekend plans to work. You need to also learn the art of answering emails swiftly and also setting realistic deadlines that would not inconvenient you.
You should make sure that you do not let your freelancing work affect your 9-5 job by not doing side gigs during work hours. If you fear the impossibility of this balance but still have the desire to earn money through side gigs, you can collaborate with other freelancers who will help you achieve faster and productive results.
Dear broke Nigeran youth, if you are still reading this article, there are high chances that you have significant interest in earning money through the Gig Economy. Fortunately, there are different sites for finding great gig jobs. Against popular belief, Upwork and Fiverr are not only the two sites for getting gig jobs. Other sites for getting gigs include Toptals, Elance, Truelancer, Craiglist, iFreelance, Rover, Efynch, among others. Vital sites for success at gig works are Freelance Unions, Domino, #Freelance. You are living in arguably one of the best moments in the world.
As someone who sustains his daily living without going broke, I confidently put to you that if you exploit the opportunity that the gig economy provides, you will have no reason to be broke.
As the street saying goes, “ji masun!”