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Gig Economy and the Smartphone Lifestyle

Technology can free you from your desk!

Get Giggy with it!

Bad pun aside: with technology, gig workers can earn an income from just about anywhere. In the last few years, contract and freelance work has exploded, with millions of people all over the world earning a side income—in some cases, a full-time income—enabled by high-speed internet and smartphones.

As Olga Mizrahi, author and gig economy expert, explains in this interview on Forbes.com, it all became possible about five or six years ago. Why? Because data plans became less expensive and smartphones took a leap in sophistication.

The Network

If you think this movement to unchain from the desk is only for young entrepreneurs, think again. While many young people are stepping into the gig economy, lots of people in their 50s and older have stepped into the freelance arena, with the help of smartphones. They can leverage their knowledge into a work experience that fits the lifestyle they want, even if it’s working out of an R.V.!

Smartphones are really only as good as the network powering them, and if you’re jumping into the gig arena, you’ll want Verizon’s network (rated best in the nation by J.D. Powers) and one of Verizon’s new mix-and-match data plans—especially if you’re paying for four or more lines.

Woman Working From Home Using Laptop On Dining Table

Gear

You’ll need a smartphone charger that’s up for the challenge of a gig economy, even if you’re traveling. Better yet, invest in a portable battery. They’re a lifesaver when you need to power up on the fly. You should also consider a mobile hotspot from Verizon when you’re on the road—especially if you’re traveling with others. With a mobile hotspot, you can take off with your smartphone without leaving your travel companions stranded sans Wi-Fi. Plus, you can leave your mobile hotspot plugged in (less convenient for your phone.) Consider getting HumX. With it, you’ll get roadside assistance, on-the-fly diagnostics, a mobile hotspot and more.

Gig Apps

You can try all kinds of things when you’re not tied to a desk. Some of it is physical work: grocery shopping for other people, dog walking, running errands. But some of it is just using knowledge that others need, like helping people understand loan documents, proofreading and editing, and writing.

If you’re thinking about starting up a side gig, or two, there are hundreds of apps on the market, connecting hopeful workers with jobs. Check here for a sample list.

Read on for a few of our favorites:

Instacart
Are you a ninja at navigating grocery aisles? Do you enjoy driving? Combine your skills and try personal grocery shopping and delivery.

Freelancer
Got some professional design, writing or other skills? With the Freelancer mobile app, you can bid on work from thousands of employers from around the world.

Airbnb
Rent your home, furnished basement, guest house or above-the-garage apartment with this app, which enables messaging with guests, reservations and more. You can be a landlord while traveling anywhere in the world! (Check into Verizon’s new Above Unlimited plan before you jet set. It’s designed for world travel.)

Etsy
Crafty? Sell your handmade or vintage goods on this platform. There are fees associated with selling on Etsy, but it’s very popular for both artists and crafters, and folks looking to buy one-of-a-kind things!

Cons

With the freedom of freelancing comes some drawbacks. The two biggest are a lack of benefits and a lack of companionship that comes with going into work at a nine-to-five. You can get around this, of course, by making sure you set aside enough money to buy health insurance and money for retirement. For human interaction, there are Facebook and LinkedIn groups for freelancers—and there’s your own family and friends, too! After all, one of the biggest reasons people seek out the gig lifestyle is for more time with loved ones.

Check out rec leagues, local gyms, Meetups for knitting, philosophy, book clubs … whatever piques your interest!

Looking for a dog-friend? Try Meet My Dog.

Looking to meet up with foodies? Try SupperClub.

Tips from Gig Pros

  • Try different gigs, but don’t take any old job that comes along (unless you just have to.) Sometimes it pays to save your energy for the right gig.
  • You don’t have to go all-in! You can still keep a “regular” job (or even a parttime job,) supplementing with gigs when you feel like taking time to travel or just making time to see your kids or grandkids more.

 

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