Why the Gig Economy is Here to Stay

08/07/2017 09:58 pm ET

Gary Vaynerchuk recently wrote about why startups that save time are poised to succeed. Convenience, he argues, is king. Delivery to our doors stops us from having to go out. Services that replace manual labor allow us to put our skills to better use. Spell Checkers remove the importance of typing accurately, and voice search, like Siri and Alexa, stop us from having to type at all.

Time is the one commodity we can’t get enough of and will pay to preserve at any cost. “No matter where you are or what your economic situation is, you will never have more time. It’s why we as humans will do anything to purchase it,” he states. It’s also why the gig economy is here to stay, as it goes so far towards satisfying our need to free up a few hours.

Entrepreneur and author of The Complete Freelancer Guide, Ian Balina, also buys into Vaynerchuk’s thinking, citing another huge benefit of the gig economy--and the fact that it’s only going to grow. It allows people to start a side hustle and turn it into their main job. They can work, like one in five Americans, in the sharing economy and step out of their 9 to 5 life, like he did. “I wanted an outlet that lets me be creative, but also an outlet that lets me make money on the side; the gig economy allowed me to do that.”

The need for speed

As a digitally distracted generation, we’re finding it harder and harder to wait. We’re so used to having what we want when we want it, with services like Amazon’s Prime Now and Hello Alfred removing the need for patience. “We built Alfred to create time for people to do what they love,” say its founders Jessica Beck and Marcela Sapone.

The need for speed has become imperative in our lives both online and off. If a website takes longer than three seconds to load, almost half of us will lose patience and X right out. And why wait when it comes to our money? When apps like PayPal and Square let us send funds to an email and Android Pay allows us to check out with our smartphones; bank transfers and checks are like sending courier pigeon instead of an email.

The gig economy lets us satiate our desire for getting things quickly and conveniently when we need them. Whether it’s a clean apartment, an affordable room in a city center, or an Uber across town, rather than walking. It’s even a vital impulse for startups with crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, allowing entrepreneurs to access funding fast to bring their ideas to life. With collaborative finance accounting for one of Europe’s five main segments in the gig economy, flow of capital and exchange of goods and services are fast being democratized.

Changing our value system

Not only is the gig economy ticking all the right boxes in terms of convenience and speed, but it’s actually changing the way we view the world. For the first time, millennials are choosing to work when they want, opting out of a system that makes them sick, where more than 65 percent of workers suffer from stress. They’re choosing instead, according to Balina, to do something they have “passionate energy towards to avoid burnout.”

Such is the rise in freelance working that Inuit predicts by 2020, as much as 40 percent of Americans will be independent contractors. With so much potential to start a new job on the side, from chauffeuring to launching an innovative product; you don’t even have to take the leap into freelance until you’re completely ready, and can test the market first.

Not only can we be our own bosses and account for our own time, but we’re actually buying fewer possessions thanks to the gig economy, as well. We’re less motivated by material objects these days, and with good cause. When we can order a ride that saves on gas, insurance, inconvenience of parking and maintenance, why bother buying a car? It’s better for the environment too.

The gig economy is here to stay, as long as we value time above possessions and convenience above all else. As long as we continue to need everything now and reject the notion of a conventional 9 to 5 in a large corporation. We may not start sharing everything just yet, but we’re certainly getting more comfortable with this Ubertopian society that’s not going anywhere.

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