The decision to enter the executive gig economy is generally the result of two forces.
The first is necessity: where as a result of downsizing, lag time between full-time positions or stagnating professional growth, contracts or interim projects become a way to fill the economic or experience gap.
The second is motivated by the opportunity to experience a better way of working. This includes control over when and how work happens. This in turn allows for more family or caregiver time, a rewrite on "retirement" or the chance to follow a passion project or fund a business, but with less economic risk.
Our experience creating Kahuso -- an online platform connecting accomplished executives with part-time, interim, advisory and board opportunities -- has shown us that regardless of why an individual enters the gig economy (or even how long they have been in it), there are three essential steps that will optimize the experience.
1. Identify Your Desired Outcomes:
The fluidity of the executive gig economy means it can be adapted as the channel to create any number of outcomes.
For instance, a contract or advisory role can round out an existing job or be a way of gaining experience in a new area or industry.
Among parents or care-givers, it can be a way to control when or how you work (remote or part-time) or the reverse -- the chance to come into an office once or twice a week, engage with a team and contribute a lifetime of experience to an organization or cause you believe in.
Whatever your individual motivations, it is important to identity and articulate them.Try:
- Doing a values inventory. Get clear on what you are looking for from a gig role and why.
- Plan to regularly check in every few months or at the end of each project to make sure your values and current work arrangements or plan are aligned. If not -- well, a bonus of the gig economy is how nimbly work can be scaled up or down to meet your personal goals or needs at a point in time.
2. Strategically Position Your Career Story:
By mid-career, most of us have a dominant story that we tell about our experience and core skills -- both externally and to ourselves. While this is helpful in terms of the quick elevator pitch -- it can also be limiting when it comes to imaging how to transfer experiences to new opportunities.
At Kahuso registration or onboarding to our platform takes individuals through a series of questions designed to better understand skills, work styles, cultural fit and experience. This insight also helps to expand how their career story can be packaged and matched.
For this same reason, we also showcase members' careers in an info-graph format since the visual presentation can also help individuals expand how they see their stories and package their skills.Try:
- Deliberately change how you present or write your CV to explore other ways of framing your professional story.
- Multi-industry input. Ask for feedback from friends outside of your dominant industry -- specifically ask them to consider how your core skills could help their business or sector. This feedback can help expand how you frame, position and package yourself.
3. Cultivate A Yes Mindset:
The executive gig economy is both growing rapidly and quickly evolving, and the best way to make the most of these emerging opportunities is to start with an open mind and willingness to try the uncharted.
This might mean a contract in a new sector, at a much smaller company or a work setup that is radically different than what you might have been previously used to: our advice is to embrace it all.Try:
- Build A Support Network: Research shows that you are the sum of the five people with whom you spend the most time and their influence on your views and mindset is amplified during times of change -- so surround yourself with positive people who will cheer your choices.
- A Daily Practice of Positive Thinking: A stress point of the executive gig economy is that it generally requires regular change (new people, projects, work environments) and this can take a toll. A daily practice of mindfulness and calm re-commitment to being open to new opportunities can profoundly shift your experience, enjoyment of the process and ultimately the results.
Finally, more so than any other time in the history of the post-industrial career, how work happens can be tailored and adapted to reflect individual needs and goals.
Make the most of these opportunities by investing the time to create the foundations for your own version of a successful gig career.
Michael Carter & Caleb Rubin are the co-Ffounders of Kahuso, an online platform they built to help accomplished executives find part-time, interim, advisory and board opportunities.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
MORE ON HUFFPOST:
More than a third of business owners say they lack tax knowledge. Yet, on average they spend the equivalent of one work week filing their federal taxes every year, according to a survey by The National Small Business Association. Having a year-round relationship with a bookkeeper or accountant can relieve some of the burden at tax time and reduce the likelihood of costly mistakes being made.
Similarly, more than half of business owners admit they lack legal knowledge yet, only 7% of small business owners would opt for a lawyer if they could make another full-time hire. While not all businesses require in-house counsel, one thing is for sure -- consulting with a lawyer early on and frequently can save your business a hefty sum of money down the road. “If you are being sued, it's too late,” according to an article from Entrepreneur. “The fee a lawyer will charge to keep you out of trouble is only a small fraction of the fee a lawyer will charge to get you out of trouble once it's happened.”
While it may seem obvious to outsource daily office tasks like filing and cleaning, surprisingly, most small business owners still aren’t. As many as 83% of small business owners regularly order the supplies for their business, 80% handle filing, 50% handle reception duties and 63% even report that they clean their office space, according to one survey.
Many business owners report that they would like to outsource marketing but few actually do, according to a study by Constant Contact. While there is a high-perceived cost to hiring an outsourced marketing consultant, the hours lost weekly to marketing tasks can add up. When business owners were asked how long they and their employees spend on marketing, the average came out to 33 hours per week. Multiplied by the $273 that business owners on average say they’d value an extra hour in their day, the potential savings from outsourcing marketing could be significant.
While the majority of small businesses now have websites, almost a third of business owners still maintain their company’s website themselves. With the rising number of consumers choosing to shop and get information online, the importance and potential dollars to be made from a company website also continues to grow. And as technology continues to evolve, business owners have to make a serious time investment in keeping their skills and their websites up to date. In fact, 64% percent say the time it takes to make updates is their biggest website challenge. Investing in an in-house or outsourced web designer can be an easy way to free up time.
Only half of small business owners use a wealth manager or financial advisor. However, many surveyed said they want help. The areas where they were most interested in consulting with an advisor were cost controls, cash flow management, rising healthcare costs, profitability, exit strategy and securing business loans. Why don’t business owners seek financial advice? “By definition, these are people who have an entrepreneurial tendency,” said Kerry Geurkink, marketing director for Securian in an interview with WealthManagement.com. “They’re used to doing things themselves.” While all business owners should have a solid grasp on their company’s finances, consulting a professional could free up time and make your business more profitable.
Follow Michael Carter on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kahusoinc