NEW YORK - Over 50 million Americans have given up their 9-to-5 jobs in favor of freelance work, but Faisal Hoque, entrepreneur and author of "Survive to Thrive," says while anyone can go out on their own, it's important to do your homework before jumping head-first into the gig economy, especially when it comes to money.
Hoque says you need to research what people are paid for the kind of work you want to do. Make a list of your skills, which are usually the drivers for pricing. Whatever you do, don't be too cheap or too expensive. If you demand too little in compensation, Hoque says, people won't hire you because they'll think you don't know what you're talking about. If you ask for way too much, they also won't hire you, because you've priced yourself off the market. Hoque says you'll also need to rethink, and possibly reorganize, your resume.
In the gig economy, past projects often take priority over experience. Hoque says he's hired freelancers before and doesn't care where they went to school or where they've worked. He wants to see a portfolio showing the actual work they've done, and says it's all about the output.
Gig jobs run the gamut: Uber and Lyft drivers, grocery deliverers, coders, technology experts, and consultants.
But Cole Stangler, a reporter with the International Business Times, says you have to think about a lot more than just getting paid for the work. You'll often owe more in taxes and won't have a lot of the same labor law protections as traditional employees. For instance, Stangler says, you're not covered by anti-discrimination, minimum wage, or overtime laws. And you'll need to get your own health insurance. If you're under 26, you can join your parents' plan. If you are 26 or older you will have to buy your own plan.
Challenges aside, if you have an entrepreneurial mindset and you're willing to hustle then a lot of money is up for grabs in the gig economy. Hoque has seen people make anywhere from $15 an hour to a few hundred dollars an hour. He says projects are available from $5,000 to $100,000 depending on what kind of work you're doing and who you're doing that work for.
Some great websites can help you get started:
www.freelancer.com great source if you're trying to find freelance work or are looking to hire someone for a job
www.freelancersunion.org resources and advice even if you aren't a member of Freelancers Union