Never before in the history of organized work, the term career had such a flexible meaning. Today, there is no fixed definition or paradigm for it.
The Gig Economy gives us a chance to redefine our career everyday. One can be a photographer today and a content writer tomorrow.
In such a scenario, how do you ensure you have essential skills to succeed ?
While definition of success maybe deeply personal, there are some common skills which can help any professional excel in the gig they choose for that day or rest of their life.
These skills establish your credibility as a reliable professional who never disappoints when it comes to results.
While conversation is not a difficult feat, communication could be. As a professional when you are interacting with your clients or colleagues, being on the same page is very important. If there is a gap, it leads to misunderstandings and unpleasantness later.
When you are clear in your communication, you understand the objective clearly which not only helps the end result, it also help you set reasonable deadlines to achieve these goals.
While communicating with clients, it is always beneficial to capture and share minutes of meetings.
Keep your clients updated of the progress with periodic calls or emails.
It is equally important to raise red flags in times of distress.
This practice not only helps averting serious situations, it also builds trust with a new client.
Even if your client is in the same location, there are very less chances that you will meet them regularly.
Not only it ruins client’s experience, frequent disconnections also hamper the flow of the conversation.
Your mic and speakers should be in good condition and there is no static interference.
If your client’s native language is different from yours, scripting your talk or at least the main points will be helpful.
Use Google Translate to check if you are using the correct language to convey what you want.
Communication is anyway an important social skill for life. In a Gig Economy, it becomes a lot more important because of the technology, frequency and variety you can have to cater to.
Mastering it means getting the second most aspect of your job right, first most being the actual job.
2. Time Management
Given the number of balls that you have to juggle, it only becomes pertinent that the time is managed wisely.
Multiple projects, multiple clients mean multiple things to do apart from the actual work. Add to it your personal checklist of learning something new or maintaining yoga practice.
Time management seems simple, yet maybe very difficult to master. Self discipline is one key ingredient to be successful in this area.
Even if you are an fairly confident of your time management skills, try this experiment to see if it is actually the case.
As mentioned in the article “Without data, it’s easy to paint an erroneous picture of how we spend our time, whether it’s inadvertently exaggerating the number of hours we work or assuming we’re wasting more time than we really do”.
Once you have a clear understanding of how you spend your day. You can reorganize it for optimum productivity.
You could use time tracking apps to assess where all you are spending your time and where can you make improvements. It will also help you spend only requisite amount of time on a particular task.
If you are constantly spending more time on some tasks than you intend to, it maybe time to ask for help or outsource them to someone else.
3. Reporting Results
The term reporting usually intimidates everyone. Most people think of it as fancy graphs and charts which only an expert in analytics can produce.
It is true for a scenario where financial results are to be presented or funding is to be seeked, it is not the case for individual projects.
Reporting, in plain simple terms means you should be able to communicate the impact of your work in objective manner, which a client can quickly grasp.
For e.g. if you are a graphic designer, you may want to talk about number of downloads or shares for the last infographic you worked on.
Identify the key metric which a new client may get attracted to and report them. Even a simple table in any spreadsheet tool would work.
This also means that you can extend your relationship with the clients even after the engagement has ended.
An occasional email to check on results, help you being in top of mind.
Mind you, it doesn’t mean reporting client’s confidential data, it only means quoting results of your endeavour.
You can mention it as one of the requirements at the beginning of the project. If your contract clearly mentions how you will use these results, no client should object.
If you present your next portfolio with statements like “ last engagement led to XX “, it is bound to make your proposal shine when compared to others.
These results are not a replacement or modified version of client feedback. These are suppose to complement and solidify your position as seasoned professional.
You can use a free tool like Google Sheets for data capture and analysis. The functionality provided is more than enough to gather meaningful insights.
Given the novelty of Gig Economy both service providers and clients may take some time to before they find the right rhythm to work together.
As a service provider the onus lies on you to adjust your rhythm to suit client’s.
Even if you have great client testimonials, there is work to be done in the area of building trust with new clients. Apart from the functional skills, that trust can be built with these skills which are common across industries, geographies and professions.
A little customer delight goes a long way in building a positive reputation, which is the currency of Gig Economy.