In this week’s edition of our Insider Report, we look at the following activity in the on-demand economy:
- Inspiration for creative professionals dreaming of independence
- A freelance consultant shares nine lessons she’s learned since going solo.
- Coworking spaces for solopreneurs looking for an office without an office
- A hero on and off the screen, Deadpool’s Ryan Reynolds’ is doing what he can to help out a young fan fighting cancer.
Trying out freelancing with micro-gig work
Creative professionals dreaming of independence could find inspiration in a post on Lifehack.org explaining “why the micro-gig economy is great for creative freelancers.”
The Feb. 15 post by Grant Lingel might not feature a lot of groundbreaking ideas, but it illustrates how easy it is to dip your toe in the pool by trying out microtasks that let you “try out new skills and pick and choose the tasks you want to do.”
A key benefit, he states, is that microtask work “doesn’t involve a serious commitment, and it allows you to make a bit of extra cash while you make the transition from working outside the home to the freelance lifestyle.”
Lingel also hits on many of the other advantages that come with micro-gig work, such as being able to work from home or a coffee shop, determining your own schedule and being able to spend more time with family.
Reflections on making the leap to freelancing
Not to be outdone, freelance marketing consultant Tami Brehse breaks down the nine lessons she learned from ditching her 9-to-5 job in a Feb. 16 post for Entrepreneur.
Admirably, Brehse’s list isn’t just a collection of purely positive insights, as many posts of this sort tend to be. Those posts can make one think they give out rose-colored glasses on the day you leave a full-time gig. Instead, Brehse delivers it straight, hitting on the pros and cons of doing it all yourself.
For example, she says there’s “no such thing as taking a vacation,” because she always has to be connected in case a client needs her. She also covers how to spot red flags with clients and realizing that sometimes it’s in your best interest to turn down a gig.
In fact, it’s one of the better posts out there about the actual macro and micro issues many freelancers face, especially when they’re starting out. (Brehse says she’s been freelancing full-time for a year.) The point about “time spent on minor tasks” alone makes this post worth checking out.
Additionally, Brehse covers the need to grow her business by outsourcing – there’s no reason a freelancer can’t employ her own freelancer – and discusses all the skills she’s learned out of necessity: “I’m now convinced there’s no task I can’t handle by simply Googling my way through it, which is both a blessing and a curse.”
Going solo doesn’t always mean working from home.
Some people love being their own boss because it lets them work from home. For certain people, such as parents of young children, it’s virtually a necessity. Other freelancers find being at home too much makes them stir crazy, which is why this very sentence is being written in a coffee shop.
In a Feb. 11 post for Mashable, freelance writer Aubre Andrus digs into the coworking phenomenon, noting that shared office spaces are now “productive hubs for freelancers” and other creative professionals.
“When you think of a coworking space, images of a buzzing office shared by tech startups come to mind,” Andrus says. “But freelancers, contractors and consultants are as entrepreneurial as any startup founder and want to carve out a place for themselves in this work environment too.”
Andrus says such “solopreneurs” aren’t just looking for a change of scenery. Some want to be in a “creative space with a solid community, perhaps even more than their empire-building counterparts.”
Of course, as she points out, most coworking spaces tend to be expensive. They typically charge steep daily rates or require pricey memberships (albeit with a variety of perks, some of which can be quite beneficial).
However, there’s a new wave of coworking spaces oriented more toward “solopreneurs” who just want a quiet place to work away from busy baristas. These spaces, Andrus notes, are much more affordable.
Granted, even these newer spaces are largely centered around downtown areas in major cities. But with so many more Americans turning to freelance work, solopreneur spots will likely spread out into more areas.
Heroic onscreen and off, Deadpool star crowdfunds with care.
Most of Hollywood didn’t figure an R-rated superhero movie could win the day at the box office. Most of Hollywood was wrong. Deadpool, featuring the Marvel Comics character, shattered box-office records for the Valentine’s Day weekend with a $260-million worldwide opening weekend.
It’s a remarkable accomplishment for a comic-book movie starring Ryan Reynolds – if you saw Green Lantern, you understand – and now the star is using the buzz to help crowdfund cancer treatment for a 13-year-old fan from Edmonton.
As explained in a Feb. 4 post by Jay Jayson for ComicBook.com, Reynolds visited Connor McGrath in the hospital to screen the movie for the young fan weeks before it premiered in theaters. Reynolds later put his star power to use by urging fans to help crowdfund an experimental treatment for Connor, who has a form of childhood leukemia.
However, Connor’s mother has put the campaign on hold for the moment, asking people not to donate until the family sees how he responds to his next treatment. In the meantime, Connor has many fans of his own, rooting for him and hoping for the best.