Sue Ellson is the author of 120 Ways To Market Your Business Hyper Locally, 120 Ways To Attract The Right Career Or Business and 120 Ways To Achieve Your Purpose With LinkedIn. Her latest book is called: Gigsters: Any Age Employees, Experts and Entrepreneurs. Become a Gigster at any age.
What’s a Gigster? My definition is that it is someone who uses technology to attract aligned gigs. By aligned, I am referring to work that matches a person’s values, strengths and context. Throughout life, these variables can change, so being able to use technology to assist is essential.
Does it differ from a ‘Side Hustler’? I see a side hustler as someone who has a regular gig as well as a side gig, something that they do outside of their regular work. Yes, a side hustler can be a gigster if they are using technology to attract aligned gigs. A side hustler can definitely learn more about their why and how to attract more opportunities by reading the Gigsters book.
Is there a typical ‘Gigster’ demographic? Interestingly, no. The world of work is changing and more people are choosing to work to live rather than live to work, or, they are simply faced with the cold hard facts that ‘normal’ jobs are changing and they do not necessarily match that person’s values, strengths and context. For too long, careers have been seen as a linear path with a singular focus. The modern world is more complex and diverse and people are much more multi-dimensional now and the differences between work and life are starting to change. A Gigster at any age!
I am finding that young people are more interested in having flexibility and variety rather than a regular 8am-6pm workaholic corporate gig. Parents with families or people with care-giving responsibilities need work to fit in around personal matters and mature workers enjoy a combination of both meaningful work and freedom.
Why did you write ‘Gigsters’? I have been a gigster since 1994 and I have lived according to my values and reaped enormous personal benefits. I have worked with so many people who are not happy with their work, business or careers and I wanted to explain how there is a different way to live and work. I want to encourage people to be multi-dimensional and their own kind of peculiar and find their own path and not be bogged down by limiting beliefs.
What are the benefits of being a Gigster? Living and working according to your values. Creating a path that matches your values, strengths (natural and acquired) and current context (you still need to be realistic). It helps you understand that sometimes, you just have to do things a certain way and that is okay as there will be other ways to have your needs and wants met along the journey. It helps you understand what is really important and to accept full responsibility for your own life whilst still being prepared to ask for help. It requires you to build and maintain networks as personal relationships are what sustain you through the ups and downs of life.
What are the challenges of being a Gigster? It can be lonely and you may feel as if you are going against what is ‘normal.’ Other people may not understand your choices and therefore not be willing to support you in your efforts. You will need to be able to manage your finances effectively as there may be ups and downs in your payment cycles. I mention a variety of ways to overcome these challenges in the book.
What are some of the more unique Gigsters you have met? What I find so fascinating about Gigsters is the variety of gigs that they complete. I guess many people think an Uber driver is a typical gigster, after all, my massage therapist is a part time Uber driver. But a business owner may also be a gigster, with a part time job in a traditional role. I find that a lot of gigsters have a creative talent – artists, writers, musicians etc. I find it fascinating to watch some gigsters use multiple mobile phone apps to secure gigs. One gigster I know is a bookkeeper and a professional gamer who wins prize money for his talents! Another is an older person who has officially retired but never wants to be ‘retired’ so he is very happy that he can be called a gigster!
What are usual ‘Gigs’? There are no usual gigs. It really depends on the person. I do recommend some sources of gigs to be more worthwhile than others as I do not want people to fall into the trap of going backwards financially. I am very conscious that some people can undersell their capability and plateau with their work. It is essential for all gigsters to keep learning, growing and adapting. It is also essential for gigsters to be able to assess the quality and reliability of various platforms for securing multiple gigs.
A Gigster at any age? How long do people remain Gigsters? This is a personal choice. Some people do not want to live with uncertainty. Others thrive on variety. Sometimes personal circumstances mean that they have no choice. Sometimes market forces make it very difficult for some people to secure traditional roles. I have done it for 25 years!
Do they change ‘Gigs’ often? Again, this will depend on the person’s values, strengths and context. A good mix of both regular and variable gigs is probably the best combination as it helps people feel a sense of belonging and personal security.
Any tips for being a successful Gigster? Heaps! I talk about Gigster competencies and super powers as well as the 10 Gigster Commandments in the book. I also help people identify different Gigster Types depending on whether they want to focus on the employee, expert or entrepreneur aspect of work. My top three would be to develop and maintain your personal, professional and social networks, to continually learn and improve your digital competency and to be courageous – you will need to be prepared to do what could be difficult, but nothing that is dangerous.