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How to make the gig economy work for your small business

· gig economy,hiring,small business,small business tips,talent acquisition

By Leslie Youngblood

Hiring and/or talent acquisition for a small business can be one of the most difficult tasks for an owner or entrepreneur. If you have a small, tight-knit crew, you want to make sure you bring on someone who will compliment the team and seamlessly fall in step. You also may not have one concrete position to describe and fill, as most small business employees do a little bit of everything. Plus, knowing it’s your money on the line, the hiring stakes are even higher.

So where do you turn when it comes to hiring for your small business? Of course there are the usual online platforms like Indeed or ZipRecruiter. And then recommendations from friends and family are always good leads to follow as well. One newer concept to keep in mind as you go about your search is the gig economy.

The gig economy speaks to an environment in which temporary positions are more common and organizations contract out work with independent workers for short-term stints. Think freelance positions and freelancers, but on a whole other level.

The gig economy is a growing trend with nearly 53 million Americans (that’s 34 percent of the U.S. workforce!) currently working as freelancers. In fact, a study by Intuit predicted that 40 percent of American workers would be independent contractors by 2020.* That’s an incredible growing trend that small businesses especially should be paying attention to and utilizing.

Gig economy workers are varied and examples run the gamut from Uber drivers to producers, writers, accountants and more. When thinking about the needs of your business, going with a gig worker has a few fantastic big pros that can’t be denied:

Time Is More On Your Side: A limited contract gives you time to see if someone is the right fit for your company. If you’re a business that requires seasonal help, temporary help can also be ideal.

It’s Extra Economical: By utilizing a freelancer you won’t have to offer the same benefits as a full-time employee. You’ll also need less office space since many gig workers can operate remotely.

Easier Access to High-End Services: Freelance designers and writers are much more economical choices than hiring an expensive agency. From logo design to video content and more, the majority of creative freelancers have extensive experience to deliver the professional pieces you’re looking for, at a more affordable price point.

If you’d like to find a gig worker for your business, Fiverr and LinkedIn ProFinder are two good places to start.

One last important item of note regarding the gig economy: The federal government is currently developing revised tax laws to capture gig economy income it believes its owed and missing out on.** So heads up, and make sure to utilize the proper forms and paperwork when moving forward.

Leslie Youngblood is the Creative Director for Excelerate America, a 2nd stage business accelerator that helps small businesses excel and grow in the digital economy. She'd love to get your thoughts on the gig economy and hear about any experiences you've had with gig workers or freelancers. Shoot her a line anytime at leslie.youngblood@excelerateamerica.com.

*Source: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/gig-economy

**Source: http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/news/12398474/tax-changes-coming-for-gig-economy-companies-whats-expected-in-2018-and-beyond

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