Planning for Success is Critical in the Gig Economy

Planning for Success is Critical in the Gig Economy

By Tony Boobier, internationally recognized expert on data, analytics and AI

It is never too soon, or too late, to start to prepare yourself for the Gig Economy. Executives should recognize the changing nature of work, especially as a result of technology changes. Through careful planning and constant effort, they can ensure that they are best placed to lend their experience, impartial advice, and competences to those organizations which need it most.

Here are three ideas for success based on my own personal experience as a successful Fractional Executive:


It’s Never too Early to Start Preparing

When I look back at my career, I recognize that I have been preparing myself for the gig economy for a long time. The idea of doing a “gig” has been around for over 100 years, originally used by session musicians doing part time work. It’s only really in the last decade that it’s acquired a wider meaning of providing short term services to businesses.

I started my own personal gigging journey over ten years ago even when I was in full time employment. Although fully committed to working for my employer I was already creating a plan for life afterwards. This involved establishing a personal brand, raising my profile, creating a network and even having a personal website (which I have recently refreshed). When I decided to leave the full-time corporate world in 2016, I was already ready for the gigging economy.

Even if you are currently in full employment at the moment, it’s important that you start to prepare yourself for the future. The world of work will increasingly change both as a result of the pandemic and also the continuing development of technology. Gigging will increasingly become the norm so my advice is to start getting ready for it. The concept of the “fractional” executive is not commonly understood, especially here in Europe where I am based, but I believe it’s a trend that will grow.

Planning for Success is Critical in the Gig Economy


Planning for Success

If you are only just entering the “gig” market, my advice is that you approach the idea of working there as an item of work in itself. Preparing yourself properly is as important as serving your clients. Think of yourself as a client, maybe even your most important one!

This approach might include creating a personal plan with a set of key deliverables, followed up by effective implementation. It’s not only about having the right experience and profile, you’ll also need to think about the details, like the type and level of insurance cover you might need to have, for example.

One of the key elements is to understand and to be able to describe your own personal ‘value proposition’. In other words, when a client engages with you, what benefits should they expect from your involvement? If you can’t describe them, how can your clients understand them? And if they don’t understand your value, why would they bother employing you?

You also need to think about what might be your ‘go to market’ strategy. How do you get information about yourself before prospective clients? Certain platforms are better than others for gaining work. GigX for example is specifically geared for that purpose, not only for the provider of the service but also for the individual offering it.


Working in the Gig Economy Requires Constant Effort

Working effectively in the gig economy requires you to have valuable skills. Personally I focussed on data and analytics, and I am now honored to be recognized as a global thought leader on AI. The “Data Genie” is now well and truly out of the bottle, and AI is now closer to reality than it ever was in science fiction. I find that companies and individuals are often grateful for independent and impartial advice, especially when explained without the use of jargon.

I think it’s critical that individuals working in the gig economy continue to actively maintain their personal “offering”, which not only involves keeping up to date with current issues but also it involves keeping their profile active and interesting. After all, who wants to employ yesterday’s man or woman?

My three previous books on Analytics and AI keep my profile alive, and my 4th book to be published in 2022 is a great reason to explore new ideas, and create a few of my own.

There’s a need for continuous learning and effort, especially in this very dynamic marketplace. “Giggers” actively look for work and know that it does not come by itself. They know they are not like young birds sitting in a nest with their beaks open, waiting for someone to drop a worm into it.

Relying on the names of previous employers and job titles, however impressive, isn’t a passport to success. Companies most likely to need fractional support tend to be mid-sized or smaller, where agility, flexibility, empathy and competence are key components of success.

Planning for Success is Critical in the Gig Economy


To Summarize

So, in conclusion:

  • Preparing yourself for the Gig Economy requires effective planning but it’s never too soon - or too late - to start that process.
  • Being successful means that you always need to add value for your clients, which means remaining up to date and constantly working on your profile and competences.
  • Fractional executives are able to offer sensible, impartial and up to date advice on key issues such as, in my personal case, the implementation of data and AI strategies. 


About the Author

Tony Boobier is an internationally recognized expert on data, analytics and AI. Having almost four decades of experience mainly in financial services, he most recently held a worldwide role for a major international technology company. Nowadays he mainly supports mid-sized companies and start-ups. Based in London, he is the author of three books on data and analytics.


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