Tips for working in the gig economy

Whether you gig full-time or just side-hustle, there are steps you should take to make the most of your gig, and to protect yourself.

Tags: Budgeting, Planning, Savings, Gig economy, Gig economy tips
Published: September 10, 2020

If recent studies are any indication, the gig economy is not only here to stay – it’s growing.

Gallup’s 2018 look at the gig economy found that 36% of the American workforce works a “gig” – which can range from a steady, full-time contract work to app-based jobs like driving for a ride share or delivering groceries.

No matter why, or how, you gig, there are steps you can and should take to make sure you are protected and making the most of your gig income.

1. Take advantage of P2P payments.

No need to worry about exchanging a check or cash with your client. Ask for payment via a P2P app like Zelle®, which is not only fast, but safe. Payments can be deposited directly to your account.(If you do get a check, it can still be very easy to deposit with the U.S. Bank app and mobile check deposit!2

2. Do NOT forget tax time.

We repeat, don’t forget about taxes! If you don’t work with an agency or service that takes care of the taxes that come along with your earnings, you will be responsible for making sure taxes are paid. Whether you are making extra income or working a steady gig, you should report your income. (Note: That doesn’t mean you’ll be taxed.) Consult a tax professional to understand expectations around your income.

3. Make a plan to save.

If you are working without an employer-sponsored 401K or retirement plan, it can be difficult to make saving a priority. But there are still ways to save in both the short-term and long-term. First, if you don’t have any type of savings account, start one. If your gig doesn’t come with a steady income, a savings account can be a key way to bridge the gap between payments. Then schedule an appointment with a banker to understand options for long-term saving options.

4. Put yourself first.

It can be hard to say “no” to pushy clients or less-than-ideal work when working gigs, but don’t be afraid to turn down work that doesn’t seem like it’s the best fit. Ask for references for new clients and make sure your rates are clear up front. You deserve to get paid a fair wage for the work you complete!

Learn more about how work is changing with our Gig Economy special series.

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