The Australian gig economy has been valued at $6 billion and it’s growing. The key to success in this environment is adaptability, but that doesn’t mean changing your career trajectory every day, keynote speaker Marina Pullin told an audience at the Launceston Freelance Festival today.
She said it was about being open to change, meeting challenges through growth, and embracing opportunities, adding that the phrase freelancer came from soldiers for hire, free lancers.
“Noble people who were trying to take over land would hire lancers, these lancers didn’t have any loyalty they were 100 per cent focused,” Pullin said, “over time the phrase has changed, but the core remains the same.”
In this new marketplace, core skills of flexibility, resilience, and reliability are what makes you visible in a sector where global changes are encouraging more independent journalists to become freelancers.
This raises the economic question: with the supply of workers increasing, how do you stop your rates from dropping?
“It’s not the moment that’s the problem,” Pullin said, “it’s the six or 12 months before and how you planned it.”
Time management is a core trait required to get ahead of the pack, but also to maximise the value of your time while also reducing wasting other people’s. So, what can you do to prepare for the sell before the opportunity has arrived? Make it easy to buy you.
By embracing variations, employing patience, and sharing a vision of success, your own ease of access for prospective employers can separate you from a crowded field of competitors.
“There will be a part of your brain that says, ‘they’re not the same as me’ and they’re not,” Pullin said, “but anything that falls under potential freelance gigs is like a school of fish.”
Start by thinking of yourself as a total package and define what you are known for using the following template:
• I am a…
• I am known for…
• I can help you achieve…
• I specialise in/I’m different from others because…
“Businesses own jobs,” she said, “but you own your career, and you choose where you want to go.”
By progressively reinventing the skillset that you can provide employers, you can build your brand and what you are known for. Will you be known for late invoices, or your adaptability to the market?
Organisation is paramount in developing a vision for where you’ll be in three years, setting goals every six weeks to ensure you’re on track, and in growing your digital presence and relevancy.
“The better your armour, the better the lance,” Pullin said as she rounded out the speech, “and the better you’re prepared to react.”
Main image of Marina Pullin by Zak Wheeler.