Written by: Lawrence Mager, Founder, Readybrain.net

When you experience a career setback like losing your job, you may be frustrated to find that finding new employment is not as easy as the statistics might lead you to believe.

But you gotta eat. And one way to weather the tide is to start your own business.

With the rise of peer-to-peer marketplace apps like Uber and Airbnb, the “gig economy” is a great option for those who are in between jobs or looking for more flexibility. Getting paid by the gig, or small job and offers more freedom than a traditional job.

For example, many remote gigs allow you to work from home — or anywhere. Who hasn’t dreamed of working from the beach?

Right now, experts say that freelancers, independent contractors and on-demand workers will make up 45 per cent of the Canadian workforce by 2020. Many of them are opting to work part-time, because they don’t want the hours or just don’t want to commit to one employer.

You can turn your hobby or passion into a career, such as selling your handmade crafts, managing a blog, graphic design or dog walking (you get exercise and you get to hang out with dogs!)

The great thing is that you don’t have to do just one thing. You can supplement your income with a variety of gigs, like food or grocery delivery, ridesharing, teaching fitness classes, landscaping, pet sitting, pet grooming, housekeeping, personal styling, photography and more.

When one revenue stream slows or stops due to season or demand, you can do something different. It prevents boredom and you are in control.

The downside of gig work is that you don’t get paid for time off and you have to buy your own health insurance and pay your own taxes. You also have to be very self-motivated to keep finding clients to keep up your income.

If you need more gigs, you’ve got to find them. That can be very scary for those used to getting a steady paycheck. Also, instead of having one boss, you have many (but you get to say no to the ones you don’t like).

Ready to get started in the gig economy? Here’s some advice:

Just get started

Do whatever it is you do and start looking for clients. If you still have a full or part-time job that you want to get out of, you can still do your passion project on the side until you feel confident enough to set sail on your own.

Tell your friends 

They can help get the word out that you’re offering a service that may be helpful to others. Social media marketing works so use your friends to promote.

Check on licenses

Check local ordinances to make sure that your preferred job doesn’t require certain certifications or licenses, such as food preparation or in-home childcare.

Manage your time

Use a calendar and time tracker to help you prioritize your tasks. It can make all the difference in the world to your success and it can help you determine exactly how much you’re getting paid per hour. (It might be more than you think.)

Save money

If possible, stash away money while you still have a full-time job and don’t spend it. You should have a little extra saved up for emergencies and possible start-up costs.

Save for retirement

If you still have a Retirement Savings Plan from your employer, consider rolling it over into a Tax-Free Savings Account and keep putting money into it. Just because you’re free of your cubicle doesn’t mean you don’t want to retire someday.

It may seem like a huge leap and can be scary for some, but if you’re not working at all, you might as well do something. That career setback might end up being the best thing that ever happened to you. And when people ask where you work, you get to say, “I’m self-employed.”

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