Last week on Friday, I was honored to speak at the first ever Gigstarz event in Kampala. My speech was about how to meet clients’ needs, and it was started with how I started a freelance gig company, Kahill Insights Company Limited. After the event, the few people I interacted with brought to my attention the lack of knowledge on how one handles themselves in this business. So what is a Gig Economy and who are GigStarz?
Gig Economy is one characterized by the prevalence of freelance and short-term contracts jobs or work as opposed to permanent jobs. People who take on these jobs are called GigStarz.
During my talk, I mentioned the following things that clients need from Gigstarz and how the latter can keep them happy;
- Clarify and Communication: It should come naturally for a freelance to finish work earlier than a full time contracted workers, but when one is unable there is the need for them to communicate. One crossed wire could mean the death of a project and the end of your gig with that client or the others that one would have referred you to.
One of the things that helped me move my gig hustle to a company was always having to make a checklist with every new client that came through. These checklists help with clarifying and ensuring that no ambiguity or potential for misunderstanding. They included:
- Purpose – the end goal or objective of the project.
- Parameters – where does the project begin and end, and are there any specifications to include or avoid?
- Scope – what is the big picture and how does this specific objective fit into it
- Measures – how will your progress and success be gauged for this project?
- Reports – how will you communicate your progress to your client?
- Deadlines – the precise date in which all work on the project must be completed.
After understanding all the above then sign the contract and start on the work.
- Loyalty: Having a part-time contract doesn’t mean you don’t owe that organization or company’s brand loyalties. At the event, I emphasized the need for Gigstars to first audit themselves in regard to their general person affiliations and then take on jobs they are willing to keep speak about or for even when they are no longer their clients.
Gigstarz who are loyal to brands transit to brand ambassadors in their different circles and this grows their wealth.
- Professional and Personable: Emphases here is still on the Gigstarz not making a mistake of thinking that because you do not work in an office with a dress code that donning yoga pants or gym shorts when meeting a client is quirky or charming. It’s neither. Freelance or contract work is your profession: dress professionally.
This is not to say that you should bench your personality. Quite the opposite. Engage your clients, develop professional relationships based on mutual respect and considerate boundaries.
- Keep Detailed Records: Organization is imperative when you are essentially your own boss. You will need to develop a filing system for projects, clients, payments and invoices. You will also want to keep a communication log of the date, time and brief description of each time you speak with a customer; use a digital voice recording if you and the third party agree on it.It may seem excessive to go to these lengths just for the sake of accuracy, but the first time you have a “But you said…” situation regarding payment or after you have a disagreement about what work was promised or discussed, you will be glad you have those records and/or recordings handy.Tip: Set up quarterly payments with the IRS in advance. It will depend on the kind of contract or freelance work you do, but with most “gig” work, taxes are not automatically deducted from the individual, private payments you receive. It is up to the freelancer to keep track of earnings and to pay Uncle Sam, either quarterly or annually, so sloppy bookkeeping can cause serious problems.