In most seasons of life, you have a time where you just ask, where do we go from here?
Queue the Alan Parsons Project.
That may have gone over the heads of a lot of younger folks…. okay, that may have gone over the heads of a lot of people my age. It's a song. And apparently a bad joke…
But seriously. An important part of any business plan, and one probably most entrepreneurs struggle with is, what do you do when it's time to move on? What do you do when it's time to move on? That may be even more true among those of us in the gig economy because it's something that sometimes we just slipped into, something we just tried out. Gig work is often an in the moment kind of thing. But an important part of planning is to consider what do we do when it's time to hang it up.
Being Ready for Changes
There are all sorts of things that happen that say it's time to move on.
Gig work is often some of the most temporary there is. That's often intentional. But even when you find that this IS a good gig, it won't last forever. There are things that can happen, such as:
- We just get tired of it
- The opportunity goes away. Keep an eye on AB5 in California. If that legislation passes, one of two things will happen: Gig workers in Caliornia will be classified as employees instead of independent contractors, or gig companies may decide that they can't afford to operate in California now and close up shop. Either way, the repercussions are huge and could have a nationwide ripple effect.
- Something better comes along
- W. e simply figure out that the opportunities just aren't enough once we figure in the actual cost of operating as independent contractors.
- If you're truly entrepreneurial, this may be the one for you: There is a definite ceiling to this. You are trading time for money, and there is only so much time. It might be a great gig now but it's not a gig that's going to grow with us.
Either way, the reality is that this probably isn't going to last forever. What do we do with that? Where do we go from here? What do you do next?
Gig Work: The Gateway Drug For Entrepreneurism
I believe that one of two things will come out of doing this independent contractor work in the Gig economy, or at for those of us doing so full time
- The reality of being an independent contractor hits us somewhere. Maybe it's the taxes, or the true expense comes home. It might be the lack of benefits. At some point you become ready for a typical job.
- This becomes a gateway drug for an entrepreneurial future. You got a taste of the independence. Being your own boss is seeming pretty attractive. You start thinking of opportunities that have less of a ceiling.
Both routes are cool. Either way, we have to ask, what do we do when it's time to move on. What do we do next?
What Do We Want to Do When We Grow Up?
Developing an exit strategy is going to start with getting a better feel for what you really enjoy doing. Ask yourself: If you could do anything at all, no limits, is there anything at all that you could do that would make you feel completely alive, that you loved doing? What would that be?
Dig into your why for ideas
I encourage you to go back to the third episode in this series. In that, we talked about your why. We talked about digging deep into why you were doing this. Don't be satisfied with saying it's about money. Dig deeper. Why do you need the money? And why is that important? Keep digging deeper asking why each answer is important to you, and that's one way that helps you find your passions.
Discover your passions
Where are your passions. This is a good time to start thinking about opportunities to dig into working in areas you are passionate about. I remember about ten years ago, I was realizing telecom wasn't what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. To be honest, as I looked into my passion I was having trouble identifying what it was. I used to joke that my passion was in finding my passion.
I'm sure some of you can relate to that. That's okay. It's a starting point. It was a time for me that started some real soul searching and led me to the projects that I'm doing now, stuff that I support with my delivery work (my why) and stuff that gives me a true sense of meaning. Soul searching is a great start to the whole exit strategy thing.
A great resource in this that I recommend is that you go look up Dan Miller and 48 Days to the Work You Love. He has some great material that helped me think through a lot of things.
Take Advantage of This Opportunity
I know, you're thinking… what opportunity?
Think about what you do all day. Drive around. Think about an advantage we have in delivery that we don't with rideshare – we get to choose what we listen to.
So how is this an opportunity?
Folks, there are so many resources out there for us. There are podcasts out there on an unlimited number of topics. Heck, there's a guy who has a podcast about the business of delivery work in the gig economy. There are audio books galore available.
Your time going from delivery to delivery is a great opportunity to start learning. To start getting ideas. As you hone in on our passions, or as you search for resources in your passions, take advantage of the time opportunity you have. You're getting paid to learn!
Update: I talk about how I did exactly this on another blog. I wrote about growing my blog and how long it took to start earning money on it. I used my time delivering to listen to podcasts and audio books and learn how to grow my site. It's an incredible opportunity to train yourself.
Some possible resources
I have found that an Audible subscription has been one of the best resources for me. It has allowed me to use my drive time to learn things about the projects that I work on. It has allowed me to learn more about how to set things like this website and podcast up. Also check out your local library, you can check out audio downloads and it's FREE. Sometimes though the items that are most helpful might not be immediately availablle.
Get to know the people who are doing podcasts in areas you are passionate about. If you have caught the entrepreneurial bug there are a ton of good content providers out there. You have to go check out Gary Vaynerchuk (or Gary Vee is his handle on a lot of social media). He puts out so much content and, while he can get explicit, he can also really get you motivated. Patt Flynn with Smart Passive Income and John Lee Dumas with Entrepreneurs on Fire also put good information. There are so many others, but what you'll find is that as you start listening to some, you start learning about others that can be better tuned to where your interests are.
Be Ready for What Lies Ahead.
I really press to be optimistic. In the light of pay fee reductions I prefer to focus on what we can do about it and where we can take advantages to thrive. But I also want to stress realism.
I don't believe the recent round of delivery fee reductions for couriers by a number of platforms is the end. Platforms are under pressure to reduce the commissions they charge to restaurants and if that happens, our delivery fees will be cut again. If you watch what Uber and Lyft have done with constant reductions over the years, you know you can expect the same in our section of the gig economy.
Maybe that's a writing on the wall kind of thing. But here's the deal – I love the opportunity in delivery gig work, but one of the reasons I love it so much is that it can expose us to even greater opportunities. Be ready. Start crafting an exit plan.
You can do great things here. You can do even greater things beyond here. Start preparing yourself for greater.