12 Strategies to Stand Out in a Saturated Gig Economy

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By Jacob Maslow

In the bustling gig economy, standing out can be a challenge. To help you navigate this, we’ve gathered twelve insightful tips from CEOs, founders, and other professionals. From showcasing data-driven results to building your brand via thought-leadership content, these experts share their strategies for setting yourself apart.

  • Showcase Data-Driven Results
  • Develop a Unique, Authentic Identity
  • Master Effective Time Management
  • Commit to Continuous Upskilling
  • Create a Niche Personal Brand
  • Highlight Past Value Creation
  • Focus on Relationship Building
  • Specialize in Industry-Specific Services
  • Offer Personalized Service
  • Market High-Value Expertise
  • Network Proactively Post-Application
  • Build the Brand via Thought-Leadership Content

1. Showcase Data-Driven Results

Don’t just tell; show. As part of my writing portfolio, I offer stats to back up my work so clients feel confident in hiring me. For example, I’ll offer insights into monthly traffic, backlinks, the number of organic keywords, and conversions (when possible) so the client sees how I’ve gotten real results for others. With clients scrutinizing every cost, they want to get the most value for their money, so showing this data can help tip the scales in my favor.

Alli Hill, Founder and Director, Fleurish Freelance

2. Develop a Unique, Authentic Identity

Developing a unique brand identity has been my strategy to stand out because it is hard to compete with your unique brand of you!

I leveraged my skills, experience, and interests in developing my website as a showcase for my work, all under my name.

This means my clients can recognize my niche expertise, rich content that delivers value to my readers, and unique, informative infographics.

Throughout my website, there is consistency in branding and content marketing, which aims to reinforce my brand identity.

Authenticity is crucial to me, and continuous adaptation based on feedback and data is key to maintaining my brand, which sets me apart from the competition.

Katharine Gallagher, Professional Growth Specialist- Education, Career, Recruitment, Productivity, Business, katharinegallagher.com

3. Master Effective Time Management

Managing my time effectively has set me apart in the crowded gig economy. This skill has been instrumental in my ability to carefully organize my work schedule, enabling me to complete tasks well before their deadlines consistently.

When you control your time, you won’t resort to feeble explanations for why a job wasn’t finished. This, in turn, fosters a solid and dependable working rapport with your employer. This skill is not just a personal asset. It’s a vital key to success in the modern freelancing and gig-work world, where reliability and professionalism are highly valued.

In conclusion, effective time management has played a pivotal role in setting me apart in the competitive gig economy. Beyond the practical benefits, having this skill also eliminates the need for bad excuses, fostering trust and reliability in my working relationships with employers.

Peter Bryla, Community Manager, ResumeLab

4. Commit to Continuous Upskilling

As a recruiter working in the tech sphere, I know how hard it is for gig workers to set themselves apart. Often, bouncing from contract to contract means you’re a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Moving between companies leaves little chance to move up.

To stand out, you’ll need to sacrifice some evenings and weekends. I always tell my candidates: if you’re not upskilling, hiring managers wonder what you’re doing with your off time.

When your contract ends, ask your superiors if you can shadow them without pay before moving onto your next position. Not only will this help you gain on-the-job experience, but they’ll likely be impressed with your dedication, making it more likely your next role at the company will be a full-time one.

Then, pick up a college course or enroll in a training program. Search for adult learning in your area; these classes tend to have flexible hours workable around your existing gig.

Staying stagnant is not an option in today’s economy.

Rob Reeves, CEO and President, Redfish Technology

5. Create a Niche Personal Brand

Navigating the gig economy is like venturing into a bustling marketplace—you need a standout stall to attract customers. For me, the secret sauce lies in specialized skills and a killer personal brand.

In this sea of freelancers, I honed in on what makes me unique. Instead of casting a wide net, I fine-tuned my skills to become an expert in a niche. This made me more efficient and turned me into the go-to person for a specific set of tasks. Specialization is my beacon in the fog of competition.

Now, let’s talk about personal brand. In a world where everyone’s selling something, I realized authenticity is my strongest currency. I don’t just showcase what I can do; I let clients peek into who I am. Social media became my canvas—a place where I share my journey, insights, and the occasional behind-the-scenes chaos.

Sai Blackbyrn, CEO, Coach Foundation

6. Highlight Past Value Creation

The key to standing out in our saturated gig economy is to focus on the value you created for previous clients and employers. The best way to do that is to emphasize your most significant accomplishments in your applications for freelance gigs. This approach helped me secure high-profile clients before establishing my own business.

Alfonso Colasuonno, Co-Founder, Real Unicorn Apparel

7. Focus on Relationship Building

In the saturated gig economy, it’s not just about snagging a job; it’s about creating lasting connections. One invaluable tip is to focus on building a solid list of clients and ongoing projects. This guarantees steady work and opens doors to new opportunities through referrals. When you start, it might be tough, but good work leads to more work over time. Keep your quality consistent, and your network will naturally grow.

Marco Genaro Palma, Content Marketing Manager, PRLab

8. Specialize in Industry-Specific Services

Differentiation is crucial in the travel gig economy because many provide similar services. Specialization wins in tourism.

Start with rigorous travel industry market research to find unmet needs and overlooked places with strong demand and low competition. Choose a field you like and can apply your abilities in. Passion and subject matter expertise will set you apart and make your work more enjoyable.

Specialized travel services are popular because they satisfy distinct traveler demands.

Picture being a freelance trip planner in the competitive gig economy. Market research led you to “Culinary and Wine Tours in the European Countryside” as your product specialty. This market segment organizes gourmet tours to beautiful European nations to taste traditional cuisine.

You studied European wines, cuisines, and dining customs. Your travel work biography, website, and advertising show you provide exceptional food and drink experiences.

Aiden Higgins, Senior Editor and Writer, The Broke Backpacker

9. Offer Personalized Service

Personalized service is one distinctive characteristic an entrepreneur has in a saturated gig economy. It costs nothing to develop and implement that and can set you apart from competitors.

That means a host of things, depending on your industry. It could mean flexible scheduling with clients so you meet them after they get off work or on weekends. It may mean flexible billing, which is becoming more crucial with the economy the way it is.

It also means returning phone calls promptly and calling customers by name so they know you care about them individually. It’s a million little things that you do that build both reputation and loyalty.

Michael Gorlovsky, Orthodontist, Windermere Orthodontics

10. Market High-Value Expertise

Setting yourself apart in the saturated gig economy can be a daunting challenge. However, one practical tip is to emphasize high-value tasks you are adept at and market yourself as an expert in that field.

For instance, if you’re a programmer who has created a custom software suite for small businesses, use this as your value proposition when bidding for jobs on freelancing websites. Highlighting an uncommon yet important skill lets employers know that despite the many others they could choose from, yours offers qualities above and beyond the average selection of applicants.

This presents you as an expert, not just looking for gigs, but a serious provider of quality services—setting you apart from other professionals within the gig economy.

Carly Hill, Operations Manager, Virtual Holiday Party

11. Network Proactively Post-Application

Don’t rely solely on your application to do the talking. For example, once you’ve applied, contact whoever you can to discuss the job posting. Get on LinkedIn, research the company’s hiring or talent acquisition people, and connect with them. Not all will respond, but the few who do could mean making instrumental relationships for your future and the likelihood of you landing the job.

Erin Banta, Co-Founder and CEO, Pepper Home

12. Build the Brand via Thought-Leadership Content

To set yourself apart in a saturated gig economy, building a strong personal brand is crucial. One specific tip to achieve this is to showcase your expertise and personality through thought-leadership content.

Create and share valuable content related to your expertise, such as blog posts, videos, webinars, or social media updates. Share your insights, opinions, and experiences, demonstrating your knowledge and passion for your work. Consistently producing high-quality content in your niche positions you as an authority in your field. When potential clients see your name associated with valuable insights, they are more likely to trust your expertise.

Your unique perspective and voice can help you stand out from the competition. Even in a crowded marketplace, no one else has your exact combination of experiences and viewpoints. Sharing your personality and personal experiences allows clients to connect with you on a human level.

Bruno Gavino, Founder, CEO, CodeDesign

Quick Tips: Implementing Expert Strategies

Before you dive into the expert tips, here are some quick, actionable steps you can take to start standing out in the gig economy today:

  • Start with Self-Assessment: Know your skills, strengths, and areas for improvement.
  • Set Clear Goals: Define what success looks like for you in the gig economy.
  • Curate Your Portfolio: Select works that showcase a wide range of your skills and successes.
  • Craft an Elevator Pitch: Be ready to articulate your value in 30 seconds.
  • Consistency is Key: Make sure your resume, LinkedIn, and personal website are all in sync.

By following these tips, you’re not just reading advice—you’re taking the first steps to implement it.

Additional Resources for Gig Workers

Knowledge is power, especially when navigating the gig economy. Here are some tools and platforms to help you get ahead:

  1. Freelancer Websites: Platforms like Upwork, Freelancer, and Toptal can help you find gigs that suit your skills.
  2. Networking Platforms: Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn and Twitter for making connections.
  3. Skill-building Courses: Websites like Coursera and Udemy offer courses to help you upskill.
  4. Time Management Tools: Apps like Asana or Trello can help you keep track of multiple projects.
  5. Invoicing Software: Tools like FreshBooks or QuickBooks make handling finances a breeze.

Remember, the gig economy is ever-evolving, so staying up-to-date with these resources can give you a significant edge.

Feel free to return to these tips and resources as you navigate your gig economy journey. Good luck out there!

Images Courtesy of DepositPhotos