Just How Big Is the Gig Economy?

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Just How Big Is the Gig Economy?

In the latest report and study published by the Pew Research Center there is about a quarter of all Americans that earn money on a digital platform.

Though there is conflicting news about how big and how resilient the gig economy is and there are some that even have trouble identify what exactly the gig economy, this new research from Pew is pointing to how the future of work may be changing and certainly the future of how American families earn income.


Let’s be clear, the findings was that 24% of Americans said they either earned some or all of their income from a digital means and these are wide ranging.  Some include:

  • Doing Online Surveys (for compensation)
  • Ride-hailing services (like Uber or Lyft)
  • Cleaning/Laundry services
  • Shopping/Delivery (Like UberEats)

The above usually are consider independent contract roles while there are still others who made money online or through digital means in the following ways:

  • Selling Used / Second-hand goods (like on Ebay)
  • Handmade items (like from Etsy)

What Motivates People to Become Freelancers?

One of the more interesting findings is the motivations of why freelancers in the gig economy chose to do what they do.  (That’s also one of the questions we ask our Featured Freelancers.)  Here are the results:

  • 45% of respondents said they have a ‘Need to control their own schedules’
  • 28% of respondents said they do it ‘Just for fun or for something to do’
  • 25% of respondents said that they do it because there is a ‘Lack of other jobs where they live’
  • 24% of respondents said they do it ‘To gain job experience’

More than any other response, it’s enlightening and heartening to know that almost a third of people who participated in the survey are doing this for fun.  That’s very rewarding and satisfying to hear that people either fell into and are having fun or they let fun lead them to the path of Solopreneurship, Freelancing by enjoying themselves.

I would’ve been much more interested if Pew had broken down it further into two categories — one where we see respondences can check off “Just for fun” and separately “For something to do.”  Those seem a bit different to me and it’ll be great to see deeper motivations behind moving to freelancing as a primary source of income.

It’ll be interesting to hear about what YOUR motivations are and why you are considering Freelancer like over 60+ Million Americans or why you have chosen it in the first place?  Be great to hear you thoughts.




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