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Modules about the Gig economy 1. An introduction to the gig economy 2. Gig economy and financial implications 3. Market yourself in the gig economy

gig economy

INDEX Module 1 What is the gig economy?........................................................................................................ 4 Professions in the gig economy............................................................................................ 9 Online platforms and the gig economy...........................................................................20 Pros and Cons of the gig economy..................................................................................... 32 History and future of the gig economy............................................................................ 34 Sources................................................................................................................................................... 37

Module 2 Characteristics of GIG workers ............................................................................................... 41 Skills and competences in the gig economy................................................................ 43 Skills and competences of platform workers............................................................... 47 Financial Implications of the gig economy................................................................... 50 Sources................................................................................................................................................... 53

Module 3 Marketing and communicatie................................................................................................ 56 Marketing strategies...................................................................................................................... 56 Branding................................................................................................................................................ 57 Social media......................................................................................................................................... 59 Termine your target group........................................................................................................ 59 persona’s................................................................................................................................................ 61 Different kinds of social media platforms....................................................................... 62 Creating and deploying content........................................................................................... 65 Online marketing tools................................................................................................................ 68


gig economy

Module 1 An introduction to the gig economy


gig economy

Learning outcomes After completing this module you: • • • • •

Know what the gig economy is and can explain the concept Be able to distinguish the different types of gig workers; Know the basic history and timeline of how the gig economy evolved over the past years; Understand how the gig economy affect your future career; Be able to define and debate the pro’s and con’s of the gig economy.

Time 16 hours to complete the entire module (pick and choose certain items is also possible).

Competencies By participating in this module, you will develop the following competences: • • • • • • •

Learning by doing Researching & curiosity Debating, effective oral communication, self-control, observation Critical thinking, creative thinking Perseverance, persistence Asking questions Read body language

Assignments and tools This module includes 2 case studies, 6 assignments and 4 tools.


gig economy

What is the gig economy? The gig economy is a popular term for freelance or contract workers who take freelance jobs on-demand, and are often working multiple freelance jobs at once. These multiple freelance jobs are referred to as “gigs,” thus the name the gig economy.

The gig economy and on-demand services have replaced many full-time jobs into a one-time gig. From hiring a graphic designer to create a flyer for your sisters 16th birthday party to having your pizza or groceries dropped off at your doorstep, we all have experienced the gig economy somehow. Maybe even from both perspectives: as seller and buyer. In a gig economy, temporary, flexible jobs are common and companies tend to hire independent contractors and freelancers instead of fulltime employees. A gig economy undermines the traditional economy of full-time workers who rarely change positions and instead focus on a lifetime career.

The video explains the concept of the gig economy in less than 2 minutes. Press the button to watch the video.

This 1 hour video of Professor Paul Oyer of Stanford Graduate School of Business explains the gig economy in more detail and discussed the threats and opportunities for workers and employers. 5

gig economy

Research assignment Google the term ‘gig economy’ and answer the following questions: 1. Write down the definition of the gig economy. 2. What different terms for ‘gig economy’ did you find? 3. What is the word for a ‘gig-worker’ in your own language? 4. Mention 3 examples of gig work. Use the tool below for support with researching online.

In your research about the gig economy you may have found that different terms and names are used to define this new economy. The gig economy also includes (and is sometimes called) the on-demand economy, command economy, peer economy, flex economy or platform economy.


gig economy

Gig economy

Peer economy

Demand economy

Command economy

GIG ECONOMY Flex economy

Crowd work Platform economy

Contingent workers

Freelance workers Consultants Payrollers

Temporary contract workers


Independent contractor Freelancer

Temporary employees

Hours contract

Remote workers Seasonal workers

If we compare the traditional economy with the gig economy there are a few important characteristics than distinguish the two economic models. In a traditional economy, people become employed by a company to carry out the work for that one company only. Workers generally work from nine to five. This offers employees stability and allows them to concentrate solely on tasks benefiting the company they’re contracted to work for on an ongoing basis. In a gig economy people do not have a permanent contract and work flexible, as well as regarding the working hours they work and regarding the type of work they are doing.


gig economy

Traditional Economy

Gig Economy

An economy where a company employs people on a full-time basis to carry out a particular task. Fulltime workers.

An economy where flexible and temporary jobs are available and companies hire freelancers and independent contractors instead of fulltime employees.

Long term working relations and permanent jobs.

Freelancers and flexible workers (independent).

Work relationships are person based.

Short term working relations, one-off ‘gigs’

Security of a fixed contract, social benefits, pension, etc.

Work relationships are skill based.

The safety of a fixed contract doesn’t stimulate lifelong learning.

Workers need to arrange social security, pension, etc. themselves.

Regional market.

Strong focus for individuals on the necessity of lifelong learning.

Businesses have higher expenses for wages and other labour costs. Static work environment. Low level of flexibility. Employers have overhead costs for their workers such as benefits, office space and training. Creates work monotony hence discourages creativity and enthusiasm.


Global market. Businesses have low recruitment and selection costs (as there’s a large pool of candidates to choose from). Dynamic environment. High level of flexibility. Employers can eliminate unnecessary overhead costs such as benefits, office space as well as training. Breaks work monotony hence promotes creativity and enthusiasm.

gig economy

Assignment From your own experiences, your networking or via google: Find out the reasons why some people prefer working in the gig economy and some prefer the traditional economy. What are the common grounds (for example characteristics, age, money) of the people that prefer working in the gig economy? What are the common grounds (for example characterustucsm age , money) of the people that prefer working in traditional economy?


gig economy

Professions in the gig economy We now know that a gig worker is a worker with a flexible employment contract. Essentially all type of professions can be turned into gig jobs. The different type of work relations include temps (temporary contract workers), seconded workers, payrollers, seasonal workers, freelancers, consultants and workers with zero-hours contracts. The gig workers or ‘solo self-employed’ are a very diverse group. Basically gig jobs can be anything from side-hustle jobs to freelance projects based on peoples professional skills.

People may take on a gig job to make extra money in addition to the full time employment contracts they have, either to pay off a dept or to make themselves less dependent on fulltime employment. Or people fully provide for themselves and their family by going from one gig to another.


gig economy

The table below shows some examples of gig jobs. Drivers & Delivery

Taxi drivers were traditionally employed by companies. Since the rise of the platform ‘Uber’ people can use their own car to make money as a driver. If you own a car you can choose to drive around as a taxi for a few hours on a busy and high-paying day or time. Anyone with a car could link up with people who needed a ride. The first company that turned this supply and demand for rides into a viable business model was Uber, which offered drivers the ability to make a few bucks driving other people around. It was advertised as something you could do part time to earn a little extra money instead of sitting home playing games on your smartphone. Thousands and thousands of people jumped at the opportunity. But a funny thing happened on the way to the gig economy revolution. The people doing the actual driving found the were spending their entire day behind the wheel and making far less money than they thought they would… There are also Gig economy food-delivery companies that offer home delivery of food from local supermarkets or restaurants. Typically, customers use a gig company’s smartphone app or website to select and pay for products. The gig companies hire workers to deliver the goods. However, instead of classifying some of these workers as employees, many companies require drivers to sign agreements that label them “independent contractors.”

Cleaners & other home services

People can have multiple jobs as a cleaner, without working for a large cleaning company. This is not a new phenomenon, people have been working as cleaners on a flexible basis for years. Also handymen and handywomen can work as giggers by offering small jobs like hanging paintings or furniture assembly. If you’re good at fixing things, the gig economy is a great fit for you. Many people are hiring someone to lend a hand for different projects, so handymen have many options in the gig economy. From setting up a new appliance, to fixing some pipes, or just moving something heavy, there are a huge variety of needs to be met. There is an ever-growing need for people who can work with their hands and fix things, and are available ondemand. If you fit this criteria, you should consider getting regular gigs and creating connections and opportunities to create a real gig economy system through this kind of work.


gig economy



The Gig economy offers a huge opportunity for B2B relationships of purchasing products with a good price which is not published to the general public. Therefore, you can become a trader in the Gig economy. Gig economy offers a new type of trading: drop shipping. This means selling your products online without owning any physical inventory. You are an intermediary between the customers and the suppliers. Here is the process: find the wholesale dropship supplier(s) that match your products -> make an online store to sell the products connect your store with the supplier(s) using a dropship software when someone places an order on your store, the order will be sent to your supplier your supplier will then send the order directly to your customer on your behalf. With this kind of trading, the supplier will charge you the wholesale cost and probably dropship and order fees (depending on the suppliers). The difference between the cost(s) you have to pay and the product’s selling price is your profit.

(Artistic) Craftsmen

Craftsmen and makers create objects and sell it directly to their buyers without the interference of a shop, art gallery or other mediator. Craftsmen may use matchplatforms to find their customer but the item is directly sold to the customer, creating a very short supply chain.

Farm workers and seasonal jobs

Of course, some areas of work, such as seasonal agricultural work, have always been and always will be performed on a seasonal basis. As technology advances, it has become easier to work independently while working from the comfort of our home, but sometimes we want some fresh air, some outdoors and to get away from our homes. Examples of other farm-gig are fruit picking, wine making and other agricultural jobs. In addition to the labour gigs as mentioned above, more and more agriculture flex-workers are agricultural engineers that solve technical problems that affect agricultural efficiency and production.

gig economy

Builders & construction

The constructions workers can get many construction/ building contracts during the on-demand time. With the workers from gig economy, the companies do not have to consider labour resource constraints that could prevent them from doing the work. In the lowdemand time, these workers may have less contracts. What usually happens at this time is the construction workers will make a portfolio about themselves and their previous buildings and register it at the working agencies that connect homeowner with local service workers to carry out home improvement, maintenance and renovation, or they take some small jobs from the news, social media hiring posts.

Childminders / Childcare

The constructions workers can get many construction/ building contracts during the on-demand time. With the workers from gig economy, the companies do not have to consider labour resource constraints that could prevent them from doing the work. In the lowdemand time, these workers may have less contracts. What usually happens at this time is the construction workers will make a portfolio about themselves and their previous buildings and register it at the working agencies that connect homeowner with local service workers to carry out home improvement, maintenance and renovation, or they take some small jobs from the news, social media hiring posts.

Heath care professionals

With a gig model, healthcare organizations would be able to hire a professional for one day, several days or a few months based on their staffing needs. This enables providers to hire fewer full-time staff, which gives them a pool of workers to tap into as needed. But the rising trend of gig workers also establishes a large pool of adults - many of whom are not making much more than minimum wage - who are without regulated benefits and legislative protection when it comes to healthcare. Combine this with the rise in patient financial responsibility (e.g. caused by high-deductible health plans -HDHPs- in the UK or the persoonsgebonden budget -pgb- in the Netherlands) it is clear that the new wave of “gig patients” will have a deep impact on the business of healthcare. For healthcare employers, talent shortages are the primary motivating factor. Healthcare workers are more and more represented by millennials, a generation that wants to work flexibly.


gig economy


IT professionals

Increasingly, highly educated and experienced professionals are also working as freelancer. Gig IT professionals would be one of the most lucrative gig workers. Individuals can work wherever and whenever they want. When working independently, they can set a fee for the services they do for their client. IT professionals can also temporarily work for other IT companies when the companies are running few projects at the same time and don’t have enough employees. Some companies are hiring “penetration testers” on a freelance basis. Basically, these cybersecurity professionals will test a company’s network for vulnerabilities. They will try to hack in, and see if an actually cybercriminal could hack in. Then, they help create systems that will protect data and keep hackers out. These independent contractors have important skills that make them vital for companies. This kind of gig is extremely lucrative, and very niche. Some companies need website and developer help, but don’t want to hire a whole workforce of IT professionals to do the work. This is where freelance programmers come in. Organizations often will have very specific tasks or projects that need to be done by a freelance programmer, making it easy for you to know exactly what’s expected and what work needs to be done. An important factor when looking at how the gig economy affects the IT sector is that workers can be recruited (and can work from) anywhere. IT professionals thus compete for their gigs with IT professionals from all over the world, including Top Technology countries like Russia, China and Singapore.

Financial advisors / accountants

It’s completely possible to be an accountant in the gig economy if you have the proper education, certifications, qualifications and experiences. Some freelance jobs in this field are: small business financial consultant, financial educator, retirement planning (e.g. for individuals or other freelances). There are many ways to create a solid gig economy system as an accountant. More and more customers and businesses want to find a single independent contractor who can help them get their finances on track, and aren’t interested in trying to find a full-time person or an entire firm to do the work for them. Gig economy accountants are the perfect solution.

gig economy

Hair & beauty workers

Hair and beauty workers that work as freelancers can either be beauty specialists that work directly for the customer or on-demand stylists and beauty workers that work for owners of established salons. Gig economy allows beauty artists, who have very limited ability to work in a salon or build their own freelance business (due to its costly expenses) to earn some money.


People who want a beautiful landscape/garden outside of their home can hire a gardener or landscape designer. Landscape designers can have but not always require formal education. Recommendations resulting from their experience of design work or other gardening work can certify them. Gardening requires knowledge (from experience or education) in several natural processes, including soil ecology, climates, plant physiology, water drainage, and pest infestations. Gardeners can work whenever and wherever they want. Their jobs may differ depending on their skills as the time of year (designing, cleaning, planting, maintaining, etc.). When working independently, they can set a fee for the services they do for their clients.

Bed & Breakfast owners

The gig or share economy is sometimes includes activities that involve sharing under-used resources, such as spare rooms or an entire house when people are on vacation. The owners of these resources (the providers) make them available to other individuals (the consumers). Until recently, the travel and accommodation industry was almost entirely organised in a linear fashion, in the sense that services were provided by companies with their own means of production and hiring their own staff. An intermediate sector complemented the industry, consisting of travel agencies that booked and distributed seats and rooms, and helped travellers find their way through multiple alternatives. Today a whole new type of intermediaries has emerged, offering travellers services similar to those of linear businesses, but in a very different way. The most prominent examples in the tourism sector is Airbnb with short-term accommodations.

Hospitality workers

Also in the hospitality sector, the gig economy is booming. Chefs, waiters, runners, baristas & mixologists are increasingly working as freelancer. In the hospitality sector, temporary staff can provide support and a helping hand to a hospitality business during periods of staff absence such as sickness, emergencies or holidays. Traditionally, restaurants, hotels and café’s rely on traditional temp agencies for flexible staff. Now, gig workers offer themselves through ondemand, short-term labour platforms.


gig economy

Creative jobs (film makers, photographers,


The gig economy allows freelancers to fulfill small projects outsourced by companies big and small. Individually, these jobs wouldn’t provide a full income, but they do allow creatives to try out new skills and pick and choose the tasks they want to do. The number of creative candidates that are moving to freelance work is increasing. A LinkedIn study found that Arts & Design and Media & Communications were the top industries for freelance workers (more than 80%). Companies that look to incorporate these gig workers are likely to be more agile and efficient and may find it easier to find the right talent for the job. The gig economy particularly fits these creative individuals, as they can pick the projects that they feel will add to their portfolios and/or that they feel truly passionate about. Like other jobs, they will have more flexibility in their job, which results in better work-life balance.

Regardless of the title, the gig economy workforce includes highly skilled specialists and consultants from every industry, and large corporations are increasingly hiring them to supplement their permanent staff. Also lower skilled workers are active in the gig economy, and use platforms to find clients. The flexibility and choice about when, where and how to work may give them greater job satisfaction, while their employers benefit by accessing a rich pool of talent, skills and experience without having to hire permanently.

In this 4 minute YouTube video a range of GIG economy jobs is explained (deliver groceries, virtual assistant, proofreading, handyman services, coding). Press the button to watch the video:

This 15 minute video below explains the concept of Dropshipping that is mentioned under ‘trading’ in the above table. Press the button to watch the video: 16

gig economy

Case study by Thao Do During the creation of the GIG training programme, several students from Vocational and Higher education were involved in the development of learning materials. Thao Do, an international student in the Netherlands, has interviewed and analyzed a Dutch student about her current income source during the pandemic time.

Thao Do

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Student of “International Hospitality Management” at NHLStenden.

“I heard about the Gig Economy concept before but did not pay much attention to it until I joined Learning Hub Friesland and got involved in the GIG project. It is a very interesting and appealing market indeed, comparing to the traditional one. However, I still feel like at this moment, it is mainly for people who don’t have a full-time job yet or who are tired of their former job and want to try something more flexible. But I don’t mind joining it once I have a detailed plan for myself. Hopefully the Gig economy will have more benefits like the traditional one soon.”

Interview summary Pandemic’s affect: From full-time student to (almost) full-time pastry pâtissière Pandemic’s affect: From full-time student to (almost) full-time pastry pâtissière Julia Steenkamp, a Hospitality Management student in the Netherlands, has taken a gap year from school and started her own online pastry business called “BakingwithJuul”. It’s all started when the pandemic hit the Netherlands around March 2020, that the whole country went to the first lockdown for few months. Julia, like other students, could not continue her part-time job and 17

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had to stay at home. When she was thinking of what to do in her free time besides school, she remembered that she has a strong passion for baking and her friends & family always complimented her on the sweets she made. So she decided to make and sell some “High tea cake box” on her Facebook and her baking Instagram account that she had created before. The boxes received lots of positive feedbacks and support from her friends, family and relatives. She even got a few orders from people out of her network. That is when she decided to take a year off from school and continue with her online pastry business. BakingwithJuul is an online pastry account on Instagram, it was first created in 2019 for Julia’s baking hobby, but now she uses it as an online store for promoting her cakes, receiving orders and feedbacks, etc. The store accepts any order related to the cake regardless of the order’s size or the cake’s complication. The average price for a 12-person cake with basic decoration is around €45, the more flavors or decorations, the more expensive the price is. Julia said in the beginning, the most difficult challenge was how to let more people know about her store. At that time, BakingwithJuul’s Instagram only had around 200 followers and that mostly came from her friends and family – who were the main customers back then. And now, BakingwithJuul has over 4,000 followers, with a lot more orders from people she doesn’t know and some people even drove almost 2 hours to her place just to pick-up their cakes! Her tips are: organizing a giveaway once in a while, sharing the baking recipes on Facebook, Instagram as well as other Facebook groups which have lots of members, putting the store’s Instagram link in her own social medica accounts and most importantly, word-of-mouth. To be more specific, Julia has some friends who are influencers in the Netherlands, so whenever she makes a cake for them, they will post it on their social media account(s) and tag her, which leads to more people knowing her store and her cakes. This also applies for other customers she knows, if they like her cake they will recommend it to more people. For Julia, the thing that keep her happy and motivated with her business is her customer satisfaction. She said whenever she receives good feedbacks from the customers, or when they let her know they really enjoyed the cake(s) and her service, or when they want to order more, it all makes her feel extremely happy. Besides that, the great support from her parents (his dad helps her with the baking process very often) is also a boost for her to continue BakingwithJuul. In terms of customer interaction, Julia thinks being personal is really important and powerful. Specifically, she always has a small talk with anyone who messages to order a cake, or has questions about the price, or when they come to pick up their cakes. This helps her know her customers more as well as give the customers the feeling of being remembered. In terms of choosing the ingredients, Julia buys most of 18

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her ingredients from the local farmers or local market/supermarket. So they are always fresh and seasonal. In terms of networking, she still posts her recipes on social media to get more followers, and recently she started promoting her store on Tiktok. The results Tiktok brings to her store is amazing, she said. In terms of skills & knowledge, she watches lots of Youtube videos about baking, or joining some Facebook baking groups in order to keep herself updated with all the trends and techniques. For the near future, Julia has some big plans: finishing her study, joining & wining a Dutch baking contest and preparing to register BakingwithJuul as a company. In the far future, she’s thinking of opening a physical store serving pastries with high tea. For those who like, or love baking and want to start a business with it, or simply want to sell your products, Julia advises to always practicing and improving your skills because like other industries, the pastry industry also changes quite frequently. She also emphasizes the importance of being patient and motivated as there will be days when you do not have any orders. And in case anyone needs help, or have questions about baking, she is very willing to help them with.


gig economy

Benefits of the GIG econony

Disadvantages of the GIG economy

Easy to join.

Easy to be kicked out if you don’t have the right strategy and enough patientmotivation.

If your online store is not registered, you don’t have to pay taxes (temporarily only). Getting to know more people (e.g. customers, suppliers) Full control of the working time and the number of orders. Able to combine with other jobs or studies. Positive word-of-mouth -> more orders. Improving your skills (e.g. marketing skills, management skills, financial skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills). Improving your skills (e.g. marketing skills, management skills, financial skills, problem-solving skills, communication skills).


Once you registered your business at the Commercial Register (Handelregister), you have to calculate all the taxes and fees yourself. Might have no pension when retiring (depends on your business type). May lose some customers when their order is rejected Stress, or burn-out if the time division is not well. Overwork if not planned smartly. No certificate/ diploma to prove your skills (50/50).

gig economy

Online platforms and the gig economy Jobs for gig workers are often facilitated by online platforms. Such platforms are typically online matchmakers or technology frameworks. By far the most common type are “transaction platforms”, also known as “digital matchmakers”. These platforms facilitate the buying, selling and sharing of goods and services and also the social activity between buyer and seller. The platforms are often based on ratings and payment systems routed through apps.

Gig workers often rely on these websites and apps to connect them with paying jobs. Over the last decades, more and more online platforms pop up that support the gig jobs that were mentioned in the previous table. The table below gives you an overview of examples of platforms that facilitate the match between seller and buyer

Drivers & Delivery Uber is a platform where those who drive and deliver can connect with riders, eaters, and restaurants. In cities where Uber is available, individuals can use the Uber app to request a ride. Deliveroo is a British Internet service that allows bicycle or scooter couriers to deliver meals to customers’ homes. The meals, which come from a range of affiliated partner restaurants, are ordered the website or with an app.


gig economy

Cleaners & other home services Helpling is an online booking and payment platform that provides on-demand home services. On the website or via an app, customers can book a vetted and insured cleaner. Handy is an online two-sided marketplace for residential cleaning, installation, and other home services. Founded in 2012 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the now New York-based company operates services in United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. TaskRabbit is an American online and mobile marketplace that matches freelance labour with local demand, allowing consumers to find immediate help with everyday tasks, including cleaning, moving, delivery and handyman work.


(Artistic) Craftsmen Etsy matches people looking for unique objects with independent sellers from all over the world. When you shop on, you can choose from millions of handmade and vintage items and craft materials created or collected by millions of independent sellers.

Farm workers and seasonal jobs Upwork American freelancing platform where enterprises and individuals connect in order to conduct business. Although based in San Fransicso California, Upwork serves clients around the world, making Upwork the largest freelancer marketplace in the world. Upwork is a platform for freelancers in all sectors, including Farm workers and seasonal jobs.

Builders & construction ing/ GigSmart is an American alternative staffing agency built for today’s modern gig economy. This platform represents a lot of sectors, including construction.

Childminders / Childcare Sitly is the biggest babysit matching site in the Netherlands.

Heath care professionals Medicentraal is a Dutch platform for Heath care professionals.

gig economy

Medical professionals HealthGigJobs is an American platform that allows individuals to search, find or post availability for health care gig-job income opportunities that match your credentials, availability, scope of practice and terms of engagement.

Trainers & coaches trainer-of-coach Hoofdkraan is a Dutch matching platform for freelancers and includes freelance work for trainers and coaches.

IT professionals Gigexchange is a global platform for gigs regarding consultancy, projects and IT freelance jobs.

Hair & beauty workers Beautyfreelancer is a Dutch platform for freelance hair & beauty workers.

B&B owners Airbnb is an American vacation rental online marketplace company based in San Francisco, California. Airbnb maintains and hosts a marketplace, accessible to consumers on its website or via an app.

Hospitality workers At Qwick we’re bringing freedom and flexibility to food and beverage professionals through high-quality, reliable, on-demand staffing.

Creative jobs

Platforms for creatives to connect with clients are popping up everyday with places like Fiverr, UpWork, and Behance opening up worlds of economic viability for artists. A few examples are: , www. and

Taskrabbit Ubet Deliveroo Upworkgigsmart Etsy Healthgigjobs 23

gig economy

This 7 minute video touches the basics of the platform economy. Press the button to watch the video:

The next 15 minute KPMG Nederland video dives a little deeper into the subject and reflects on the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the Platform Economy. Press the button to watch the video:

Assignment 1 1. What is your study / profession? 2. Research if there are only platforms available in your line of work? 3. What do you think about them? What are positive aspects? 4. What are negative aspects? 5. Will the platform economy have an impact on your future career?

Assignment 2 Interview stakeholders from the GIG regional alliances about the implications of the gig economy.


gig economy

Case study by Bento Roersma During the creation of the GIG training programme, several students from Vocational and Higher education were involved in the development of learning materials. Thao Do, an international student in the Netherlands, has interviewed and analyzed a Dutch student about her current income source during the pandemic time.

Bento Roersma

Frieschepalen, The Netherlands Student ‘Legal administrative officer (Human Resources)’ at Vocational College Friesland College.

“I am in the last year of my training and got introduced to the concept of the gig economy during my internship at Learning Hub Friesland. Freelance work however has been well known to me my whole life, as my mother is s freelancer. Now I am considering setting up my own gaming company, so who knows. I might be entering the Gig economy as well!” Analysed the following article: Volkskrant

Article summary Journalist Ron van Gelderen was forced to become a cleaner via the platform Helpling: ‘Pats! There goes the design lamp’ Journalist Ron van Gelderen worked for almost three years as an interchangeable force at the bottom of the labour market. For an average of 12 euros gross per hour, is Ron van Gelderen through intermediary Helpling the household of customers who earn double. His cleaning career was born out of necessity. After a year of caring for his terminally ill father, he fails to keep his head in his journalistic work. A long holiday in Antwerp and London, among others, turns out to be a futile flight forward. With hor eerily empty pockets and a crowded head, he arrived back in Amsterdam in 2017. By feeling physically good for social security benefits, he decides to work manually. 25

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He decided to go into cleaning. And put himself available on Helpling a German Internet platform. For many he came as called. After the first addresses, he quickly becomes adept at his new profession. It is getting better and better in the booked 2.5 to 3 hours to clean the entire house. Where he also got the useful tips from the customers. Because of the many cleaning work, his muscles got a boost. And his body handled it better than expected. The reviews are often great, so Ron van Gelderen scores an average of 4.9 for quality, a 4.9 for communication and a 5 for reliability. However, the difference is very big, because if he was a musical star, he would be shining in Carré after the five-star rain. But in reality,he’s on the shady back of the GIG Economy. The ratios are lost, Helpling withholds from the 15,50 euro 3,50 euro for administration. While as cleaners they go from address to address day in and day out. Where many new contacts are made. Nice customers and less fun customers who treat you like a cleaning robot. Who will let you do everything Unfair, not a good wage for all that hard work. One bad review and he has less chance of more new customers. If he has customers, who are never satisfied, his chances of getting new customers and therefore a firmer income are lower. But when people in particular have the bestseller How to build a Billion dollar app on their bedside table. And see themselves the next app billionaire rather than the new flex help. Be warned. Where a staircase reaches to heaven, usually a staircase also goes down.


gig economy

Benefits of the GIG econony

Disadvantages of the GIG economy

Get to work quickly.

Is seen as a robot that you can control from a distance.

Connecting with people. Getting to know nice people. Good for your body. Administration is done.

Getting to know less nice people. People think everything is self-explanatory.

Good reviews, more work

For little pay, settle in the customer’s calendars.

Positive rating immediately visible.

Feeling undervalued by the customer.

Being able to work flexibly

Poor review, less chance of getting a job for new customers. Low pay. Administration costs. Negative rating immediately visible.


gig economy

Gig Economy in Europe Gig Economy in Europe

Gig work is currently the main income source for 2% of EU adults and is the additional income for up to 8% of EU adults. Gig economy is reflected in the explosive growth of online platforms. Until few years ago (around 2016-2017) the Gig economy was still a new phenomenon in Europe . In the 2000s, the development of Internet and smartphones resulted in the rapid increase of the digitalization of the world economy. Online platforms based on digital technology have created digital jobs and employment forms.


Digital employment and jobs soon became well-known because of their accessibility, convenience and price competitiveness. There were not many research or studies about this phenomenon until early 2016. According to a study of Eurofound in 2018, there are different names for the term “Gig economy” used by 14 EU countries.

gig economy

Why work in Gig economy? The flexibility and variety of work Making extra money Better balancing career and family needs Having autonomy and control over the works you are doing Gain/ Improve personal skills (communication skills, time management skills, customer service skills, etc)

Websites and apps for joining the Gig economy as a source of income Performing the work for a website from your home: Upwork, Freelancer, Timeetc, Clickworker, PeoplePerHour Performing the work for several customers outside your home: Handy, Taskrabbit and Mybuilder Performing the work by driving customers to a location for a fee: Uber, Blablacar


gig economy

How Gig work affects the economy? Additional global impact: 540 million people could be seeking work through online talent platforms by 2025, and up to 230 million would find - Manyika et al.(2015) work there.

Online talent platforms like

Could add

$2.7 Trillion to global GDP that’s nearly 2% growth

Increase worldwide empleyment by

27 million* * full time quivalent position

Impact 10% of the global force Through full-time employement or supplemental income opportunities

For more European impact Around 70 million people have found work via a platform - Richard Heeks (2017) By 2025, one third of all work will be mediated via digital platforms - Guy Standing (2016) 63% of UK citizens and 68% of European employees (out of 10,000 EU working adults) are interested in, or consider selfemployment or freelancing - ADP UK (2017) Covid-19 has increased more political and media discussion around gig work in Europe, because European citizens have used food delivery and transport platforms more during the lockdowns, and also because gig workers have not qualified for the rights as the traditional workers. 30

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How Gig work is reshaping the law? A news from European Parliament in 2019 stated that the EU is working on improving the working conditions for gig workers with some new and better minimum working standards. The target workers here are on-demand workers, voucher-based workers (people for as cleaners, gardeners, assistants for the elderly) and workers with zero-hour contracts.

The rights of Gig workers in Europe Gig workers do not have the same rights as traditional fulltime employees, such as: Employment status Income from work (minimum wages) Access to unemployment and worker’s benefits Health & safety Social protection A research from PwC Legal (formerly Law Square) - a Belgian law company, in 2019 there were only 3 out of 10 studied EU countries provided the basic social protection for selfemployed individuals or gig workers: they are UK, Spain and Italy.

Credits to: Brett Helling author of Gig Economy brochure


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Assignment Group debate on the future of the gig economy.


Is Gig economy suitable for everyone?

How would it look like for software engineers, writers, data scientists,and finance professionals?

Is it the end of the traditional economy?

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Pros and Cons of the gig economy Watch the follwing two videos: Why The Gig Economy Is A Scam | James Bloodworth | TEDxManchester:

The Future is Freelancing | Laura Briggs | TEDxLehighRiverSalon

When the gig economy at first reached Europe, it almost seemed like EU member states were welcoming this new way of creating jobs. However, companies such as Uber, Airbnb or Deliveroo, have had some unforeseen social externalities. Recent study (FEPS, UNI Europa, University of Hertfordshire (2017) ‘Work in the European gig economy’) has revealed that while gig workers typically value the flexibility the work, there are also complaints about work organisation and working conditions.


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Gig economy Pros

Gig economy Cons

Some jobs can be paid higher than if they are in the traditional format.

The part-time jobs incomes may not be able to cover one’s basic needs and student debt payments (if have).

Multiple income sources More experiences and opportunities. Flexibility, independence, and values alignment. Workers can work where, when and what they want to work on. Businesses save time and money on hiring, training and retaining employees. Satisfaction from the gig economy consumers.

Instable income. Less social protection (vacation day, insurance, retirement plan, equipment provided, etc). Can bring loneliness. The gig workers need LOTS OF discipline and resilience. The need to adapt, evolve with the Gig economy for the companies. Can be uncertain and unpredictable because of the short jobs.

It remains to be seen whether the gig economy is a good thing or a bad thing for economic development overall, but for young people entering the labour market today, it is certainly both. For young individuals striving to find a good full-time job, the gig economy can be frustrating, but for some young individuals (those who want a diversity of experiences) the gig economy is the perfect opportunity. Regardless of the point of view, the gig economy is likely to stick around for the foreseeable future (and experience even further growth).


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History and future of the gig economy. The gig economy is not a new phenomenon—freelancers have been around for a while. So have consultants, temps, and so on. The reason why the gig economy has been under scrutiny for the past couple of years is that technology has lowered barriers to entry so much that “gigs” have become easily accessible to an large number of people. At first, the term ‘gig’ was commonly used to refer to musicians who would play wherever they could, going from place to place to get paid for their performance. A gig economy nowadays represents an environment in which temporary positions are common and organisations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. Labour market dynamics are shifting rapidly driven by technological progress and globalization. At the same time, less people are keen to engage as a full-time employee. On top of that, more and more organizations do not issue fixed contracts anymore.


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Assignment Roleplay debate about the pros and cons of the gig economy. In groups of 2, students pick a card containing a gig job description (see page 10-13 of this module). Each job description includes two roles, one of the gig worker and one of the paying customer. Students will prepare a debate about a gig work job in the sector from either the point of view of the gig worker or the point of view of the paying customar (which can be either a person or a company). Student prepare their role based on the questions that are written on the cards (tools 1) and after having ready the Debate introduiction (tool 2). After having prepared theuir agnle in the matter for 30 minutes, they enter the debate in front the of the class. The teacher chairs the debate and guides the students with questions like: -

Please introduce your sector and the role that you are in. What hourly fee do you think is reasonable in this sector for a gig worker? Why? What working conditions will you apply? Will you use an online platform to facilitate the work relationship? Why? Why not?

The class evaluates the debate and reflects on the different angles that were presented in the debate.

Download the debate tool.


Download the roleplay tool.

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Top reasons for working in the gig economy


Autonomy and control


Earning while seeking a better job


Balancing career and family needs


Only way of an income


Make extra money on the side



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Sources platformwerk-biedt-flexibiliteit-en-ruimte-maar-ook-onrust-en-onzekerheid https: // https: // BRI(2017)595897_EN.pdf platformwerk-biedt-flexibiliteit-en-ruimte-maar-ook-onrust-en-onzekerheid to%20McKinsey%2C%20most%20(70,and%20having%20autonomy%20and%20 control.

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


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Module 2 Gig economy workers and financial implications


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Learning outcomes After completing this module you: • • • • • • • • •

know where their strengths and development points are; can assess the gig economy as a career choice for themselves; are able to create a sound career for yourself; are aware of your mindset (fixed vs growth mindset); know the characteristics of gig workers; know what 21st century skills are and how to develop them; know what skills and competencies are important for gig workers; know how platform work works and its opportunities and threats. Understand the financial implications of the gig economy

Time 4 hours to complete the entire module (pick and choose certain items is also possible).

Competencies By participating in this module, you will develop the following competences: • • • • • •

Being able to asses risks Problem solving, flexibility, adaptability, agility Self-awareness Growth mindset Ability to assess own skillset Ability to adapt, ability to grasp favourable situations

Assignments and tools This module includes four assignments and three tools.


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Characteristics of GIG workers Every year, all over the world people start their own small business. From every profession, self-employed people emerge with a different perspective. Some young people would start as gig worker on the labour market after they graduate. But in most cases, a starting selfemployed person has had extensive to very extensive work experience in quite a few companies. Two groups can be pointed out here: by far the largest group starts its own business from an employment relationship because they feel that they can do a number of things better themselves. Starting from a benefit situation is also popular because professionals do not want to sit at home behind the geraniums with benefits, but actually want to provide for their own income. So what characteristics do gig workers have in common? Daring, dedication and perseverance, professional knowledge and entrepreneurial spirit. These are the most important qualities for a starting entrepreneur. Daring is absolutely necessary because you are going to let go of all the safe ways, you act for your own account and risk. No work means no income. Perseverance is a must because things will not always go your way. There will be good times and bad times, a little perseverance makes things a lot more pleasant. Without professional knowledge, it makes no sense to start as an entrepreneur. If your product or service that you are going to offer has no quality, you will quickly fall through the trap of clients. Entrepreneurial spirit, finally, is mostly instinctive but can also be practised and learned. When entering the gig economy, you will have to develop a sense of entrepreneurship. When people are employed, everything (think about insurance, pension, vacation money, etc.) is arranged for them. When you are a going worker you have to arrange this yourself. In addition to this, you will need to attract customers, set your price, etc.


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This video was made for the international Gig training week and gives and introduction to the gig economy. Joe English from the Meath County Counsil and Conor Patterson from WIN consultants Ireland explained the GIG economy concept. This video also show gig workers hints and tips for people entering this economy for the first time.


The Swot Analysis Make a SWOT analysis of yourself to see where your strengths and weaknesses are but also to spot threats and opportunities. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward.





Download the Swot Analysis tool here.


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Skills and competences in the gig economy When we talk about the skills a person needs for a particular job, you will often come across the phrases ‘hard skills’ and ‘soft skills’. So what exactly is the different between the two?

Hard Skills

Soft Skills

Teachable, measurable abilities that are crucial for a particular job. These skills can be clearly defined and are often learned rather than natural

Soft skills are more so personality traits that can aid a person in a particular job. While these are not absolutely crucial for a job, they are extremely helpful and can make all the difference between success and failure.

Examples of hard skills:

Examples of soft skills:

Interpersonal communication.

Sense of responsibility.


Critical thinking.

Networking skills.

Entrepreneurial mindset.

Pro-active attitude.

Expertise in language programmer.

a coding for a

Technical knowledge on construction work.

Knowing trends in hair fashion for a hairdresser.

Ability to build a WordPress website for a web developer.

Freelancers need different hard or core skills depending on the field in which they specialise and the service they provide. But when it comes to soft skills, there are particular character traits and skills that will help any freelancer.


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Must-Have soft skills for freelancers are: • • • • • • • • • • •

Self-assurance (believe in your business case and stick to it) Pro-active attitude Ability to create alliances Ability to adapt Sales and negotiation skills Spirit of service Time and stress management skills Passion to learn Communication skills Persistency, firmness and fortitude Ability to grasp favorable situations.

Maybe even more important for gig workers is to understand the importance of lifelong learning and to have a growth mindset. Psychologist Carol Dweck observed that students react very differently when they are confronted with failure. For example, some students show confidence that they would succeed if they continue trying, while other students give up very fast. Dweck started to study the way people deal with failure and discovered that the mindset of the person has an important influence on how people deal with challenges, failure and learning situations throughout their life. She roughly distinguishes two types of mindsets: a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. A mindset is a way of thinking (beliefs, opinions and core cognitions) about yourself. With a growth mindset, business owners can set themselves up to learn all the skills they could possibly need to make sure their company thrives. Source: Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset press button to watch the video.zz


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Group Assignment Discussion

Discuss the concept of a growth vis a fixed mindset with a group. Think about the following three statements and write down if you rather agree, neither agree nor disagree or if you rather disagree. 1. “I would praise a student for his efforts if he worked really hard, even though if he has not made any progress or did not learn anything.” 2. “Having a growth mindset is always better than having a fixed mindset.” 3. “Either you have a growth mindset, or you have a fixed mindset.” After completing and discussing the three questions, read this feedback on the statements:

1.Praising effort?

Feedback: Carol Dweck noticed that many teachers or parents praised the effort, not the outcome. She says this is wrong, people should praise effort that led to the outcome or learning progress and tie the praise to it. It is not just effort, but strategy. So you should support the student in finding another strategy, a strategy that creates success. A potential consequence of praising effort without results, is that is does not feel sincere for the student since he did not learn a lot yet, but the student might get the feeling that his teacher thinks that this is “the best he can”, since he already showed “a lot of” effort. If the teacher does not give any further feedback on how he might improve and reach his goals this can trigger a fixed mindset: “apparently I can’t do any better”. Carol Dweck calls this the consolation prize.

2.Growth mindset is always the best?

Feedback: For some tasks a growth mindset is not needed, for example for easy or automatized tasks (e.g. riding a bike), or tasks that are new and you do not know what is expected. A student that is just starting a task without knowing what to do or by using ineffective strategies, will not learn from it. It might be better that the student admits that he doesn’t know what the purpose is and for example to ask for help. Then he will learn more than by thinking “I can do it!” and starting with a wrong strategy. The growth mindset is best for difficult tasks, with a clear purpose, but where you need a lot of training and persistence; or for tasks that you do not like to do and you are not looking forward to. 45

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3.Growth or fixed?

Feedback: This statement is rather an example of a fixed mindset. Dweck uses the distinction to explain her theory, but she considers both mindsets to be on a continuum. Most people will have a mix of growth and fixed ideas. Whether the growth or the fixed ideas are at a certain moment dominant can depend also on the context and the area. Somebody might have a growth mindset in sports (“The more I train the better I will become”), but may think more in a fixed mindset when the subject is science (“I’m just not good in science, it is hopeless”). When somebody is tired or stressed, the chance will be higher that a fixed mindset is triggered. Source:


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Skills and competences of Platform workers A growing number of people are earning some or all of their income from work mediated through digital platforms. In what is often referred to as “crowdwork” or ‘online freelance work’, self-employed workers increasingly work remotely for clients discovered via online labour platforms, in projects ranging from repetitive data entry tasks to specialised software development and creative work. Emerging research suggests that such ‘crowdwork’ is an increasingly important new non-standard form of employment around the world. Platformmediated work is now the main source of income for as many as 2% of adults in 14 EU Member States.

So how do crowdworkers develop and match their skill to gigs? The Cedefop CrowdLearn research project, carried out in 2017-19, is the first in-depth study to have examined how EU crowdworkers develop and match their skills with gig work. The figure on the next page shows that crowdworkers most commonly develop their technical/core skills and specifically their digital skills. However, a unique blend of ‘entrepreneurial’, ‘self-branding’, ‘communication’ and ‘organisational’ skills as well as focused personal dispositions are found to be a particularly important prerequisite for being successful in online platform markets.


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Number of mentioned category; Skill typology Technical/core skills Language skills

prior to during

developed crowdwork

examples Computer programming, Marketing


English, French, Spanish


265 18 7

Computer literacy


Communication skills

Handling costumers

Orginazantional skills

Project management, time management


Personal attributes

Independence, confidence, creativity, resilience


112 56 89 1

Learning to learn

39 1

Analytical skills Setting up as a freelancer

Taxes, obtaining business persmits

Obtaining work on platform

Pricing, applying for work

28 17 177

Source: crowdlearn-online-platform-work-and-skills


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The gig career path In this assignment students create a career path for themselves that entirely and only takes place in the in the gig economy. What are their competences? What needs to be developed and how? Do they want to be active in the same sector their entire working life? What learning opportunities do you need to grasp? Is there a need to reskill / upskill? What are personal ambitions that affect your career?

Use this tool (tool 2) to outline your career path. Press the button to get to the gig career path.


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Financial Implications of the gig economy As a freelancer, you have to deal with various rules. Keeping business records is one of the most important. You must keep all data from your business administration for seven years. Think of invoices and quotes, bank statements and time records. Every country handles different rules and regulations for gig workers. It is important to find the way to online platforms that support gig workers in finances. As a freelancer, you have to deal with various rules. Keeping business records is one of the most important. You must keep all data from your business administration for seven years. Think of invoices and quotes, bank statements and time records. What are the financial implications of the gig economy in the different countries? In the final video Ruth Ferreiros explains the implications in Spain. Gig worker and participant of the trainingweek Rory Carroll shares his views as a gigger working in Ireland. Press the button to watch the video


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How do you manage your finances as a freelancer or self-employed person? Keeping your records up to date can bring you many financial benefits. These 6 tips will help you plan your finances.

1: Decide how much you want to earn

If you work as a freelancer, it is important to determine how much you want to earn. Be realistic. See how many hours and projects you can do and if that fits in with your lifestyle. This may depend on your industry and the type of work you do. It is better to be careful in your calculations to avoid disappointment at the end of the year.

2: Agree on when and how you will be paid

Agree with your client how you will be paid. You can choose different forms of payment, such as a percentage of your fee prior to the freelance assignment. Payments per project phase are also popular. This way your income is spread over the project and the client is reminded of the payment for each project phase.

3. Keep track of your hours

Draw up a time sheet. It is not obligated, but it is useful. It gives your insight into how efficiently you are working, and you immediately have an overview ready for your clients. In addition, in some countries, as a freelancer, you are eligible for a self-employed tax deduction if you have worked a minimum number of hours.

4. Be well informed on tax regulations

How much tax do you have to pay as a freelancer or self-employed person depends on the country you live in. Make sure you are well informed about national tax regulations.

5. Make an extra expense summary

It is easy to overlook sick days or holidays. If you work as a freelancer or self-employed person, you do not get paid if you do not work. Set aside some extra for holidays and create a contingency for any sick days, even if you are the healthiest fitness guru.

6. Prepare for retirement

At the end of the road, everyone retires. Depending on the country you live in, you are entitled to a certain amount of state pension benefits. Often this is not enough to continue the lifestyle you are used to also when you retire. You can supplement your state pension benefits by setting aside 20% of your income. How much you need to save depends on your lifestyle. Also take into account any debts you still have to pay. If you prepare well for your retirement, you won’t have to worry about your finances later.


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Rules and regulations Every country has its own rules and regulations. What options are there in your country for: • • •

Platforms that unite gig workers finances Contracts and insurances

What preparations do you need to take to start as freelancer in your country? What would you need to make a good living? What would be your hourly rate?

Use this tool to consider the financial aspects of the gig economy. One completed, reflect and share with the group. ress the button to get to the tool.


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Sources dient%20een%20zzp%27er,voor%20eigen%20rekening%20en%20risico. People, A., Urzi Brancati, C., Fernández Macías, E., Biagi, F., & González Vázquez, I. (2018). Platform workers in Europe evidence from the COLLEEM survey. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Commission https://www.f reelancercan-do-without/ inanciele-tips-voorfreelancers-lets-talk-money/


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Module 3 Market yourself in the gig economy


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Learning outcomes After completing this module you: • • • •

Know how to make a target group analysis (conduct research) knows different marketing strategies knows online marketing tools and can apply them. can schedule personal branding on social media

Time 8 hours to complete the entire module (pick and choose certain items is also possible). Note: break down to class hours and self-study.

Competencies By participating in this module, you will develop the following competences: • • • • •

Learning by doing Can-do attitude Written communication, storytelling Creative thinking Initiative

Assignments and tools This module includes 7 assisnments.


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Marketing and Communication Marketing strategies There are various marketing strategies such as, advertising, personal selling, free publicity, word of mouth, sales promotion, sponsorship and direct marketing. These strategies can be used in different ways. You as a self-employed person will probably do a lot of marketing through social media. This is where the different marketing strategies come into play.


marketing strategies Write the meaning behind the terms below. Think carefully about what source you will use for this (internet/teacher/books etc.) • • • • • •

Advertising Personal selling Word of mouth marketing Sales promotion Sponsorship Direct marketing

Now that you know the meaning of the different marketing strategies, which one attracts you the most and which one does not? Explain your answer. Since a lot of marketing is done through social media, this will be covered in more detail in a later chapter. First, it is helpful to look at exactly what you need to promote and to whom you want to promote your service or product.


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Branding As a sole proprietor, you are a brand. The brand is about the total customer experience. Think about concrete things like your website, your findability in Google, your hourly rate and of course the work you produce. But it gets more exciting when you consider that less concrete things like your way of communicating and even your personality play a big role in the image clients have of you. All these things combine to make a client - consciously or unconsciously - choose you or not. Determining the identity of you and your company. There are several ways in which you can distinguish yourself from other contractors who do more or less the same thing as you. You can do this to a limited extent with your pricing and of course with the quality of the product you provide. But you can really distinguish yourself with your identity. To determine that identity, it is important to establish a number of core values. This will be the basis of your product or service, but also for example of your communication to the customer. If you implement this consistently, you will be distinctive. Online you can find all kinds of tips on how to determine your core values. You’ll end up with terms like transparent, optimistic, punctual and humorous.

The video explains in less than 4 minutes what branding is.Press the button to watch the video:

Convey your identity to your (potential) clients Now you have defined your identity, but it will be of very little use to you if you cannot convey this to your potential clients. The trick is to make your image - how people see you and your company - match your desired identity. There are many different ways in which you can demonstrate your core values to the customer. If we take again the core values transparent, optimistic, punctual and humorous, you can influence your image by, for example: • •

Looking at things from the positive side when you talk to someone during networking (optimistic) Making sure you’re not a minute late for an appointment with a client (punctual) 57

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• •

haring funny posts on your social media channel (humorous) Not suddenly showing up with hidden costs on the quotation (transparent) These are obviously very random examples of ways in which you can convey your identity. They are all separate links that may not mean much individually, but together they create a unique image. The possibilities are endless. If you consistently keep your core values in mind in everything you do, you will establish a strong brand. Customers and clients will recognize that. They know what you stand for and what they can expect from you. That can be a great reason to choose you and not your competitor.

Assignment branding

Think about Coca Cola for 10 seconds. •

Write down at least 5 characteristics that now come to mind when you think of Coca Cola.

Think for 10 seconds about Pepsi cola •

Write down at least 5 characteristics that now come to mind when you think of Pepsi.

Everything that comes to mind now is part of the brand. Maybe when you thought of Coca Cola you thought of a red, cold can, a Santa Claus on a truck, that signature flavor or the myth surrounding the drink’s secret recipe? All part of the Coca Cola brand. At the same time, all part of your decision whether or not to buy the soft drink.


If you could choose between Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola, which would you choose? Substantiate your answer based on your previously given answers.

Now make a mood board or a mind map with words or images that you want the customer to think of when he or she buys/utilizes/uses your product.

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Social media Social media are used more and more, also by freelancers. With a good social media strategy you increase the reach of your business and create fans of your company. In addition, it can help you to increase your sales and specialize in a niche market. How to make social media a success? We explain it to you here.

Termine your target group A good social media strategy stands or falls with the alignment with your target audience. It is very important to first examine where your target group is located. This way you do not miss the boat by focusing on the social networks where your target group is not represented. When determining the target group you focus on the specific wishes and similarities of your potential customers. You do this so you know exactly what the customers need or do not need. Based on this information you can then adapt your product or service. It is logical that you want as many people as possible to buy your product or service. Choosing a particular group can ensure that they feel more appealed and are therefore more likely to purchase. 59

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How do you map out your target group? You can determine your target group based on several factors, such as: age, gender, place of residence, educational level and/or profession. When determining your target group, you can focus on one or more factors. You don’t always have to use a standard factor. Often startup entrepreneurs think they need to “hang” an age on the target audience, that’s not true. If you can make your target group specific, without using an age, that’s fine too. What keeps your customers interested? The idea is that you are able to map out what concerns your target group. You can do that by thinking about questions such as: • • •

What does my customer’s purchasing and/or consumption behavior look like? How do my customers spend their free time? What problems do my customers encounter (on a daily basis)?

These questions fall under different factors such as: demographic factors, geographical factors and psychographic factors. These factors can help you map out your target group even more. The video explains how you find your target audience. Press the button to watch the video:


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Persona’s To create an even clearer picture of your target audience, it is a possibility to compose a persona. A persona is a profile of a certain person and in this case your ideal client. It contains information such as: name, age, hobbies, interests, buying behaviour, problems and desires. By using a persona you can easily fall back on your target group when making certain choices and/or decisions. Watch the video for more information on creating personas. Press the button to watch the video:

Assignment Target Group •

Gather data about your target audience.

If necessary, do this using psychographic, geographic and demographic factors. Make effective use of sources to arrive at the right information. •

Write a target group analysis.

What will you do with the data you collected in the previous assignment? What do you know now, and what will you focus on? • • •

Create a persona based on your target group analysis. Look for examples of personas on the Internet. Make your own persona using your target group analysis.


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Different kinds of Social Media platforms Also, always check first which content you want to post on which specific medium. We have made an overview of which content is suitable for which social media.


Content Facebook

Interesting news items about your company, blogs and company updates, offers, answer public customer questions, personal customer questions always redirect to a personal message.


Answer the text and/or questions.


The photo is always the focus, accompanying text with matching hashtags (#). The bio often includes a shortened URL to the product or service referenced in the post.


Inspiration platform, choose photos that inspire. No hashtags (#) are used. A descriptive text with the photo is recommended.


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Short posts, is not often used by small businesses. If you are a self-employed person with expertise in specific areas, it can be useful to profile yourself as an expert here.


Videos about your business, your work or products, possibly vlogs. Think about whether you want to allow comments under your video. Make sure a video is always professional and presentable.


Company page with content about you (if you provide services) or about your company (if you provide products) You can mention what your company does. If you are good at writing, you can post interesting articles and updates that show you are an expert in your field, You can also engage in discussions with other experts and potential customers. And link to your domain.

Review Sites

Customers leave feedback here, solicited or unsolicited, about their order. By actively responding to these comments, you can turn any negative reviews into a positive message.


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which social media Now that you have an idea of which social media platforms and who your target audience is, you can start researching which platform you should be promoting yourself on.


Research which social media platforms are most used in your country.

Research which socail media platform is used the most by your target group.

What content should you now collect when you look at the social media platform. (Think of a video, podcast, photo with text etc)

Also research how active you need to be on your chosen social media platform to attract customers or make yourself visible to your target audience.

Create at least three content products for your social media page. (If you are using multiple pages, choose at least one platform)

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Creating and deploying content Do: use photos and videos It sounds cliché and it is: a picture says more than 1,000 words. And a video says more than 1000 photos. It is well known that users on social media linger longer with an appealing photo or video. Tips Tailor a photo or video to the target audience, and possibly provide it with an appealing filter and an accompanying text with hashtags and a call-to-action. This is an attractive text with a link to, for example, your webshop or your company’s website. Short URL You can make the URL of the link behind this shorter by using sites such as This leaves more space for your text. Optimized format Also make sure that the size of the image is optimized for the social media where you are posting it: for example, square for Instagram. And make sure the quality is good, without being able to count the pixels. Don’t: Let your company page lose touch Have you ever been on a company page that wasn’t updated? It probably looked sloppy. One of the most common mistakes made by self-employed people on social media is not maintaining the company page, or maintaining it poorly. Preventing social hibernation For example, clients may have asked a question via social media that you never responded to. Oops! Or the posts on your company page are outdated. Such a page can be detrimental to your business. Not only do you give your (potential) customers the idea that your business doesn’t matter that much anymore, it can also deter them from placing an order or contacting you. And then it’s also bad for the findability of your website. All this you should not want. So avoid social hibernation! So, what should you do? Determine how often and on what days you make time for your social media channels. You could choose to do this 3 times a week for half an hour. Or 10 minutes every day. Build this consistently into your rhythm or calendar and make real time for it every time. That way you keep everything up to date! 65

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Do: be consistent Your presence on social media has a big impact on how your company positions itself and performs as a brand. It is important that you always use the same style in your images, logos, house style, language and company name. This is how you create a strong brand. Strength of your brand By keeping this in tune and consistent, your brand becomes more powerful. People are more likely to recognize and trust it. This in turn helps you to do business faster and to convince (potential) customers better. Want to get even more out of your self-employed business? Then read our free checklist for giggers, full of useful tips! Press HERE to see the checklist. Do: connect with friend (and foe) Another cliché, but nothing could be further from the truth: sharing is caring. As soon as you share a message on social media, you should also take into account that people will respond to your message. In that case, always engage in a conversation. Good contact with your (potential) customers is worth its weight in gold. Good customer contact Respond to a customer who is satisfied. Answer the question of a dissatisfied customer. Or help new customers on their way if they need a little more information. But make sure you’re in touch with your customers on social media too! You can choose to thank someone for their nice post or answer a question. This “reward” helps customers associate a positive experience with your business. Personal approach And be personal right away, for example by mentioning someone’s name in the greeting: “Hello Peter”. Don’t: Ignore or sneer Also react to negative messages. Maybe you are shocked by the reaction of a customer and you do not know what to do. Not all customers are nice. In any case, try to mirror your customer. By naming his or her problem, an angry customer feels more likely to be taken seriously. Dealing with an angry customer


A good example of how to do this is in the following steps: 1. acknowledge that you understand the customer’s situation 2. indicate that you want to solve it 3. indicate how you will resolve it

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For example: “Hello Peter, I understand that you don’t like [...]. I would like to solve this for you. I’m going to do that in this way: [...]. Did I help you that much?” Cursing customer? If a customer starts swearing, don’t swear back. Indicate how you solved the problem. You may also indicate that you cannot help a customer properly if he swears. This way you keep the credit to yourself. Other customers see this too, and they will see you as a pleasant party to work with.

Assignment Content

Now that you have an idea of what you should and should not do when you are active on social media, it is time to create content. •

Also research how active you need to be on your chosen social media platform(s) to attract customers and/or make yourself visible to your target audience.

Create at least three content products for your social media page. (if you use multiple pages, choose at least one platform)

Think of a goal for yourself. For example: •

How many followers do you want after a certain period of time?

How much content do you want to post per day/week/month?

What do you want to get out of your social media page(s)?

Write this down and see if you meet your goals. Are you not achieving your goals? Think about what you can do differently or what caused this. Enlist the help of a professional, search the internet or involve your network. Create a new goal and repeat the process until you have achieved your goal(s). •

Then create a content calendar to keep your content up to date!


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Online marketing tools Now that you know which social media platforms you want to promote yourself on and what content you need to create to do so, you may need online marketing tools that can support you in doing so.

Assignment Tools

In this chapter you will get an idea which tools could help you as an entrepreneur. Write down which subjects you find difficult in the field of entrepreneurship. This may be that you find it difficult to keep your social media up-to-date or that you are not good at accounting. •

Describe the ideal tool that could help you as an entrepreneur.

Below are some resources that can support you as an entrepreneur.

Mailchimp Looking for a handy tool to do your email marketing with? MailChimp works easily and is also affordable! Press HERE for the website.

Canva Do you find it difficult to design content beautifully and do you need ready-made templates that you can also personalize. Canva can help you with this and with the free version you can already do a lot! Press HERE for the website.

Grum Thanks to Grum you can keep your Instagram page up-to-date! With Grum, your Instagram posts are automatically uploaded. This will save you time and unnecessary stress! Press HERE for the website. 68

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Moz Moz is a handy SEO tool! Moz analyzes performance of existing keywords and works on link-building. Optimize your business in the search engine with Moz! Press HERE for the website. InVideo Professional videos are very important for your business! With InVideo it’s easy to create professional videos for your social media. Another big advantage? It’s also affordable! Press HERE for the website.

Font Awesome Looking for icons for your website or app? Create the most unique icons with Font Awesome! There is a free trial version you can try first! Press HERE for the website.

Unsplash Looking for useful images? Then take a look at Unsplash! Here you will find a large selection of photos without copyright issues. Press HERE for the website.

Other useful online tools that can help you with your business! Notion Notion makes doing business a lot easier. With Notion, you can take notes, manage tasks, keep track of your calendar and organise projects, among other things! Press HERE for the website.


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Fiverr A kind of online marketplace where freelancers (Giggers) and companies offer their services. Of course you can also hire a freelancer here if you need one for a bigger job! Press HERE for the website.

Timely Do you want to keep track of your working hours? Then use Timely. Timely is an app that keeps track of the hours you work. In addition, you can easily adjust them. Press HERE for the website.

Money Bird Do you find bookkeeping difficult? Then use Money Bird. This handy system helps you to make your bookkeeping simple and clear. Also you send your invoices and quotes with a few simple clicks. Press HERE for the website.

My Parcel Do you often send parcels to customers? Then make use of My Parcel. With this tool, you can prepare your orders in no time. Ideal for e-commerce companies and starters! Press HERE for the website.

Mollie Reliable, easy and very user-friendly: those are the advantages of making payments via Mollie. You pay a one-time fee of €100 for this. Press HERE for the website.


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Assignment Tools

In this chapter you have seen that there are many different tools that can help you as an entrepreneur. Look back at your answers from the previous assignment. Is your ideal tool among them? Research which of the above tools you would like to use in your business. Substantiate your answer. Research which of the above tools you would not like to use in your business? Substantiate your answer. Search the internet for at least three other tools that could help you as an entrepreneur. •

Create a content message using the tool Canva. What is your experience with this tool? Would you recommend this tool to another entrepreneur, explain your answer.

• Sources 71

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PARTNERS The GIG consortium consists of 8 complementary partners from IE, NL, vocational education & training or in education & regional employment policy making and execution, which all possess a regional and international cooperative orientation.


Meath County Counsil – IE WIN Consultants Ltd – IE VET college Friesland College – NL

Formetica – IT

Learning Hub Friesland Foundation – NL

Union de Cooperativas Asociacion Galega de Cooperativas Agrarias – ES

Concello de Vedra – ES Comune di Capannori – IT

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein


Profile for LearningHubFriesland-Erna

Modules GIG  

Modules GIG  


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