The world of work is changing, and around five million UK workers are now part of the gig economy, which covers anything from renting out your driveway to delivering hot food.

Demonstrating a rapid shift in the modern job market, the gig economy is characterised by short-term freelance and contract work, either in addition to or instead of full-time, permanent employment.

Gig worker working for a client gig

Rather than earning a regular wage from an employer, gig workers are contracted for short-term projects like building websites, delivering goods or giving car rides.

The nature of gig work is inherently flexible, making it a popular option for people wishing to pick up extra shifts and diversify their income.

So popular, in fact, that the UK’s gig economy has more than doubled in three years, as shown in a study from the TUC and the University of Hertfordshire which found one in 10 adults working on gig economy platforms in 2019, up from one in 20 in 2016.

Find Your Gig

Courier Services

Undoubtedly a booming industry, courier work is easy to get into, so it’s a great first step if you want to pick up extra work. Having hot food and other goods delivered to homes around the country is in high demand, and it’s easy to fit in extra shifts on weekends and in evenings.

If you’re picking up takeaway work with Deliveroo, Uber Eats, Just Eat or privately with a restaurant, you’ll need a specific type of fast food delivery insurance. Use Utility Saving Expert’s comparison site to find the best takeaway driver insurance deals.

Ride-Hailing Services

If you enjoy being behind the wheel and interested in making some extra cash in your free time, you can become a cabby in your own vehicle. Made popular by the likes of Uber, most ride-hailing apps will allow drivers to work whatever shifts they like.

If you’d prefer an alternative to Uber, you can choose from other on-demand ride apps like Bolt, Lyft and Ola. Similar to courier services, you’ll need to make sure you have the right commercial car insurance.

Businessman working with laptop

Business Consultations

Are you an established entrepreneur looking to diversify your income? You can leverage your reputation and start profiting from sharing your knowledge and experience as a business consultant.

Many start-ups looking to grow need advice from consultants with business know-how. You could join a board, offer expert advice or swoop in short-term to find solutions to the organisation’s major blockers.

Digital, Copywriting & Social Media

Every brand wants to break through the noise, and skills in digital are highly sought after. If you’re a natural storyteller who is creative enough to write thousands of words of SEO-optimised content and then craft it into 280 characters, you could use your communication skills as a freelancer.

The digital market isn’t just for writers, though. It requires web developers, graphic designers and other specialists. Most digital freelancers work contractually for clients, and some get started with small projects on platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.

Photography & Video Production

Social media is becoming more professional. Brands want high quality video and polished imagery. Posed stock photos are a thing of the past, and amateur photographers or video producers can capitalise on this need by partnering with businesses to show their brands in the very best light.

That’s not all, with the experience you gain in video production and photography, there’s potential to up your game. You could pitch for big projects and even land magazine shoots or collaborate with TV and film production companies.

Renting Homes & Driveways

One of the simplest ways to add a revenue stream is by renting out your home. It’s easy to do and its tax free up to £7,500 a year. If your home is positioned in a tourist spot, this can be particularly lucrative, but anywhere in a city will get a lot of traffic. Many visitors just want a room, but if you’re renting in a rural area, most want access to the whole space.

There are a range of platforms for you to rent out your space. The most popular options include becoming an Airbnb host for short-term rentals, or through SpareRoom for longer-term. You can even rent your driveway with platforms like JustPark or Park On My Drive.

Freelancer who makes the gig economy business model works

Working On Your Terms

One of the main benefits of working in the gig economy is the control you can have over your work. That includes how long you spend working, how much work you take on, and most notably, when you work.

Gig workers can choose hours that suit them, building their work schedule around other priorities. Whether that means juggling work around family life or picking up extra shifts after another 9-5, the gig economy gives you the opportunity to prioritise your lifestyle.

Which gig will you choose?