gig economy gig work

Exploring the Gig Economy: Leveraging Online Platforms to Earn a Sustainable Income

The gig economy has grown at an extraordinary rate in the past few years. The value of gig work has recently surpassed $204 billion, and the US is predicted to have more gig workers than non-gig workers by 2027.

Numerous online platforms now exist to help workers find regular clients, too. These platforms exist to help gig workers build a portfolio and can help talented freelancers find regular work from high-paying clients.

Unfortunately, some gig workers may struggle to make ends meet between projects. This is a serious issue as short-term contracts and freelance work can increase gig workers’ financial risk.

These at-risk gig workers can take advantage of the increased flexibility that freelancing offers to generate additional income streams and create sustainable income to support themselves and their families.

Content Creation

Many gig workers earn a stable income from roles like freelance writing and programming. However, some freelancers may find that they have extra capacity to work during the day. Folks who feel they have more energy to bring in side income should explore social media content creation.

Social media content creation can be a tough nut to crack, but gig workers can make money from platforms like Instagram. Folks who decide to pursue a content creation side hustle can earn a sustainable income by:

  • Driving traffic to affiliate links and programs
  • Posting sponsored advertisements to promote products and brands
  • Selling directly through an Instagram shop
  • Generating ad revenue from high-engagement posts

Building a loyal, engaged following can be tough. However, folks who can build their profile and gather traction can make some serious cash from social platforms like Instagram. Today, the average nano-influencer (profiles with 1,000 – 10,000 followers) makes $195 per sponsored post on the platform. This is largely passive income, too, as affiliate links continue to pay out a small portion of revenue per successful conversion.

In the past, people may have shied away from gig work due to the uncertainty and delay with online payments. For example, in 2021, 49% of businesses relied on ACH payments to compensate any contractors or freelancers they hired, which can typically take days to process, even though 89% of gig employees desired a faster payment option.

However, with the recent release of FedNow in July 2023, businesses and individuals can immediately use the funds from an online invoice rather than waiting seven business days for a deposit. This means that more people may be more willing to turn to freelance work, social media content creation, or other gig work as a way to earn a stable income in the future, as well.


Most people have hobbies and interests that take their minds off work during their downtime. However, gig workers have the flexibility to turn their interests into an authentic side hustle.

Setting up an e-commerce site can be a little time-consuming. But, folks who take to the web to sell their knitted merch and screen-printed shirts may find that there’s a major demand for their handmade products.

Folks who do decide to leverage online e-commerce platforms should set up a reliable payment method, lest their profits be marred by expensive fees. Freelancers can use sites like G-P and Wise to invoice their customers and take cross-border payments. This helps freelancers secure a sustainable source of income and can allow folks to pivot toward a career in arts and crafts.

Freelancers should also look to payment methods that a majority of consumers are using already, as well. Digital wallets and online bank accounts, like those used on Venmo or Paypal, are becoming extremely popular with 66% of U.S. consumers using these methods every day. Those in the gig economy that allow extensions for these platforms on their e-commerce site may find that not only will their clients be happier with their services with these accommodations, but they may even receive more clients as a result when people realize the efficiency and reliability in the payment options.

Real Estate for Gig Work

The gig economy gives people the opportunity to work wherever they want, whenever they want. Freelancers can support themselves and their small businesses by making real estate moves that help them take advantage of online platforms and alternative forms of income.

Folks who want to explore content creation or e-commerce should consider moving to a home that supports remote work. In general, this means that gig workers should explore suburban neighborhoods that have good transport links but are far enough away from the city center to support their careers. When looking for a new home, gig workers should consider how the space will support their expanding business and should consider things like storage space for their e-commerce wares.

Some gig workers may find that moving back into the city is a more lucrative move. While many freelancers find work through online platforms like Fiverr and UpWork, many still find that inner-city networking is essential to land consistent clients. Fortunately, the rise of remote work has impacted the real estate market by reducing the cost of commercial real estate. By extension, this has made inner-city rent more affordable for gig workers who want to occupy a well-connected coworking space.

Gig workers are also increasingly looking toward fintech for any real estate transactions or investments. Using digital currencies or blockchain, those in the gig economy can invest in the real estate market, which may benefit their business in a more secure way.


The gig economy represents a high-risk, high-reward option for modern workers. Folks who choose to go freelance can make the most of the gig economy by securing sustainable income streams like social media affiliate programs and e-commerce sites. Those who do decide to go remote for gig work should consider relocating to a larger suburban space, too, which can support e-commerce ventures and facilitate high-quality content creation.

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