The gig economy is a labor market characterized by freelance work rather than traditional permanent jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 there was 53.7 million consultants, independent contractors, self-employed people, solopreneurs, and others living a freelancer’s life in the gig economy. That’s up 700,000 from 2014.
Given the rapid growth of the gig-economy, it’s worth paying attention to leaders, entrepreneurs, and expert commentators who have their fingers on the pulse of this labor market and its future. Here are the top ten influencers in the gig economy that you should follow.
Sara is the Founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union and CEO of the Freelancers Insurance Company. An authority on freelance working, and a MacArthur Fellow whose work is an inspiration to freelancers, she has been thinking of ways to make the gig economy work for the past two decades. Additionally, Sara is the author of The Freelancer's Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Have the Career of Your Dreams—On Your Terms. In her book, she champions the issues that freelancers face and seeks to create a supportive community. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.
Robert is the publisher and editor of Nation1099. Nation1099 is a web publication for the entrepreneurial independent contractor. Its goal is to educate, empower, and encourage the growing audience of solopreneurs in the gig economy who are hungry for information about how to start, manage, and grow their businesses. Among other helpful information, his website maintains an extremely valuable guide containing statistics about the gig economy. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.
Olga is a national speaker and marketing expert on the gig economy. She is also an instructor in the Digital Marketing Program for the University of California. In her latest book The Gig Is Up: Thrive in the Gig Economy, Where Old Jobs Are Obsolete and Freelancing Is the Future, Olga gives readers innovative tools to articulate why organizations should choose gig workers. She firmly believes that the goal in competing in the gig economy is to not only be chosen, but to move toward becoming the only choice, over and over again. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.
Epi Ludvik Nekaj
Epi is the Founder and CEO of Crowdsourcing Week. Pursuing its mission to accelerate a collaborative future, his website is a global platform committed to helping organizations, innovators, and entrepreneurs transition into a more open, connected, and socially productive society enabled by the internet and online tools powered by the crowds. Crowdsourcing Week holds international conferences that host discussions on the phenomenon of crowdsourcing and its ability to inject innovation, problem-solving, and efficiency into organizations. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.
Diane is an early pioneer in educating gig workers. Having developed an MBA course at Babson College for freelance professionals entitled Entrepreneurship and the Gig Economy, Diane herself is an independent worker. In her book The Gig Economy, she tells freelancers that succeeding in the gig economy means that they need to shift gears and recognize that only they control their future. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.
Rachel is a recognized expert on how collaboration and trust enabled by digital technologies will change the way we live, work, bank, and consume. She defined the theory of “collaborative consumption” in her first book, What's Mine Is Yours, which she co-authored with Roo Rogers. The concept was subsequently named by TIME as one of the ”10 Ideas that Will Change the World” and by Thinkers50 as the 2015 Breakthrough Idea. Her TED talks on the subject have been viewed more than two million times. You can connect with her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.
April is an advisor, speaker, writer, and global authority on the new economy. Much of her work focuses on the growth of the freelance, on-demand, and platform economies. Highly knowledgeable about the future of work and the gig economy, April keeps a keen eye towards where the world is heading with the purpose of helping build a brighter tomorrow. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.
Mike is the President and CEO of Patina Solutions. Patina Solutions works with accomplished professionals who have 25 years or more of experience in their field and want to work differently at this stage of their career. They want to use all the experience, skills, and abilities to help companies be faster, better, and smarter, while having more flexibility to do the things they want to do. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow Patina Solutions on Twitter.
Jeffrey is the Founder and CEO of Parker Dewey, a web platform that enables companies to address immediate talent needs with college students and recent graduates. Through facilitating project-based engagements, this platform helps companies and career launchers achieve their goals of filling staffing gaps, improving hiring outcomes, accessing new talent pools, increasing diversity, and decreasing costs. Jeffery believes that the real value of gigs is not as a replacement of the traditional employee/employer relationship, but rather as a pathway for companies and individuals to “audition” one another. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow Parker Dewey on Twitter.
Leif is a cofounder of AND CO which was recently acquired by Fiverr. AND CO is a free online business platform that offers freelancers everything they need to run their business. Offerings include proposals, contracts, invoicing, expense tracking, and time tracking. Tapped as one of the Top Creative Minds in Digital by Adweek, Leif advocates for a holistic view of the freelance community, believing that it is a community that will serve everyone in some capacity. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.
As you can see, there are some impressive gig economy thought leaders worth following. From Rachel Botsman’s groundbreaking TED Talk on collaborative consumption, to Epi Ludvik Nekaj’s amazing events promoting a collaborative future, there are so many opportunities for gig workers to learn from these influencers. The future of work is here!