Over the last decade, and as a direct result of the recession, an increasing number of professionals have entered the “gig economy”, a level of the job market defined by short-term gigs with above-average earnings potential.
Amy Cortese, who writes for The New York Times, shares the success story of Stocksy United, a cooperative of photographers who own and sell their works online. Last year, Stocksy’s revenue was reported to be $7.9 million, with over half of that paid out to photographers in royalties.
Stocksy is just one example of a growing number of startups that are putting earnings power into the hands of entrepreneurs, creatives, and independent service providers. It is based on a successful model of profit sharing platforms like Uber, TaskRabbit, and Lyft, to name a few. But, there are some that are concerned that smaller startups will not be able to compete with larger, venture-backed enterprises in the technology sector.
In the new economy, much of which is based on small service-based agencies and independent creatives, gigs are paving the way one earning at a time. What worries some bigger businesses is that the high earnings that gig workers take home are not being regulated or protected (particularly benefits collections) as much as the traditional workforce. There are also those that are concerned about abuse of gig workers that are going unchecked in the labor market.
The small business market produces over half of new jobs each year in America. Gigs are expanding at a more rapid pace due to technological advances and economic uncertainty.