There are several benefits to working the gig economy while you pursue your freelancing, start-up or other entrepreneurial business.
It can be hard to figure out how to start freelancing with no experience when pursuing the work from anywhere and a digital nomad lifestyle. Keeping your day job to have some cash flow while you figure this out can be a wise move; however, working in the gig economy gives you more flexibility to chase your dreams.
After quitting the 9 – 5 grind, I needed income to support myself while studying and setting up my freelance copywriter business. Uber had just arrived in Australia, and the freedom and flexibility it offered made sense, so I started driving for them. As a result, it turned out to be essential to kickstarting my freelance career.
Here are 6 ways working rideshare driving helped me freelance with no experience.
- The flexibility of rideshare driving allows you time to up-skill
Before you learn how to start freelancing with no experience, you need to skill up and educate yourself first. Even though I came from a sales and marketing background, I undertook three different copywriter courses before I started freelancing, both in-class and online. These courses included:
- Copywriting Essentials
- Advanced Copywriting
- Seo Copywriting
As such, I required flexibility. And rideshare driving allows for complete control on when you start and stop work. I can’t think of many other jobs that offer this. Furthermore, I would use the destination feature to get rides to and from my classes, making money as I commute, which would offset the courses’ cost!
2. Flexibility allows you to work on setting up a freelance business
Again, having the flexibility to set up a freelance business is extremely helpful. If you were to keep your full-time job, the chances are that you would be too mentally exhausted to work on your business after hours.
But with rideshare, once you learn to pick your times to drive, maximising income while minimising drive time, you find time to focus on what matters – your freelance business.
My routine was driving a 2 – 3 hours during morning peak hours. Working on my business during the middle of the day. And then 2 -3 hours again during evening peak hours. I know that it is busy during these peak times. This worked great for me as I could set up a freelance business without having to worry about cash flow.
3. Meet, interact and learn from interesting people
This is a big one. Freelancing can be a lonely affair. After a while, cabin fever becomes real; hence, the rise in popularity of coworking spaces for freelancers. Unless you have a dog or work alongside your spouse, chances are at some point you are going to be itching to interact with another human being.
As a rideshare driver, you meet people from all walks of life. And you can learn something from every single one of them. Just the knowledge, ideas and advice and I received from other more established freelancers and entrepreneurs I drove was invaluable. At times it felt like I should be paying them for the ride!
4. This leads to networking, making meaningful connections and even booking jobs
This was a pleasant surprise, a totally unexpected benefit. If you ask just about any rideshare driver what the number one question they get asked is, I bet it goes something like this:
Passenger: So, is this all you do?
Passenger: Do you do this fulltime?
Passenger: Do you have another job?
This is where you tell them about your freelance, start-up or other entrepreneurial business. The conversation happens organically without putting the hard-sell on. Eventually, you will get someone interested in your services. They might say something like:
Passenger: Oh well, actually, I’m revamping my website and I could use a copywriter. Do you have a business card?
I’ve gained many a client just by answering the passenger’s questions honestly. It’s utterly free face-to-face marketing. Actually, it’s better than free because I’m getting paid to drive them, which means that you are essentially getting paid to market yourself! This is exactly how I got my very first paid job as a freelance copywriter.
5. Some of these leads turn into clients
My first two paid copywriting jobs were rideshare clients. (the first job I ever did was for free which I explain in another post) Sure, I didn’t make much cash from these early jobs but they gave me something more valuable than money – a portfolio to secure the next project. And now, I could confidently call myself a working copywriter, which felt great.
At one point, roughly half of my copywriting clients came through from rideshare passengers, many of whom become repeat business.
6. Gig work affords you to take time off to travel and work remotely
Okay, now we’re getting into why we are pursuing the freelancer lifestyle in the first place – To travel and work from wherever, right!? One of the top benefits of driving rideshare and being your own boss is you can go away whenever you want, for as long as you want. Well, for as long as you can afford! But if you do run out of money while testing the waters overseas, you have the safety blanket of knowing you got a gig back home.
At one point, I would lease cars through companies that specialise in rideshare drivers. The lease payments are reasonable, and you get a brand-new vehicle that covers all insurances, registration and mechanical services. All you have to pay for is the fuel which is tax-deductible. Whenever I would travel OS, I’d drop the car back to the leasing company on the way to the airport, making money with the destination feature on the way. When I fly back into town, I pick up a new car on my way home from the airport. I switch on the rideshare destination feature and make money on the way home. As a result, I come and go as I want, and while I’m away, I’m not paying for a car I’m not using!
So, rideshare driving is a fantastic bridge from full-time work to location independence and a digital nomad for anyone wondering how to start freelancing with no experience. But I have a tip – Driving rideshare and making instant money can become addictive. Don’t let it distract you too much from your ultimate dreams: becoming a free agent and location independent.