The Gig Economy and The Rise of the Uber-Specialists




  • — May 22, 2017


    Does the gig economy encourage the rise of the Uber Specialist?


    Where Uber Specialist means a person with deep and specific skills.



    Note: This has NOTHING to do with the car service.


    Effectively this is the market and model for independent consultants since the dawn of time. Where someone has a unique skill that people are willing to pay for.


    Simple. That’s consulting 101.


    What about generalists? We’ll come back to this.


    The Gig Economy encourages and enables people from all walks of life to take their skills and put them on the open market.


    For example, in business:



    • If you want somebody to clean up your audio files you can find that online.
    • If you want someone to help you proofread a technical document you can find them online too.
    • If you want someone to help you with almost any task you can find that skill somewhere online and/or in your town.

    Although the points above are specific tasks there are other skills that are more general generic in nature. There is nothing wrong with being a generalist in this sense. However, it is likely that generalists will be limited in what they can charge for their services.


    Back to the question from the title of this post:


    Does the gig economy encourage the rise of the Uber Specialist?


    The lead to two questions:



    1. Does this mean everyone’s specialties can be a skill that can be sold into the gig economy?
    2. Same question for general skills?

    I think the answer to both is yes.


    What do you think?


    Assuming we agree:



    • What does this mean?
    • What do you need to do in order to expose your specialties?
    • How can you get paid for your specialties? For your general skills?

    Ultimately it’s about making a living and perhaps a life. So, the biggest question is:



    • How do you set the value of your skills?
    • How do you determine the worth of your offerings?

    This is an age old question and one that will also confound The Gig Economy.


    Ultimately you’ll charge what the market will bear. That’s capitalism.


    You’ll find that, just as consultants have for millennia, that you will adjust your prices and you will make trade offs to secure business and to continue doing business with people you like – while firing others by pricing them out.


    The Use of Fractionals


    If you have skills … and EVERYONE does … you should be thinking about becoming a specialist. Even considering taking fractions of your specialization and putting those skills on the market. This is where I believe companies and people of all ages will begin to realize the value of their hard-earned skills.


    Think about taking your specialized learning … no matter how arcane … and considering putting your skills on the market. More so than a general skill, but by specializing you can charge a premium. And, you can do so on terms that work for your life and your work-life balance.



    There is nothing wrong with being a generalist, but the risk you run is that everyone else can co-opt that generic skill too easily.


    By focusing on your specialized skills you will stand out in your career and perhaps you create a whole new market segment.


    Back to the question — Does the gig economy encourage the rise of the Uber Specialist?


    I think the answer is an unequivocal yes. The market is already moving in this direction. Companies are realizing they can find the skills they need in Fractional Forms. People are realizing they can use their Uber-Specialized skills to create additional income streams. alternative ways to share what they know, and rewarding ways to give back.


    So … What’s your specialized skill?

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